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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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WizTiles WebApp

WizTiles (see our review) enables any Windows Phone owner to customise their home screen live tiles with different colours and themes, which can then be shared with the community (as well as downloading themes created by other users).

The developers of the app have just released an interesting Silverlight web app that allows one to conveniently create custom themes (using your own photos) that can be subsequently deployed on a Windows Phone. The app supports front and back tiles too, and themes created will be automatically packaged and hosted.

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Feel free to file this under "why the <insert favourite obscene word> would I need to know this?" or 'unbelievably pointless', but should you so happen to own a fighter jet and are able to take off from your driveway you will at least have some peace of mind that your Lumia 800 would survive MACH 5 speeds should it be thrown out of said jet in mid-flight.

NokNok decided to put the toughened Windows Phone to the test with a wind tunnel capable of blasting air at MACH 5. Unfortunately you would need to have a cushion for the handset to land on, or you could be a real 'badass' and swoop down in your fancy jet to catch it before the device ultimately crashes into the Earth. 

So, should anyone query your vast knowledge of smartphones for a handset that can withstand MACH 5 speeds and be a unique user experience, you'll know which direction to point them in.

Source: NokNok, YouTube

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President's Day

Just a quick reminder on our President's Day sale over at the WPCentral Store.  In celebration of holiday you can shop all weekend and save 15% on all your Windows Phone accessories in the WPCentral Store. To get your 15% discount, be sure to use the coupon code pres12 during checkout.

This offer is not valid with any other coupon and expires at Midnight PST Monday 2/20/2012. Don't forget about our Fast Free Shipping on US orders of $50.00 and higher!

Enjoy the Presidential Savings! Start your Shopping Now!

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Vodafone Ireland Lumia 800 Draw

To celebrate the launch of the Lumia 800 in Ireland, Vodafone has an enticing offer active should you look to purchase Nokia's Windows Phone on contract or PAYG (Pay-as-you-go). By investing in a shiny new 800 before March 1st, you'll automatically be entered into a draw for a chance to win an Xbox 360 console along with 12 months of Xbox LIVE Gold membership.

Source: Vodafone

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Nokia launches Lumia 800 in Ireland [Video]

Nokia has officially launched the Lumia 800 in Ireland, with the above video capturing the action at (and around) Grafton Street, Dublin. We can see the Nokia team handing out free hot beverages, invading carrier and retail stores to effectively showcase the Lumia 800. There was also a prize draw for a handset giveaway.

Are you planning to get your hands on the "sexy, elegant, beautiful, wonderful, functional" Lumia 800? The handset is available from Vodafone on contract at €30/mo or for €429 without a tied plan, as well as usual retailers.

Source: YouTube (Nokia IRL), thanks Ellis for the tip!

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Facebook App

The team behind the Facebook for Windows Phone app has announced an imminent update that will address an issue, which was introduced in the recent 2.3 update. A number of our readers noticed that you could no longer access the Events from the main menu (this now requires hitting the "..." menu and filtering our the news feed).

WP Central

Good news for those who utilise this feature often and miss the easy menu entry. We'll update you all when the fix has been approved and rolled out on the Marketplace.

Source: Facebook, via: Plaffo, thanks Antonino for the heads up!

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Nokia Lumia 710

The Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 Windows Phones became available for pre-order today (or was it yesterday?) through the Australian wireless carrier Optus. Plans range from $19 to $79 with varying features and if you're in the market for either Windows Phone, WPDownUnder has worked up a rather detailed analysis of each plan. Pre-orders placed by February 26th will ship on March 1st.

VirginMobile, who will be offering the Lumia 710, has yet to release plan pricing and details. It has also been confirmed that select Nokia partners in Australia will have an unlocked version of the Lumia 710 available in March that will be compatible with Telstra's and Vodafone's 3G networks.

March seems to be shaping up to be a big month in Australia for the Nokia Lumia line of Windows Phones.

Source: WPDownUnder; thanks, Sheeds, for the tip!

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800 Bundle

If you have $900 to spare and really want that AT&T compatible Lumia 800 bundle (which also includes the Purity HD headphones, Luna Bluetooth headset and Play 360°), you don't have to have to travel to a physical Microsoft Store as you can now order it online and direct from Microsoft (save some tax money too).

The package, though seemingly expensive at first glance, is actually not a bad deal considering what you are getting:

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AT&T's Global Smart Messaging Suite

Here's an interesting little gem: On February 1st, AT&T pushed out a new app to the Marketplace called "AT&T Secure Messaging". Part of their new service, the app looks to be an excellent addition for Windows Phone users on the all-powerful network. From the app's description:

"AT&T Secure Messaging enables the exchange of encrypted messages between businesses, enterprises and government agencies who are using AT&T's Global Smart Messaging Suite powered by Soprano. AT&T Secure Messaging ensures your sensitive personal data is protected -  for example, a one-time password from your bank/online payment broker or a healthcare appointment reminder. Your secure messages are encrypted, then sent to the AT&T Secure Messaging mobile application and decoded, ready for you to read."

Fascinating stuff, especially for Windows Phone users in those key industries. For perhaps obvious reasons, we have no experience with AT&T's Global Smart Messaging Suite, but a quick trip to their site gives a plethora of details on the service which even regular consumer can opt-into (for a hefty price):

"The AT&T Global Smart Messaging Suite is a powerful web-based application designed for large enterprise messaging and communication. The AT&T Global SMS service enables 2-way communication (via SMS or e-mail), and can reach employees and opted in consumer subscribers at most wireless carriers globally. AT&T can help organizations get started using domestic short codes for cross-carrier SMS messaging, and the AT&T platform can also be extended on a global scale for messaging to employees and consumers worldwide."

