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SoundThis is  an interesting albeit very limited hack for 1st generation Samsung phones using WP7 Root Tools. The trick allows you to use basically any size alert on your phone as opposed to the 39 second/1MB limit and you can use different formats, including .aac , .amr , .m4a , .ac3 , .aiff , .flac , .mka , .mp2 and .ogg format (with only .m4a working for SMS).

Now in order to do this, your Samsung phone needs to have interop-access -- not just unlocked -- in order to run the WP7 Root Tools. In theory, if you could get access to the registry and copy/paste files to the /windows folder, you could do this on any Windows Phone, but these tools are a bit limited now.

Finally, if you set your alerts too long, there's no way to dismiss them. It's a complicated hack and seemingly a lot of work just to have a wicked cool and long alert, but hey, it's your phone. While we want to change our email and SMS alerts like everyone else, we'll wait till Microsoft hopefully offers some more customization in further updates.

Get the instructions from XDA Developers.

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Two new 4G WP7 phones are on the way

TheVerge is reporting that unnamed sources in the know have told them HTC and Samsung both have new 4G LTE WP7 devices on the way.  Samsung is currently calling their phone the Mandel, and rumor has it that it will be packing a larger screen than the Focus S, which sits at 4.3 inches.  HTC's phone is called the Radiant, and poked its head up earlier this year, sporting a post-Mango version of Windows Phone.  Despite early speculation that the Radiant was running Tango, TheVerge's sources claim that neither of these new phones will have it. 

No word yet on carriers, but HTC has been rumored to be working with AT&T, while Verizon has also been toying with the idea of a 4G Windows phone.  Both phones are slated for release in early 2012, though perhaps not in time for CES, like Nokia's AT&T 4G handset hopefully will.

Update: According to WinSupersite's "exclusive," both the Radiant and the Mandel (referred to as Mendel) will be on AT&T, along with the Nokia Ace.  While the release date for the HTC and Samsung handsets is listed as "before the middle of 2012," they say the Nokia Ace will be available come March 18.  It is said that all of this will be revealed at CES.

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High traffic crashes Trine's Hangman server

Trine's Hangman

If you've been having trouble playing Trine's Hangman or creating a player account, you aren't alone. The server behind the popular Windows Phone game has crashed. The silver lining in all of this is that it appears the problem is due to high traffic from Windows Phone users playing the game.

We have been contacted by the developer who wants to assure everyone that he is working diligently on getting things back up as quickly as possible. With the server down, you won't be able to update or check on your world rankings, create a new player account or log in with an existing account. But you will be able to continue to play the game and once the server is back up your score and ranking will be kept.

Trine's Hangman is an enjoyable word game for your Windows Phone and hopefully things will be fixed soon. You can find Trine's Hangman Pro (currently on sale for $.99) here and a free, ad-supported version of Trine's Hangman here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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T-Mobile Lumia 710

We know the Lumia 710 for T-Mobile, in both black and white versions, is just days from launching. In fact, it's exactly two-weeks from now on January 11th and T-Mobile already has it listed on the site as "coming soon".

The mid-range 710 features a 1.4Ghz CPU, 5MP low-aperture lens and "clear black" 3.7" LCD screen with physical buttons, making it quite the nice offering especially for the low-price point of $49.95 on contract. The device is the first Windows Phone from Nokia to land on the US shores but many are expecting it to be upstaged by whatever AT&T and Nokia have to show off at CES in the same week.

Hopefully we'll be able to pre-order this lil' guy soon as we're itching to get our hands on it ASAP.  Check our hands-on with the Lumia 710 after the break to get a quick tour.

Source: T-Mobile - Black, White; via WPCentral Forums (KingCrimson)

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Greece embraces Windows Phone with new holiday ad

Greece may have 99 problems these days but Windows Phone ain't one 'em.

In a new ad from Vodafone, four Windows Phones are featured in a pretty funny take on organizing a holiday party. The ad highlights the Samsung Omnia W, HTC Titan, HTC Radar and then features the Nokia Lumia 800 in all its multi-color glory, showing how that company's namesake still carries a lot of weight in international markets.

We always like to see our friends world-wide get into the Windows Phone craze and this ad goes a long way in helping to promote these new devices.

Source: Vodafone Greece (YouTube); Thanks, Oldboy_GR, for the tip!

