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Tentacles and Glow Artisan on sale

The new Deal of the Week is a repeat sale, but thankfully it's for a game that hasn't been on sale in a while: Glow Artisan. You can get it for just $1.99. If that's not savings enough, Tentacles has also received a permanent price drop to $2.99. What else do both games have in common? They're not easy!

Glow Artisan is a colorful puzzle game with an artistic bent. Players are tasked with recreating a pixelated picture by drawing colored lines and overlapping lines to make new colors. Achievement-wise it gets pretty tough due to some strict time limits, but if you’re just playing for fun, this title will give you a glowing smile. Check out our review for more info.

Tentacles is the story of Lemmy, a microscopic, artificially-created, tentacled creature. He journeys through 40 stages inside a mad scientist’s body, eating tons of eyes along the way. That’s the good part – the bad part is the countless unnecessary deaths due to poor design decisions like taking control away from the player when you’re getting hit and the occasional horrible currents that push Lemmy to his doom. For the full story, check out my review. But Tentacles has a lot of fans who don’t mind the whacked-out difficulty, so the sale price may be right up your alley. It also just received an 80 MS Point DLC expansion that adds 16 new levels but no extra Achievements.

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WP Central

Lock Screen Widgets, a concept by Windows Phone Hacker, has just been released as beta to the homebrew community. With this app, the user will be able to add app information in the form of small live tile widgets on the lock screen. Information displayed can range from weather reports to RSS feeds. We previously looked at the preview video of the concept last week, but now you're able to try it out for yourself.

To be able to use Lock Screen Widgets, you'll need a rooted Windows Phone. Remember that this is the beta version so issues are to be expected, and feedback is appreciated by the developer. Optimisation and further improvements are currently in development, so be sure to keep up-to-date with progress. Head on over to Windows Phone Hacker to download the beta.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker; Thanks, Jesus, for the tip!

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We previously touched on PingMe making a move to Windows Phone, the cross-platform messenger that's already available for iOS, Android and Blackberry is now available on the Marketplace for free. Should the likes of Kik and WhatsApp not fulfil your needs enough, you'll be able to enjoy the following features with PingMe:

  • Cross-platform and will enable communication with iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Blackberry devices.
  • Record and send voice and video clips.
  • Receive real-time message receipts with typing indicators and sent / delivered / read notifications.
  • Engage in group chat with numerous contacts at any given time (ability to create circles / groups).
  • No registration is required. Your number is your ID.
  • Receive social updates from close friends to stay up-to-date.
  • Locate friends and contacts nearby with geo-location enabled messages.
  • Push notification will keep you alerted when a message is received.
  • Find friends or known acquaintances with the included friend finder functionality.

It's an appealing app with some interesting functionality that will be right up some Windows Phone owners' streets. You can download PingMe from the Marketplace for free.

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WP Central

Nokia Drive (our review) version 2.0 has been released and is available for download on the Marketplace. The Windows Phone turn-by-turn navigation app from Nokia now sports offline navigation to further cut the use of data. With this functionality not dependant on your connectivity (or data allowance), you'll be able to drive with peace of mind.

As well as the offline use, we've also got "Last Destinations" that can be selected for user convenience. The ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) of the selected destination is also displayed along with the speed you're currently travelling at (as well as on the route selection screen next to the distance). An audio speed limit alert can be set up in the settings, which will sound should the user exceed the road limit.

Should you really want to take an in-depth look at how Nokia Drive can help you on your way, be sure to check out the user guide (updated for version 2.0).

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Nokia patents tattoos that interact with your phone

Nokia is taking phone notifications to an extreme with a new patent, tattoos that react with your phone using haptics, the same vibratory interaction that you experience when typing on a touchscreen keyboard.  A recent submission to the United States Patent and Trade Office describes a haptic material that would react to magnetic signals sent out by your mobile device.  So you set your phone up to let you know when a call is coming in, the phone then emits a specific magnetic signal, and the material reacts by vibrating.  Different signals could be assigned for different functions.

Initially, the patent explains that users would wear the material on clothing, stick-on patches, etc.  However, it goes on to apply the functionality to magnetic inks, which can then be embedded into the skin in the form of tattoos.  That process gets a little more involved, first demagnetizing the ink, applying the tattoo, then magnetizing it once again.

It's a wacky, creepy kind of idea that one would expect from an old sci-fi comic, but it's also feasible enough to become a reality.  So if you're someone who really hates missing calls, this could be just the thing for you.  That is, until you decide to trade in your Nokia for the latest HTC device.

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Nokia Maps version 1.3 now available with new features

WP Central

Following the 2.0 update to Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps has been bumped to version 1.3 and is now available on the Marketplace. So, what's new? Nokia have expanded the reach of the service, with added support for more Asian countries. But that's not all as users can now personalise their favourite places on their Windows Phone, which can be subsequently pinned to the home screen.

Recent locations and destinations are listed next to the favourites for more convenient access to the app history. Should you require more "Places" to visit around your location, more points of interest are now displayed on the map. Lastly, users can now share routes and destinations via social networks (using built-in connectivity), which is an interesting addition.

