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Pre-order the Lumia 900 from Walmart for just $49.99

Walmart Lumi 900

AT&T has switched on Lumia 900 pre-orders on their website store, and is offering the 4G Windows Phone for $99 on contract. Should you wish to be aware of another enticing deal, Walmart has the same Lumia 900 listed for just $49.99 (with a 2-year plan), saving $50 on top of the AT&T price. Available to pre-order in both black and cyan, Windows Phone Daily reports that this offer is also eligible for those who seek upgrades.

Interestingly, buying the Lumia 900 outright will set the purchaser back by $499.99--$50 more than AT&T. Should you desire the white version, do note that we expect this version to be available on April 22nd and only in-store at AT&T outlets.

Source: Walmart (black, cyan), via: Windows Phone Daily

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WP Central

Although it took some time for AT&T to hit the refresh button on their site, we're happy to report you can now officially pre-order the Nokia Lumia 900 online.

That's right, in theory you won't have to actually talk to a human being to order the latest and greatest from the 'Ma Bell and their Finnish partners. Selling for $449.99 off-contract or $99 with one, the Lumia 900 is a good deal which ever way you purchase. What's more, we're told if you order soon you can get the phone by April 6th, a full two days before the stores will sell 'em to everyone else.

The 4.3" device with an AMOLED screen, 8MP camera (1MP front), 16GB of storage and 4G LTE is available in Cyan and Matte Black for now. For those who want the Glossy White, you'll have to wait till April 22nd and we're told only in-store purchases for that version. 

To start your preorder, simply go to AT&T's site here.

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Plex

For those of you with Home Theater PC setups that use Plex Media Center for software, you'll be excited to know that the company is about to release their Mobile app for Windows Phone.

Plex (see site) is a very popular software package that includes a server and PC software for viewing your movies, music and photos wherever, whenever. It's also available on iOS, Mac, the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, making it a fairly robust option for those with families and gigs of hardware space for storing their media. On top of that, the volunteer developer community around the project ensures that services like Hulu, Netflix  and other sites get supported via plugins.

Evidently, the company has been working on a client for Windows Phone for sometime as it has already been submitted to the Marketplace and is waiting for approval. In a newly created sub-forum on their site for Windows Phone, both a Plex developer and Plex blogger Elan both chimed in on the matter:

"You should take a forum being created for it as a good sign"

"The app has been approved by Microsoft, and we're in the process of making it live in the store! "

So now all there is left to do is wait until the app shows up in the Marketplace, which could take a few days. The app should have the same functionality as the iOS and Android variants, giving users the ability to stream all their media on the go with a slick interface. We'll keep you posted.

Take a peek after the break to see the iPhone version in action. Needless to say, it's a nice app...

Source: Plex Forums; Thanks, Sean M., for the heads up!

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AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone

Update 2:30PM EST: Online orders are now live

The highly anticipated Nokia Lumia 900 is due to hit store shelves over at AT&T on April 9th (unless your local store is open on Easter and it will be the 8th) and was slated to be available for pre-order today. But in looking at AT&T's website and reading comments in the WPCentral forums, online pre-ordering isn't an option right now.

We have read of success stories from those who pre-ordered in stores and by calling AT&T's Customer Service (1-888-333-6651). But even then the pre-ordering wasn't as smooth as expected.

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WP Central

Pinsation, a Pinterest client for Windows Phone, has recently been updated and is now available in Marketplaces outside the U.S. Pinsation enables the user, once logged into their Pinterest account, to upload pins, re-pin, like pins, create boards, delete pins, comment on pins, and more.

Although Pinsation was released to the U.S. marketplace only, Windows Phone owners (and those with Pinterest accounts) who reside in Europe (and the UK), Australia, Canada, and South America will now be able to download the app. As well as the increased market support, Pinsation received a number of improvements and bug fixes in versions 1.2 and 1.3:

  • Added about page
  • Added globalization support
  • Added Spanish and German languages
  • Redesigned user page
  • User page now shows about, location, and website
  • Autoloads more following items on home screen

You can download Pinsation from the Marketplace for free.

WP Central

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WPCentral Podcast


We're back this week with Jay Bennett, Rafael Rivera and Daniel Rubino to discuss AT&T's update plans, the impending release of the Lumia 900 and Titan II some developer news and more!