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WPCentral's Marketplace Games forum is amazing!

WP Central

Do you know Windows Phone Games? Our Forums Members do. Just a quick look at the stickies in our Marketplace Games forum will tell you that. A lot of good work is going on in there--wait a minute, can you really call it work when you're playing games? Well, you don't have to play to get all the good information. WPCentral writer Paul Acevedo has it all spelled out for us.

First, you will need an Xbox Live Games List. Next it is important to know what Games have broken Achievements or Achievements that require internet connections--very important stuff for a true gamer. That should be enough to help you get your game on. When you hit that hard spot and need a tip, just jump back in the Marketplace Games forums and let us know our crazy mad gamers will help you out.

We also have a great series of Xbox Live developer interviews you can peruse if you want the latest from the devs of Windows Phone games. Don't forget to stop in to our Games Spotlight forums where we have 100+ games posted and counting. These Games were added to these forums buy developers--they want you to try their games and give them feedback, so help 'em out if you have a chance. 

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Radio Controlled v1.1

The third-party Pandora app Radio Controlled has been met with high praise since its launch last week. It now sits with 4.5 stars out of 55 reviews, making a it quite a hit with you folks who need your music DJ on the go.

Still, a version 1.0 is only an initial attempt and the developer, Bushwood Studios is hard at work with v1.1 which adds a bunch of fixes, tweaks and a few new features as well. We've been running it for the last 24 hours and really like the changes, some of which you can see above in our screenshots:

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Keep warm with a Windows Phone scarf!

Windows Phone Scarf

Oh man, we really wish these were for sale. Looks like someone got lucky for Christmas with a custom-made Windows Phone scarf...it's good to have friends who have talent, eh?

The little creation was made by John Yu for his buddy Bryon Cheng as a holiday gift and hot damn, it turned out well. We are certainly envious, even with our Nokia pillow.  (John, if you ever want to make an extra, we'll show it off at CES in Vegas next month--just saying!)

So who's going to be the first to mass produce these so we can sell them here at WPCentral?

Source: Twitter; Thanks, John!

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Vote for Nokia Lumia 800 in Gizmodo poll

Lumia 800 vs Galaxy Nexus

Here's an interesting poll that we should all be voting in. The Nokia Lumia 800 (our review) is up against the Android powered Samsung Galaxy Nexus in Gizmodo's "Most Important Gadget of the Year" tournament. Think of it as Unreal Tournament -- not the most recent title, we're on about 2004 or even GOTY -- and it's all about ridiculously over-powered Redeemer and body parts flying everywhere. Or we could bring the image back down to Earth and state it's merely two devices going head-to-head.

No iPhone 4S though, shame. Guess Siri isn't everything after all. Be sure to head on over to Gizmodo (link below) to vote for the Lumia 800, and Windows Phone.

Source: Gizmodo; via WMPU

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Orb is free to download...for now

Orb Screenshot

For a two-day stint, Palladium Power has made their game Orb available for free in the Marketplace.  Orb is a tilt-based game where you navigate your sphere through a series of tiled obstacle courses.  Along the way you must use your skill, along with specialized tiles, to avoid holes and traps.

This isn't the first time Palladium power has offered up this deal.  We saw the free download back in June as well.  If you are interested (which you should be because, if nothing else, it's free!), you can click here, or use the tag below.

Cheers, TheWeeBear, for the tip!

Get Orb for free

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Torchbear bumped to version 1.3

Torchbear

Torchbear, a mobile geolocation based social network game, which went live on the Marketplace a few months ago, has been updated to version 1.3. The update is pretty big with more features and improvements being applied to the app. A quick walkthrough on what's included:

  • Added Search for player and torches to the main page
  • Added World News and Local News
  • Added auto exchanges for pending torches longer than 3 days
  • Added instant exchanges for players who have stopped playing
  • Exchange distance has been increased
  • Added support for Miles or Kilometers
  • New Player Points system
  • Improved loading performance
  • New Leaderboards (World, Nearby, and Following)
  • Ability to save any photo to your phone (including profile pics)
  • Can now exchange torches with a person who has held the torch before

You can download Torchbear for free from the Marketplace. Be sure to check out the official website too.