AT&T's Global Smart Messaging Suite

Think of it as an in-house messaging service akin to Exchange. This push by AT&T into secure message delivery seems to be relatively new. A quick glance on YouTube shows a recently uploaded video detailing how this service can benefit the healthcare industry like hospitals in protecting vital doctor-patient data. Of course in the demonstration Android and RIM are shown using the service but it's now clear that AT&T also intend for Windows Phone to be there too as the app and service are both ready to use. That's good news as this could be a big area for AT&T to be entering especially as institutions look to support the many different devices of their end users.

If you're on AT&T you can find the app here in the Marketplace. QR code and video demonstration of the service can be found after the break. Thanks, Ben H., for the find!

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Not a week goes by without Nokia getting some exposure via their "Amazing Everyday" campaign. This week we get two new videos, one from Madrid (Marquesinas Autobus) and Barcelona (Marquesinas Metro) with the latter being especially pertinent as we're on the cusp of Mobile World Congress 2012 which occurs in that very city starting in one week.

In these new videos we see a four-foot interactive Windows Phone that allows passerbys to take a few minutes to try the amazing UI. Come to think of it, this is a great idea as many of you will agree that the Metro UI is one of the key selling points of Windows Phone (and by extension Nokia). So allowing users to play with a giant phone while waiting for the subway or bus seems like a great way to get folks to experience the new design.

We've said it a million times already and we'll say it again, it's great to have Nokia out there pushing Windows Phone.

Source:  BensonSenoraProd (YouTube); Thanks, Ellis B., for the tip!

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Summary of the Week

It's that time of the week folks! This is when we fill you in on your Windows Phone news and where you can catch up with any stories you might have missed through the week. We had a special guest on episode 137 of the WPCentral podcast, Jeff Wilcox from Microsoft. Should you want to enter some exciting contests, we've got you covered with both the Reinstaller app competition and a T-Mobile Lumia 710 giveaway.

Mobile Nations, the umbrella of related mobile websites, is running a survey to calculate which tablet our readers (from all sites/platforms) desire the most. Don't forget we're still running through the month of fitness! We're still not done with the positive stuff here guys as the WPCentral Store is offering a whopping 15% off on all Windows Phone accessories with the President's Day Sale. This offer ends tomorrow (February 20th). Over on our busy forums, we've got the weekly update on what topics are hot. Now we've got everything WPCentral related out the way, head on past the break for the weekly summary.

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WP7 Root Tools 0.9 coming soon with new features

WP7 Root Tools 0.9

Well known Windows Phone hacker Heathcliff74 announced an upcoming revision to his homebrew suite of tools on Twitter today. He noted WP7 Root Tools 0.9 will bring additional device support and allow homebrew developers to mark their applications as "trusted", opening up unfettered access to the file system and Windows APIs.

He also noted that he'll release a mini SDK, allowing developers to use both Windows APIs and use model-specific functionality without infringing on the copyright of any major carriers, OEMs, or Microsoft [ed: like Julien Schapman's TouchXperience].

Keep your ear to the ground, we'll let you know the moment it's ready!

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WP Central

We've been covering the launch of Windows Phone in Indonesia via the Lumia 710 and 800 for a few weeks now. Officially being released over the weekend, the launch was proceeded by numerous events to spark interest and build momentum.

One of those events was a Nokia Developer Day day sponsored by Microsoft and it was attempting to break a record with at least 800 developers coding at once for new Windows Phone apps. Now, the Indonesian Record Museum (Museum Rekor Indonesia / MURI), which is similar to Guinness for world-record keeping, has officially certified the day as a record with more than 800 devs participating in the 24-hour event.

Entered as record number 5308 in the MURI archives, the award was accepted by Narenda Wicaksono, Development Operations Manager Nokia Indonesia and Microsoft's Risman Adnan, Developer Director of Microsoft Indonesia (image above).

Nokia Developer Day, Indonesia

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From the Forums...WP7 the NOT so Obvious

WP Central

Sometimes in our forums we come across a member who stands out. Someone who likes to give a little more of himself to help our community. Se1fcr3ation is one of those type of people. He has created a thread in our Windows Phone 7 OS Discussion this stickiest thread is a must read for anyone interested in Windows Phone. We like to think we know a thing or two about WP7 but Se1fcr3ation has taken this to a new level buy adding all the new and old Windows Phone information to his thread--we could all learn something from it. It's also a great tool for quick reference with links to a lot of Windows Phone information.

Basically I’m going to be breaking down a phew things related to WP in General that are not that OBVIOUS and hopefully help some of you out

First things first: If you have questions here at WPcentral we have a GREAT community (on most parts and MOST of us are willing to help and answer any question you may have.

So don’t be Shy

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WP Central

We previously took a look at 4Chan Reader when it entered into the Marketplace, which was surprising with the previous submission review trouble other apps of that nature encountered. The app, which would normally set you back just $0.99 (£0.79), has been made available for free until the end of February.

The reasoning behind the temporary change in price? The developer of 4Chan Reader has recently pushed out an update that contained not only bug fixes and improvements, but a massive UI overhaul. Please remember that this app is not safe for work, home, or anywhere in public. You can download 4Chan Reader from the Marketplace.

Thanks Axel for the tip!

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