Get the full shot notes after the break along with the HD video if you want to watch...

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WP Central

The Department of Computer Science and Telecommunications of TEI of Larissa has announced another Windows Phone Developer Challenge, which will encourage students to get creative and produce some interesting apps for the mobile platform. Participants who submit three apps, that pass set requirements, and have them approved / published on the Windows Phone Marketplace will be rewarded with a free handset.

The department recently held a developer contest that put students up against one another to win one of two Lumia 800s available as prizes. The announced developer challenge will begin on April 1st, and all apps submitted by students to the Marketplace afterwards will be deemed eligible for the prize. 

Source: TEI of Larissa; thanks sofoklis for the tip!

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WP Central

Microsoft is giving away five Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phones and a voucher for a winner to experience a Ferrari for the weekend. The Microsoft Virtual Academy enables students (or those who wish to become IT professionals) to enter available tracks, choosing materials to study and expand knowledge about Microsoft cloud products, for free. Think of it as an e-college.

How does one have a chance of winning the prizes? Should you be a UK resident, simply enter the code "MVAUKREG" in the 'redeem code' field once signed up. Some important details surrounding the Ferrari that should be noted:

  • Only drivers aged 28-70 will be permitted to drive the car.
  • For drivers between ages 25 and 27, Winner will be offered an alternative supercar (subject to availability)
  • Drivers must have no more than 6 points on their license and hold a valid full UK or EU Driving license and have held such for at least 2 years
    • Only 300 miles may be driven over the course of the car hire
    • Fully comprehensive insurance for up to 2 named drivers will be provided
    • Car will be delivered and collected to and from the Microsoft offices in Reading or to and from Winner’s home, at Microsoft’s election

Runner-ups will receive one of five Lumia 800s. Not a bad incentive to learn, eh? Be sure to check the terms and conditions for more information.

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WP Central

Microsoft has supposedly been urged by supporting Taiwanese manufacturers to allow them to modify apps and the Windows Phone UI to better differentiate their handsets from OEM competition on the platform, according to a report by DigiTimes. We recommend taking this 'news' with a whole bowl of salt as they have a mixed track record e.g. their Huawei story was way off, but should the report be based on solid grounds HTC, Nokia and Samsung have seen flat sales in both China and the U.S.

We're aware that Nokia hasn't launched the AT&T Lumia 900 yet and Windows Phone is still extremely young in China so we're pretty skeptical about this report. It doesn't make sense that OEMs would start to suggest to Microsoft that more customisation should be allowed to improve sales as Nokia appears to be doing just fine with marketing campaigns running globally.

Manufacturers can't remain under the "Android Personalisation" craze as Windows Phone is an entirely different flavour of ice-cream. Canadian carriers Rogers and TELUS have also both stated they're pleased with how well the Lumia 710 and 800 are selling, and that the Nokia Windows Phones have hit expectations.

What do you guys think OEMs should do with Windows Phone? More marketing / promotion like Nokia, or should we be allowing them to personalise what they wish?

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Although we could argue that the 'Smoked by Windows Phone' campaign is getting a bit tired, Nokia evidently shot some video last month where they took the same idea but they called the it "Lumia Challenge".

The concept was the same -- challenge people on specific tasks using their smartphone -- if you win, you get £10 for your trouble, if you don't you have to mug for the camera.

The results should be familiar with many folks, especially on the iPhone 4, getting beat by the Lumia 800. Of course, we're seeing the polished commercial video so we don't know how many instance where Nokia lost. But all of that is besides the point, isn't it? This is advertising and we know that Windows Phone is a very fast, nimble and efficient mobile OS -- it doesn't need to win every time, it just needs to win enough to show that yes, there are some significant advantages versus its competition.

And for some reason, with the Nokia music playing and their shallow depth of field video, all of this looks just a bit cooler.

Source: YouTube; Thanks, Ellis B., for the heads up!

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Bye Bye Venue Pro

Fare thee well, Dell Venue Pro.  That's right, Dell has discontinued sales of the vertical-sliding Windows Phone handset in the United States, along with the rest of its smartphones, effective immediately.  The smartphones have been removed from the website for users in the U.S., but will continue to be sold in Japan, India and China. 