You can download Nokia Maps from the Nokia Collection on the Marketplace.

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Facebook notification trouble with the "Me" tile?

WP Central

According to a number of reports on our forums, coupled with confirmation by the team, there appears to be an issue with Facebook notifications and the "Me" tile. The issue is it seems as though the notifications sent through get caught up and continuously alert the user to the same content.

Some of our readers have stated that the service corrected itself over time and now functions as it should (while others have to resort to clearing notifications via the Facebook app), but it still remains to be a particular annoyance to many. We're not sure as of yet whether this is due to Facebook's service or with Microsoft servers. 

We previously had issues with Twitter notifications back in January, so this is nothing new unfortunately. Be sure to let us know in the comments, and join in the discussion over at our forums, should you be experiencing issues as well.

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Zombies!!! 3.5: Not Dead Yet!

We mentioned a few weeks ago that Babaroga’s survival horror-themed board game, Zombies!!! (review) would soon be receiving its first PDLC expansion pack, known as ‘Zombies!!! 3.5: Not Dead Yet!’ As it turns out, the expansion has quietly slipped onto the Marketplace and won’t require a new title update. Finding it might prove a challenge though – you have to actually start a New Game and then select Expansion Packs from the top of the screen. While ‘Not Dead Yet!’ may not be easy to find, its price is fairly easy to swallow: 160 MS Points ($2), a bit lower than anticipated.

Head past the break for WPCentral’s exclusive detailed descriptions of the expansion’s contents, hands-on impressions, and Achievement tips.

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IDC Q1 2012

Some mixed news coming out today from a survey of 2, 173 developers taken in late January by IDC and app tools maker Appcelerator. Developer interest in making apps for Windows Phone is at 37% which is just a 1% less than the previous report back in November--in other words, statistically it's the same.

That's good and bad. The good news is that RIM is continuing to plunge from 20% to less than 16% leaving Windows Phone to be the clear "number three" in the mobile OS space (when factoring out tablets). The bad news is even with the Lumia 800, developers are still not jumping on the Windows Phone bandwagon as expected (or needed). Despite this, Appcelerator says "interest remains high" for the freshman OS even in the face of unimpressive device sales to date.

The survey was conducted just days after the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 was announced, so developer interest in that device had barely had anytime to register for this survey (not to mention it has not gone on sale yet). Only 18% of those surveyed were interested in developing for the Lumia devices, meaning Nokia still has some word to do to sway devs that Windows Phone is worth it.

IDC 12

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John Kruk

While we wait for the AT&T Lumia 900 to grace our growing Windows Phone collection here at WPCentral, it shouldn't be a surprise that Nokia is already thinking about how to promote the darn thing. Their attempt at "carpet bombing" consumers with Lumia ads is called Operation Rolling Thunder and one of those strategies may be using famous baseball player (and current ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst) John Kruk in some shape or form.

We know this because the man himself tweeted as much yesterday, stating:

WP Central

"In St.Pete, doing a tv commercial for Nokia, got to preview the new Lumia 900, very cool"

No other details were given, so we don't yet know in which capacity Kruk was used, but safe to say it's for AT&T and presumably the Lumia 900. Should be interesting to see what comes of it in the coming weeks.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Will (@h11wiscan), for the tip!

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WP Central

We're both flattered and excited to see that our own WPCentral App has been nominated in the 'news & entertainment' category for the March Madness contest by Nokia Conversations.

A total of 32 apps have been pitted against each other ranging from Carbon to Plants vz Zombies to IMdB. Voting will take place through out the week for the various categories with 'games' going on now. Our app is up against All About Windows Phone, which should have an interesting result (voting is in a few days). The winner will be crowned on April 2nd making this an exciting two-weeks of voting and teeth gnashing for all who are nominated.

We'd just like to extend our congratulations to our developer Jay Bennett and Rich Edmonds (who handled the graphics), as well as a thanks to Nokia Conversations for the nomination!

Source: Nokia Conversations; Thanks, Residing, for the heads up!

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WP Central

Please see the latest update to this story: http://www.wpcentral.com/follow-windows-phone-tango-does-not-increase-multitasking-app-limit-eight

Now that the Tango ROM has been leaked onto XDA, those members are going over it with fine comb to find every little change. Guess what? There are more improvements then we knew about in Tango, making us want it even more.

For instance, we know that even devices with 256MB of RAM will have app-switching via the Back button (see our last podcast). But going further, instead of just the last five previous apps being held in memory, we now can have eight apps stored in memory which is sure to make everyone happy. While just adding three more apps does not seem a lot, in practice we imagine such an addition will be very practical for everyday use.

WP Central

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Thom GruhlerMicrosoft announced today in a press release that they've appointed Thom Gruhler as Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone. Gruhler, who moves over from the McCann Worldgroup where he served as global managing partner of Telecom & Technology, will bring both knowledge and experience to the platform to further develop relations.

At Microsoft, Gruhler will lead advertising, marketing and communications activities for the Windows Phone Division. He will also work closely with product engineering teams and telecommunications partners.