Torchbear QR Code

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Microsoft confirmed to be working on SMS bug fix

Microsoft SMS Bug Fix

We previously covered the "Windows Phone SMS bug" that would disable the messaging hub on the victim's handset, which was discovered (and reported) by Khaled Salameh. Just two days after the bug was made public by WinRumors, we learnt that Microsoft was looking into the issue. Today we have further news surrounding the bug, Salameh has been contacted by the Microsoft Security Team and informed that they've located the root cause and a fix is currently being tested.

While it's highly unlikely to affect users, it's good to know Microsoft is on top of potential security issues. Now we just need the disappearing keyboard to be looked at. We're getting there.

Source: Twitter (@KSalameh)

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Mother turns son away from the iPhone to Windows Phone

Child Wants Windows Phone

This isn't exactly anything groundbreaking, but it's interesting nonetheless. Christina Tynan-Wood has published an article over at Momster where it's explained how she managed (somewhat accidentally) to turn her son away from Apple, and has bought him a Windows Phone for Christmas. The son's desire for an iPhone stems from friends and the enticing brand which is the big fruit, but this desperation for the iProduct was cut when his mother received a Samsung Focus Flash from Microsoft.

Leaving the device on the counter in the kitchen, the intrigued son picked up the Focus Flash and played around the OS, while checking out the Xbox Live integration. Blown away by how different Windows Phone is, Christina was given a revised Christmas wish list with the iPhone crossed out, replaced by "phone like yours". The main benefits for her son are Xbox Live, Facebook and Metro UI simplicity, but the lack of apps compared to other platforms is also noted.

Head on over to Momster to read the full article.

Source: Momster, thanks Aston for the tip!

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NCIS The TV Game

Back in August, Game House, the makers of Doodle Jump and Tiki Towers, informed WPCentral that they had five mobile Xbox Live titles in the works. These included Collapse!, Delicious!, TextTwist 2, Cake Mania Main Street, and NCIS: The TV Game. And now, for better or worse, three of those titles won’t be attaining Xbox Live status.

Collapse! is already available (with super easy Achievements to boot) and TextTwist 2 is still coming to Xbox Live, so it’s the other three titles that Game House will publish as indie games. In fact, NCIS: The TV Game recently arrived in the Marketplace at the lower-than-Xbox Live cost of $1.99.

Many developers either publish Xbox Live games or indie games, but not both. In this case, Game House basically looked at the three games and decided that retooling them as Xbox Live titles would be more trouble than it’s worth. They have also decided to publish their indie games under the Real Networks label rather than Game House Live like their Xbox Live titles.

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Spider Jack

While iOS hit Cut the Rope has yet to migrate to Windows Phone, today we get the next best thing with Spider Jack, an Xbox Live title from developer MaxNick and EA Games. Yes, EA is still apparently making Windows Phone games (that aren’t exclusive to Nokia handsets).

Spider Jack

The goal in Spider Jack is to get the titular arachnid to his food. To do this, you attach the spider’s thread to a knob. He’ll then swing around, collecting anything he touches. You’ll also need to cut the rope, err, thread in order to drop Jack onto items. With 75 levels (many with multiple possible solutions), this should be a fun physics-based puzzler that stands out from other games on the platform - if not the title that inspired it.

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

Spider

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Cro-Mag Rally Title

How much do you like Achievements? That may very well be the factor that helps many people to decide whether or not to purchase the latest Xbox Live Deal of the Week game, Cro-Mag Rally. It’s now on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Cro-Mag Rally is a prehistoric-themed kart racer from Pangaea Software and Citizen 12 Studio. Kart racers are usually pretty fun, but I just didn’t enjoy my time with CMR. As our review indicates, the two primary problems are visuals and track design. CMR originated as a Mac game in 1998, and it shows its age with heinous character designs and terrible 3D graphics. Plus the tracks are just randomly littered with way too many obstacles and tight turns that don’t match the style of game or controls at all. On the other hand, CMR’s Achievements are quite easy, and two bucks isn’t a bad price for another 200 GamerScore.

Cro-Mag Rally is $1.99 for one week only and there is a free trial. Pick it up here on the Marketplace, Achievement hunters.

CroMag

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Music Cloud

If you're a fan of the free "sound hosting" site SoundCloud, you may want to sneak a peek at Music Cloud. From the developers of SuperTube, Free Ringtones and SuperMusic comes a new way to get music and sounds from yet another site. The app itself is well designed and has a ton of features, including background downloading, streaming, manage your SoundCloud account, listen to favorite tracks, etc.