PC World reports that Dell has decided to shift its focus to emerging markets and higher-margin items.  A Dell spokesperson told them that the smartphones had run their course saying, "mobility products have shorter lifecycles than laptops and desktops."  He said that Dell will be offering new mobile products later in 2012, but did not specify whether that would include smartphones.

The Venue and Venue Pro join a long list of other mobile devices, like the Streak line of tablets and any number of netbooks that have seen their last days.  They have been unable to keep pace with the plethora of consumer-minded manufacturers and has chosen to focus instead on enterprise-based mobile devices that can be used for both work and home.

So... will Dell be missed?

Source: PCWorld; Via: Business Insider

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Nokia TV app for Windows Phone to be released in Finland

WP Central

According to WP7Forum.ru, Nokia is set to launch a new app for television show fans. Nokia TV will be released in Finland with three channels: YLE, MTV3 and Nelopen. The app will enable Lumia handset owners to watch TV programmes via WiFi (or data connection) by searching, browsing and streaming episodes straight to their device.

Some notable features of Nokia TV:

  • View TV shows provided by local networks.
  • Videos can be downloaded to the device (presumably for offline usage).
  • Does not use technology for mobile TV (DVB-H).
  • Search for content / programmes within the application.

According to the WP7Forum.ru report, no information is yet available with regards to what countries will be receiving the app (and when) but it's safe to say that Nokia will be localizing the app for various Territories. Adding to the OEM collection, which already includes Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Music, it's looking pretty bright for the Lumia Windows Phone future.

Source: WP7Forum.ru; thank you very much @AngelWZR for the tip! 

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WP Central

We heard earlier in the week that Nokia will be paying AT&T for exclusive employee use of the Lumia 900 which basically means that some lucky AT&T folks are able to get there hands on the flagship Windows Phone early. 

Our hottest thread this week is posted by forum member siriviz, who happens to be an AT&T rep and he has a Lumia 900 on hand. He started this thread "Nokia Lumia 900 (AT&T Rep)" for us and is ready and willing to answer your question about the new Nokia phone (he has also posted some nice pictures of his Cyan Lumia 900).  It seams that our forum members have a lot of questions for siriviz as this thread has already reached 7 pages and 130+ posts. If you are interested in getting a Lumia 900 there is lot of good information to be gleaned.

The WPCentral Forums are no stranger to AT&T reps stopping by as we also have another rep named mhopii who has joined our forums and started this thread: Just Got My Lumia 900. He was nice enough to post some nice pictures of his Black Lumia 900 and he too has offered to answer any questions you might have.

So hop in those threads and go satisfy your curiosity!

Remember, the forums are more fun when you register, so sign up today.

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Lumia 900 bumpers

Not only can you buy the Gel Case for the Lumia 900 on AT&T today but you can also pick up the brand new "bumper" case which is not as comprehensive but still offers some edge protection to the device.

Inspired from the Apple iPhone design, the $20 accessory comes in bright green and blue and should liven up your device a bit, especially if you opt for the black Lumia 900. Not only that, they'll match your Accent color on your Start screen.

Check out the blue bumper and green bumper here. Thanks, erzhik, for the tip

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Lock Widgets officially released [homebrew]

WP Central

Windows Phone Hacker has released Lock Widgets for the homebrew community, just in time with the recent release of Root Tools 0.9. Lock Widgets enables users, who have access to a rooted Windows Phone, to use small tiles on their lock screens to act as glance widgets. Information which can be displayed include Twitter feeds, RSS feeds and weather reports, to name but a few.

Feature highlights of Lock Widgets:

  • Weather widget
  • RSS widget
  • Twitter @user widget
  • Memory widget
  • Puts widgets on your lockscreen. Pretty simple.
  • Daily Bing wallpaper
  • Custom background

You can download Lock Widgets from Windows Phone Hacker's website, note that you'll need an unlocked and rooted handset to use this software. 

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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AT&T makes Lumia 900 Gel Cases available for purchase

Gel Case

One down side of the AT&T Lumia 900 is it doesn't come with a Gel Case unlike the Lumia 800. On the other hand, this will allow you to buy a color you may prefer and Nokia gets to shave a few dollars off of the 900's price to hit that $99 price point.

We know that AT&T will have many accessories available in stores for the 900's release including 3rd party cases, screen protectors, Monster-Nokia Purity HD headsets and more. To kick that off, AT&T has already listed those super sweet Nokia Gel Cases on their site and you can buy them now.

