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Nokia Lumia Crown

This certainly wont be surprising to our readers (since we cover the global Nokia marketing campaign regularly) or anyone else who's in the loop when it comes to Windows Phone, but it would appear as though Nokia has grabbed the #1 spot for platform manufacturer marketshare according to Strategy Analytics, which runs alongside developers publishing statistics indication a climb in Lumia 800 usage.

The Finnish handset maker achieved the number one position with 33% marketshare in just four months, since the launch of the Lumia 800 in Europe. The Lumia family of Windows Phones has not only taken the platform by storm but also the world, and to illustrate this design appreciation the 800 received a number of awards at CES 2012.

Check out the chart below for an approximation for Windows Phone OEM marketshare.

WP Central

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The Windows Phone version of Gerbil Physics was officially unveiled on Wednesday as part of a big batch of upcoming Xbox Live titles. Now WPCentral is pleased to bring you this exclusive preview of Pencel Games’ Gerbil Physics.

Gerbil Physics is a physics puzzler. In each level, players are presented with one or more stacks of gerbils and an allotment of bombs. The goal is to use careful bomb placement in order to knock the gerbils below a yellow line. If a gerbil remains above the line when you run out of bombs, you’ll fail the level and have to try again. Some levels throw addition kinks into the mix, like structures that must not be knocked over.

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MS says bye-bye to Zune and Windows Live

Though they had a good run, it appears Microsoft's Zune and Windows Live brands are going the way of the Dodo.  The Windows 8 Consumer Preview shows that the Windows Live group of applications have been replaced by a pre-installed "Windows Communications" group. "Windows Live ID," the current all-in-one login for Microsoft services, will be replaced with the generic "Microsoft Account." [Edit: It's actually called "Microsoft Your Account", see below] The "Zune" name is also glaringly absent in the Windows Store and in relation to music and movie apps.  Zune Pass, however, still works.

The new multimedia branding in Windows 8 will be called "Xbox Live for Windows" and will include apps for music, movies and games.  Rumor is that Zune will officially be gone by the summer, and may even be replaced by a music service that resembles Spotify via Xbox Live.  Throw in the demise of the Zune desktop client for Windows Phone, and voila!, bye-bye Zune.

Microsoft Your Account

The overall simplification of Microsoft's branding goes like this:

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From the WPCentral Forums...weekly roundup

WP Central

This week in the forums we have been keeping ourselves busy trying to keep our mind off of Mobile World Congress which is just around the corner. You would think that all this waiting would lead to slow times in the forums but that's not the case. Windows Phone Central Editor George Ponder kicks things off with a give away in this thread "WPCentral Nokia Lumia 710 Giveaway!" That's right, we are giving away a Lumia 710. Now you have a reason to register in our forums that way you can join the discussions--you might even win that Lumia 710. A quick look through our most popular threads might help you find something interesting to discuss.

Forums Member rabit1 wants to know what is the best of the best WP phone? Everyone has an opinion on this one and it's not just a "what's your favorite phone discussion", you'll need to have good reason why your device is better than the others.

In this thread "Windows Phone Questions" Forums Member Spiify Is thinking about getting a Windows Phone and as the title suggests he has questions. It seems like every answer leads to another question in this thread, so join the discussion and let's see if we can get all the answers together for Spiify.

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Windows Phone App Review: MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal for Windows Phone

MyFitnessPal is a neat app for your Windows Phone to helps you track your workouts and diet as you work towards an established weight goal. It's a rather simple tracking app that taps into a healthy amount of resources. MyFitnessPal boasts the largest food database with over 1.2 million items and based on using the app over the past few days, I believe it.

The interface is easy to pick up on and a bar code scanner just in case your meal isn't listed in the database, MyFitnessPal is an impressive fitness and health app for your Windows Phone.

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Mobile Nations Fitness Month hits the home stretch!

Mobile Nations Fitness Month Week 3

The Mobile Nations Fitness month is entering the home stretch with Week Four!

If you're joining us while we're already in progress, it's never too late and you can go read all about Mobile Nations Fitness Month in our first WPCentral Forums installment for weeks one and two.  You can pick up on the week three and four discussions here in the WPCentral Forums as well as who is our latest weekly prize winner!

We will keep week three's goals in play for the home stretch.  Feel free to chime in about your progress and any tips you might have to offer for getting fit.  We've covered a decent selection of Windows Phone apps to help you achieve your fitness and health goals.  You can find all our Fitness Month coverage here.  We've got a few more apps to share and if you have a favorite Windows Phone fitness/health app, feel free to suggest it for review through our tip line.