  • View hot music
  • Search music by tracks or groups
  • Save tracks on the phone for offline listening
  • Background and foreground downloads support
  • Background plays support
  • Shuffle tracks
  • Create playlist
  • Shuffle and repeat play supports
  • Play music in the full screen mode or normal mode
  • Sign in your SoundCloud account, and view your dashboard, Tracks, Groups, Favorites, Followers, Friends
  • Listen to your and others Favorite tracks
  • Listen to tracks from other artists or users

Music Cloud

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Xbox Live Canada Offer

We've continuously received complaints from residents who live in Canada for the lack of Windows Phone presence in the country compared to Europe (and the U.S. to an extent). This news will please some however, particularly potential buyers. Should you pick up a LG Optimus 7 before January 31st, you'll receive a free 12 month Gold subscription to the Xbox Live service (worth £40).

The offer (and handset) is available at Telus and Future Shop. Do hurry should you wish to take advantage of this offer as there are only 1250 codes being distributed. After you've made the purchase, head on over to the promotion website to enter your details and receive your code.

Source: Microsoftthanks, Matthew for the tip!

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Free gadgets for UK dev's [Developers]

UK get's some lovin' too!

Yesterday we covered The Developer Movement where Microsoft Canada was giving away goodies to developers for publishing apps.
Apologies for this being rather delayed but we have good news for those of you in the UK! A while back MSDN UK started their own promotion where you get 1 point for every app you publish in the Marketplace.  You can then redeem those points for gadgetry by either saving up the points for something big, or just redeeming them for prizes as you go.

Here's a brief summary of some of the prizes, but be sure to hit the source link to go find out the rest:

For 1 point:
  • Pure One Mini Black Compact Radio
  • A 12 month magazine subscription
  • A Champagne Afternoon Tea for 2
     
For 4 points:
  • A Pocket Cinema Projector
  • An Xbox 360 Console (250GB HDD)
  • A Performance Car Experience

There are additional benefits if you are a student.

The closing date is the 5th of February, so I recommend stocking up on your energy drink of choice ASAP.

Source: MSDN UK Team Blog

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iMissal lands at the Marketplace

iMissal for Windows Phone

Here's another iPhone app that has migrated to the Windows Phone side of things. iMissal is a Windows Phone app that brings the Catholic Missal to your Windows Phone.

For those not familiar, a Catholic Missal is similar to a hymnal but covers all the Mass readings, songs, and prayers used in Catholic service. A playbook if you will for the Catholic Mass. If I remember correctly from my Catholic School days the Missal was printed on a monthly basis, covering all the services performed during the year.

iMissal brings the printed Missal to your phone and includes:

  • Audio and Text versions of the Mass Readings.
  • Order of the Mass including prayers and responses.
  • Our Daily Bread which is a unique Bible verse for every day of the year.
  • Missals and Verses are updated daily.

iMissal also includes over one hundred common Catholic prayers and a Catholic News Feed. Three Bible translations are available (NAB, NIV, KJV) and verses can be saved, searched and shared via email or SMS. Missals are approved for use by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for use in the dioceses of the U.S.

iMissal isn't going to be something for everyone but might come in handy should you be of Catholic faith or wanting to learn more about the church. iMissal is running $6.99 and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Fail

For those familiar with 4chan, wondering why there isn't a Windows Phone app is probably not too much of a mystery. For those not familiar with the site, lets just say 4chan is considered to the creepy basement of the internet, the source of almost all memes, the origins of 'Anonymous'  a "wretched hive of scum and villainy". [Seriously, don't go there on your work computer. Save it for home, late at night, when no one is around. Then get the cold-shower ready.]

Having said that, one developer at least attempted to get a 4chan app approved in the marketplace. The image below (you'll have to clock to zoom) shows the hilarious results--basically failing for three violations of "Adult Content/Nudity", one violation of "Violence" and another for "Excessive Profanity". Hurrah!

4Chan

Of course, as someone pointed out in comments on Reddit, even iOS has a 4chan app. That's interesting because they too have strict app submission requirements, so how do they get around it? Simple, the iOS app only shows the "safe" parts of 4chan (there really are safe areas, we swear) and the user has the option of manually adding the more saucy sections themselves.