Gel Cases

Fetching for $20, they are certainly a bit pricey...heck, those are Apple prices. But, we have seen these cases in person and have a similar one for our Lumia 800 and they are fantastic. For one, you can change your device's color just by slipping one on (in this regard, the glossy-white 900 is your best bet). The other great thing is not only does it offer a global "bumper" for the device to protect against scratches, nicks and bumps, it's super thin and adds virtually no bulk to the phone.

They're exquisitely crafted to fit the Lumia 900 like a tight glove and come in three colors: black, magenta and cyan. Not a bad choice and we think you'll love 'em.

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Acer exec confirms continued commitment to Windows Phone

Augusto Zumbo confirms Acer's continued commitment to Windows Phone

Since the Acer Allegro showed itself to be a pretty solid phone for emerging markets and low-price point users at CES 2012, many have been wondering if Acer will continue manufacturing Windows Phone devices.  In an exclusive interview with Windows Phone Italy, Acer Italy's Business Manager, Augusto Zumbo, revealed that their relationship with Windows Phone is neither a full-blown romance, nor a cheap fling.  He confirmed that Acer will remain committed to both Windows Phone and Android, offering options to consumers with different needs.

Zumbo did not elaborate on the level of commitment and stopped short of giving details about future devices.  Windows Phone Italy got the impression that the Mango-powered Allegro would remain Acer's only Windows Phone handset through 2012, but that 2013 would see more Acer offerings using both mobile platforms.  While there may not be any ground-breaking news here, the fact that another manufacturer plans to continue producing Windows Phone devices is a positive sign for Microsoft.  We can only hope to see such commitments from carriers (Ahem...Sprint and Verizon).

Source: Window Phone Italy

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WP Central

Nielsen has announced that half of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. now own a smartphone. Comparing February 2012, where the lines for both feature phones and smartphones meet in the above graph, with February last year we can clearly see a massive jump from just 38%. That's an average increase of smartphone owners by 1% per-month.

With low-end, affordable Android and Windows Phones, consumers are now able to hop onto the smartphone train without breaking the bank balance. As technology continuously evolves and social networking becomes more prominent in our lives, more mobile phone owners are looking at ways to stay in touch with friends and family that doesn't require either texting or calling.

"More than two-thirds of those who acquired a new mobile device in the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone."

Smartphone OS

According to Nielsen's marketshare data (for the U.S.), Android still runs the show with a 48% hold of the market. iOS is at a comfortable 32%, RIM struggles on with 12%, and Windows Phone is lost somewhere among the "other" 8%. While many could look at this negatively, this data is prior to Nokia and AT&T's upcoming marketing blitz for the Lumia 900, which is set to available on April 8th.

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Flud

Flud, a popular social RSS client on iOS, has been released for Windows Phone. We previously looked at Flud when it appeared at the Mobile Acceleration Week in New York back in November. With Flud you'll be able to know what your friends (fellow "Fluders") are reading, and vice-versa. This appears to be the norm with every social app now - to see exactly what your friends are up to.

The app itself is nicely designed with a clean Metro UI and features some interesting functionality, including Google Reader integration. Be sure to add "WPCentral.com" as a news source to get the latest from our feed. A quick run down of the features available in Flud:

  • Find Fluders who share your interests in news, blogs, and topics
  • Flud articles you love and share them with your followers
  • See what your followers are reading with the Activity Feed
  • Access your Reading List wherever you are, no Internet required
  • Easily add, reorder, or remove feeds
  • Connect to Google Reader, Twitter, and Facebook

Flud App

You can download Flud from the Marketplace for free.

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HTC Locations updated with offline navigation

HTC Locations updated

HTC has recently updated their Locations app for Windows Phone, which now sports handy offline navigation. Nokia beat the gun with implementing support for navigation not requiring data connectivity in their Drive app. Now HTC handset owners will be able to enjoy the same functionality as both Lumia and HTC Android owners.

HTC Locations enables the user to "share your favorite locations with photo, voice and note. Share your favorite locations to your friends", with downloadable maps as well as offline navigation. It's a pretty simple app with neat functionality.

Should you own a HTC Windows Phone, you can download HTC Locations from the OEM collection of apps.

Via: Engadget; Thanks, SolunaKitty, for the tip!