Remember we have one more weekly prize drawing to give out and when all is said and done, we will randomly select one reader to take home a Xbox 360 and Kinect!  Oh... and just in.... we're adding a runner up prize.  The Nokia Luna BT Headset!

Good luck with it and let us know in the forums how it's going.

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We saw an early release of it back at CES in January and now the official CNN application for Windows Phone is live on the Marketplace. Of course, only Nokia-branded devices need apply at this point as they have an exclusive on the app for a few months, so we've heard.

CNN

The app itself is fantastic with gorgeous transitions, breaking news alerts, built in video, plenty of sharing options and pinnable sub-sections. The iReport feature is also pretty impressive, reportedly allowing you to submit news stories through the application itself it could very well improve "breaking news" moments.

So for all of those with Nokia Windows Phones, here's your Marketplace link. Enjoy! Thanks, Benjamin C., for the link!

QR: CNN

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WP Central

Never ones to back down from a challenge the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have created a neat little utility to allow one to transfer files between phones or devices using just Bluetooth. You can even send over XAP files for installation of Windows Phone apps giving users yet another option for file distribution.

WP CentralThe bad news is you'll need a fully-unlocked phone meaning dev and interop devices need not apply. That also limits this currently to Gen 1 devices (as you can see initialization fails on the Titan for obvious reasons).

Still, it's an impressive piece of work and hopefully it will lay the ground work for future hacks, assuming Microsoft doesn't give us the function first.

Source: XDA; via Facebook (Bazaar)

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Nokia has taken "The Amazing Everyday" to Cinema City venues in eight cities in Poland, giving away a Lumia 800 to 64 lucky winners of the events. In certain screenings the Finnish manufacturer hid coupons under certain seats and when the Lumia advertisements came on (always being aired last) a Polish celebrity urged viewers to check where they sat.

64 Lumia 800 winners, from 64 film screenings, in 8 cities. Nokia never fails to impress with their marketing campaign, regardless as to what country its taking place in.

Source: YouTube, thanks Ellis for the tip!

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Fitness Month: Windows Phone for vegans and vegetarians

Windows Phone for vegans and vegetarians

Over the past few years, as consumers have become more concerned with how and what they eat, the number of people choosing to lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle has increased dramatically.  And while being vegetarian has become much easier since I first started over 13 years ago, it can still be a challenging road to navigate, be it grocery shopping, traveling, or just trying to keep things new and different when cooking at home.  Thankfully, with Windows Phone it's that much easier, whether you are a seasoned veggie veteran or just starting out.  With February being Fitness Month here at WPCentral and Mobile Nations, we thought we take a look at several vegetarian apps.

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Smoked by Windows Phone goes digital

Ben Rudolph and his Smoked By Windows phone movement is picking up speed. He successfully smoked the competition at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, traveled to California and we've even seen similar promotions in Hong Kong and pitting the Windows Phone against a zip line.  So far, Windows Phone has about a 95% winning percentage over a wide range of smartphones.

The Smoked By Windows Phone is even topping the charts on Microsoft's Windows Phone suggestion page requesting Smoked By Windows Phone become a featured ad campaign.  So who's Microsoft to ignore the voice of the people?

Starting today, Smoked By Windows Phone is the companies latest digital ad series. You'll see 15-30 second spots (such as the one above) scattered about the web of Windows Phones taking on the competition. You will also have a new tab on the Windows Phone Facebook page showing all the ads.

I wonder if Ben has his reservations for the 2012 Mobile World Congress?

Source: windowsteamblog; thanks to eveyone who tipped us on this!

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WP Central

Telus and Rogers both have Nokia's Windows Phones (the Lumia 800 and 710 respectively) on their shelves and product list pages, but what about HTC Mango handsets? We've just caught wind (pun non-intended) of Wind Mobile offering the HTC Radar 4G (our review) from just $99 on their WINDtab+ service.

WINDtab+, which is where a 'tab' is created that the customer pays off 10% of of their bill per month (e.g.: monthly bill of $40, $4 extra will be charged a month to go towards the tab to pay for the handset), provides consumers a convenient way to afford and wield smartphones. 

This is superb news for Canadians, who (not so long ago) were cursing at both Microsoft and carriers for not having a good selection of Windows Phones for consumers. As you can see in the above photo, Wind Mobile is advertising the HTC Radar in newspapers illustrating the attractive price. 

Head on over to Wind Mobile's website to check out plan pricing and other details. It should be noted that Wind Mobile operates their service on AWS bands, though the carrier does hold a roaming arrangement with Rogers for areas outside its coverage, as well as T-Mobile for the U.S.