That sounds like a good compromise to our soiled and depraved ears so maybe there is still hope for such an app, yes?

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Windows Phone Marketplace hits 50,000 apps

Awwwww yeah!

We haven't been covering the whole "Marketplace hits XXX" for awhile now, mostly because it got old, but we're returning for 'the big fiddy' aka 50,000. According to All About Windows Phone, the app store is now at 50,126 items with 17k apps being added within the last 90 days. In fact, though it took a year to hit 40,000 apps in the Marketplace, another 10,000 were added just in the last 40 days, which hints at a strong improvement in rate-of-growth.

However, some caveats do apply here. While there are over 50k apps, not all are available in all regions and some have been pulled by the publisher or Microsoft, meaning they are no longer available. In that sense, the numbers are a little more sobering: "US (42,655), UK (40,305), France (39,235), Spain (37,027), Italy (36,944), Germany (36,958), Australia (37,024), India (36,752) and Singapore (36,922)".

Number of items in Marketplace over months

All About Windows Phone also points out though that average number of submissions is now 265 a day which is almost double what it was a month ago when it was just 165--that increase in submissions is most likely due to increased awareness since the Gen 2 devices launched, especially Nokia's push in Europe and Asia.

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Phone backups coming to next version of Windows Phone

Phone backups coming to Windows Phone

A recent posting on Microsoft's jobs site reveals that phone backup and easy restore will be available in the next version of Windows Phone.  The post is for a Redmond-based Software Development Engineer to join Microsoft's Windows Phone Backup, Migrate and Restore team and reads:

Come join the Windows Phone Backup, Migrate, and Restore team. Our goal is to ensure that no matter if someone loses their phone, drops their phone in a lake, buys a new windows phone, or just has their toddler wipe their phone by entering the wrong PIN over and over, a user can quickly and seamlessly get their phone back to a good state. The features we are producing will be new for the next version of Windows Phone and will help ensure Microsoft stays ahead of the competition when it comes to disaster recovery. Come be a part of defining this area.

This is exciting but perhaps not unexpected news for Windows Phone users, as there is currently no way to regularly back up your device unless you go the homebrew route.  And while the homebrew backup tool is great, this function is just something that should be built into the OS.  The posting does not go into detail, so it is unclear whether backups will be done solely using Zune on a local computer or if there will be a cloud component using Skydrive as well.  Either way, it's a welcome addition.

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Buzzwords now available, doesn't sting the wallet

Buzzwords

I’ve never been crazy about bees. Ever since one of the little honey-makers stung me on the leg without warning inside a convenience store, I’ve made it a point not to make conversation with them or invite them to social gatherings. Bee that as it may, I’m still psyched that M80 Games’ Buzzwords finally reached the Marketplace today.

The object of Buzzwords is to find as many words as possible in a field of random letters. After completing a word, you have a brief window to build another word using one or more of the previous one’s letters, thus starting a combo and eventually catching the letters on fire. Spelling words also empties honey into your pot, which provides a score or time bonus, depending on the mode. On top of the timer, you’ll need to watch out for the blue beetles that periodically pop up and threaten to end the game if not vanquished.

Buzzwords is a highly polished game right out of the gate. Not only is the gameplay fun for word-fans, but it looks and sounds fantastic. The list of all the words you found at the end of a game is a nice touch. Online leaderboards courtesy of Mogade as well as unlockable Boosters provide a good deal of replay value. Even if you hate bees like me (I was more of an ‘A’ student anyway), Buzzwords is worth a try.

Buzzwords costs 99 cents and there is a free trial. Scoop it up here on the Marketplace.

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Nokia Collection

Reports are coming in that a new Nokia Collection has startled showing up in France's Marketplace.  Much like the HTC, AT&T and other brand-centric app groupings, the Nokia Collection gives customers a central place to go in the Marketplace to download all of Nokia's apps.  The collection is divvied up into categories: Applications, Games, Music and Podcasts.

Due to Marketplace caching, you may not see the Nokia Collection on your phone just yet.  Should you fall in that category, give it a day or two to trickle down.  For those of you who can access it, what do you think?  Have any of our readers outside of France seen this yet?

Source: ProfesseurThibault; Thanks,Professor, for the heads up!

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