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Windows Phone Marketplace expanding

Looks like the Windows Phone Marketplace is still working its way around the globe.

Over the next few days Microsoft will be expanding the reach of the Windows Phone Marketplace to thirteen more countries. They include; Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela. The Marketplace storefronts won't open with each country overnight, but over the next few days things should be coming online with these thirteen new markets.

These thirteen new Marketplace storefronts join the launches earlier this year in Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines and China. All totaled, this will bring the total number of Windows Phone Marketplace storefronts to fifty-four world wide. And Microsoft isn't stopping there. Look for Windows Phone Marketplace storefronts in United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Israel, Thailand and Vietnam in the near future.

Oh, speaking of China, in less than three months Microsoft has added 20,000 apps and 15,000 registered developers to the new China Marketplace. If you're curious as to what's being offered in China, here's the link to the China Marketplace.

Microsoft's Marketplace expansion in such a short time, involving some challenging markets is impressive.  It's nice to see the global growth the Windows Phone Marketplace is experiencing.

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WP Central

It appears as though Nokia Germany are rolling out the 12070 update that addresses battery life issues and will prove to be a must-have for Lumia 800 owners. We previously looked at Singapore rolling out the Lumia 800 12070 update, and later confirmed that it tripled the battery life of our handset. As well as the juice improvements, bass has been improved and camera white balance has been tweaked.

The update, which was originally destined to be released on April 18th, will now be rolled out globally in stages / batches (starting today). April 4th, 11th, and 18th will be the three remaining steps until the update has been pushed out to every Lumia 800 (depending on networks). Note that this is not the WiFi tethering update. Be sure to keep an eye on the Nokia update section of their website to see when you'll be seeing the notification.

Source: Nokia, Nokia conversation

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ARMED! update

ARMED! is the best multiplayer strategy game on Windows Phone, hands-down. True, there is very little competition on that front, but the game would be impressive regardless. Even better, Sickhead Games has just published the massive ARMED! version 1.2 update.  Among the changes are Fast App Switching support, a new multiplayer matchmaking lobby, Ranked correspondence matches, an in-game news ticker, more language translations, and lots more. Having spent some time with the update prior to its release, I must say that all of the additions and tweaks make for an incredibly deep and polished experience.

Head past the break for the full release notes.

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WP Central

AT&T has revealed that Lumia 900 marketing plans (combined with Nokia and Microsoft) will best any product they've launched before - including the famous iPhone. In an interview with CNET, AT&T device head Jeff Bradley, said that it'll be a notch up on anything the company has attempted previously.  We met with AT&T reps early today and have no doubt that AT&T's efforts to market the new Windows Phones should be a full court press.

But should we be surprised? The Lumia 900 on AT&T is Microsoft's (and Nokia's) best chance of survival in the competitive mobile market. Windows Phone has been performing arguably well with Nokia marketing the 710 and 800 on a global scale, but the Lumia 900 is the big gun for the U.S.

We previously covered how the Lumia 900 will be given "hero status" in the AT&T mobile arsenal. So how will they go about it? How will the stores convince people that Windows Phone is a solid choice against the iPhone and Android?  AT&T has told us that we can expect to see banners in windows of AT&T stores and Windows Phone walls featuring the TITAN II and Lumia 900.  In a nutshell, we were told AT&T stores are going to look like Nokia stores.

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WP7 Root Tools 0.9 is here, with an SDK in tow

WP7 Root Tools 0.9

Windows Phone hacker Heathcliff74 is announcing the immediate availability WP7 Root Tools 0.9 today. 'Root Tools is a suite of tools for Windows Phone that we've been following since inception and already features a full blown registry registry editor, file system browser, and certificate injection capabilities. But the new version comes jammed pack full of additional new and exciting features that will no doubt re-energize the homebrew community. I'm talking about features such as:

  • True and unfettered root access
  • Better performance
  • Increased device support
  • A new policy editor
  • A new software development kit

The more exciting news here, however, is the shiny new SDK (0.1) in tow, offering homebrew developers a set of APIs that tap into the same root-level features that the tool relies on. An application wishing to wield such power, however, must first seek permission from the user. That is, the users must explicity mark a particular app as "trusted". Grumble all you want, this gate is in place for obvious and serious security and privacy reasons. You don't want all those private photos on Twitter, right?

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