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Xbox Companion

Good news for you Xbox 360 users out there (we hope that's most of you), the Companion app has received a nice little update to v1.1 this morning in the Marketplace.

Unfortunately, no word on what the changes are as there seems to be no obvious new features on board. But perhaps coincidentally, our Xbox 360 just received a system update to its OS and maybe the two are related. Or not.

(Edit: Today's Xbox 360 update is "... to quickly fix some voice recognition issues affecting our non-English speaking members" according to Microsoft's Major Nelson.)

Go download the app in the Marketplace here and in the meantime, we'll work on nailing down a changelog for ya. Thanks, Kyle S., for the heads up

QR: Xbox Comp

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DFT get their hands on Windows Phone build 8757

8757Dark Forces Team (DFT) are quite busy these days seemingly playing with every unreleased, in development build of Windows Phone that's out there.

It was just a few days ago that we heard they have Windows Phone build 8750 in their hands and now they have 8757 too. Of course we're lacking details just what (if any) changes there are on board but this branch is presumingly steaming towards the final "Tango" release which is expected to drop in a few weeks. What makes it neat too is that they squeezed it on to a Samsung Focus instead of your regular HTC phones--that's thanks to their other tool out there.

No word if DFT will pack this into one of their custom ROMs but we imagine if they find enough goodies, they'll put it out there.

Source: DFT;Thanks mwang!

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Report: Huawei to bring Windows Phone to China for 2012

China

We reported on Chinese device maker Huawei way back in December 2010 as a possible OEM for Windows Phone and the untapped market in China. Fast forward to early 2012 and Microsoft is reportedly "weeks" from a launch there, this time with Nokia leading the way. Now we're getting word via Digitimes that Huawei has finally committed to Windows Phone and will be bringing devices to China during the 1st half of 2012.

What's really interesting is the fact that Microsoft was reportedly trying to secure a patent deal with Huawei for their Android tablets back in November. Rumors have circulated that Microsoft in these negotiations tries to get Windows Phone leverage as an outcome and we think we're now seeing the fruits of their labor.

Source: DigitimesImage credit via Shutterstock

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Egypt

Heads up to those in Egypt, specifically Cairo: Today (February 23) and tomorrow (February 24th) Microsoft is holding a dev camp for you young whipper snapper developers out there looking to get into Windows Phone 7.

The camp is evidently the first of its kind in Egypt making it a big deal for devs who don't normally get the same access and assistance from Microsoft as Europe and the U.S. Students are encouraged to create apps in XNA, Silverlight and as a staple of Microsoft events, come up with some apps that can help solve some world problems. 

The camp will consist of meetings, lectures and a competition should be a lot of fun for those just learning or even those with previous experience. Head to Egypt ICT for more info about the event.

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WP Central

Microsoft's Cafe Mango is making its rounds around the Dallas/ Fort Worth area this week and I was able to meet up with it. I had just started eating my lunch when I saw the Tweet from @MangoToGo. They were set up and serving lunch about a mile from the project I am working on so I woofed down my sandwich and off I went. When I got to the AT&T store (2710 N Beltline Rd in Irving) they were all packed up and ready to leave. I went up to the truck and started telling my spiel. They agreed to meet me across the street in the Irving Mall parking lot to swap some Windows Phone stories and to give me a chance to get some pictures. They even offered to serve me some lunch. What a great group of people!

WP Central

They were even nice enough to take a picture of me standing next to the truck (no comments about the bad hair day it was windy). We chatted for a bit and then when we all had to go they were nice enough to give me a couple of gifts.

 Gifts

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Mugen

Woo, it only took a couple of weeks to get our Mugen 1950mAh battery for the HTC Titan, but it's finally here.

The battery has about 350mAh of more juice than the standard 1600mAh battery that the Titan comes with, giving it a claimed 22% more power on the go. Will it live up to the hype? We'll put it through its paces over the next week or so to get some good cycles out of it and compare it to our standard battery (we'll use WP Bench as well as the Battery reporting feature of Windows Phone).

Mugen

So far though we haven't had any issues and all is working well. The battery is a tiny bit heavier and clearly slightly larger than the standard. Oh and Mugen was great when our inept local USPS office decided to send it back to China (hence the delay), so kudos on easy customers support.

For those looking for even more power, there's the redonkulous 3600mAh battery now available too. Clearly that one will have a "hump" on it though.

Update: It appears is you use the discount code "YOUHTC" you'll get a nice 7% discount on the price of the battery.  Not sure how long the discount will last but the original discount code "FACEBOOK" has expired.  Thanks MadSci2 for the tip!

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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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