I"m excited to be joining an outstanding team at Windows Phone that has built an amazing product, which is starting to turn heads in a very competitive market. When you put a Windows Phone into someone's hands they love it, which is the ideal place to start as a marketer. I'm looking forward to working with the team to build consumer awareness and excitement for Windows Phone products and the overall brand"

Gruhler led a team of agencies that were responsible for the iconic "Can you hear me now?" Verizon marketing campaign that resulted in positive growth for the carrier.

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Nokia Lumia Orange Business

It was only a few hours when we looked at the UK retailer Carphone Warehouse busting Windows Phone myths that many moan and groan about, but now we can safely at Orange UK to the fan club. The carrier's business section of their website is recommending the Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 in favour of a Blackberry (or iPhone) for business use.

Orange is also offering some neat benefits with purchasing the Nokia handsets with a Business Solo contract. The carrier will provide double flexible extras on plans worth £30/mo or higher, as well as free unlimited WiFi access with BT Openzone. It's good to see some real positive support from one of the major players here in the UK.

With Microsoft Office, Lync, Skype, and more, it makes sense to offer Windows Phone as a valid solution to business needs and requirements.

Source: Orange, thanks Jamil for the heads up!

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Nokia Lumia 800 firmware 12070 update rolling out

WP Central

It would appear as though Lumia 800 Windows Phones are receiving new firmware, following the rollout in Singapore. The new firmware, 1600.2487.8107.12070, addresses a number of problems and is the next version up from the previous firmware release that arrived in January.

Quick recap of known improvements / fixes in the update:

  • Enhanced battery standby and talk time performance
  • Battery capacity icon instead of question mark on top right of screen
  • Improved bass in audio performance
  • Soft-key illumination at all brightness levels
  • Fixes for device performance issues including self-reboots, freezes and call-ending

As you can see, it's a fairly sizeable update. Many of our readers have confirmed update notifications (unlocked - U.S. and UK), so be sure to plug your Lumia 800 into your PC to check via Zune. Let us know in the comments should you receive the new firmware.

Thanks to everyone who sent us tips!

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TMobile US 8107 HD7

It has been officially announced on the T-Mobile U.S. support forum that the carrier is rolling out the Windows Phone 8107 update out to HTC HD7 owners. The 8107 OS update introduces numerous changes, but the highlight is the fix for the disappearing keyboard bug.

Be sure to check Zune (or the Mac Windows Phone Connector) for the notification. Unfortunately there's still no word on a 8107 rollout date for Lumia 710 owners on the T-Mobile network, though you can hack the handset to receive the update along with new firmware.

This has been confirmed by our readers who have received the update notification on their handsets. Let us know when you get yours in the comments.

Source: T-Mobile, thanks everyone who tipped us!

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WP Central

Have some interesting and / or humorous Windows Phone fan art? Or do you simply have an awesome photo containing a handset that you wish to show off? If you share it on Facebook with the Windows Phone team, they may well include your submission in their album.

Checking out what has been added so far shows there are a lot of cakes around that have been Metro'd. From the previous competitions we've held here at WPCentral, we know our reader base is bursting at the seems with talent (we have to suck up to you guys at some point, right?), so it'll be interesting to see what you call come up with.

Source: Facebook

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WP Central

Abhinav Pathak, a computer scientist at Purdue University, Indiana, and colleagues have concluded that free smartphone apps with in-app advertising may lead to the battery being drained at a faster rate, compared to paid apps. What's interesting (and slightly alarming) is the team discovered through testing that Angry Birds, Free Chess and NYTimes only used 10 - 30 percent of the battery power for core functionality.

Using the Android Market as the test grounds for the research, the team found that 25 - 35% of the app power consumption went to third-party advertising code displayed in apps for developers to make ends meet. In the case of Angry Birds, 20% is used to display and run the game, while 45% of the power is used finding and uploading the user's location with GPS, followed by downloading location-appropriate ads over a 3G connection.

This is something to consider when next browisng any smartphone marketplace. The findings will be presented by Pathak at the EuroSys conference in Bern, Switzerland, next month. Be sure to check out the full research documentation as it's fairly lengthy, but interesting.

Source: Microsoft Research, via: NewScientist

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NDrive app heading for Windows Phone

WP Central

NDrive has announced plans to introduce an app for Windows Phone, according to a press release published late last month. To bring the service to the likes of Blackberry and our platform, NDrive will enter a partnership with Appello. NDrive is currently already available for Android, iOS and Samsung bada.

Luis Baptista-Coelho, NDrive’s Chief Executive Officer, added the following:

"We are very excited to address 100% of the smartphone market with our location based app. On top of the current Android, Apple iOS and Samsung bada environments, we are now delivering a Blackberry and a Windows Phone 7 app that will strengthen our offering into the carrier markets around the world."

The move will provide Windows Phone users with another turn-by-turn navigation app. Check out the press release for more details.

Source: NDrivethanks Ricardo for the tip!

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It's been awhile since we've seen WeatherLive get some major new functions, so it's with great joy to see version 4.0 beta making the rounds.

While the poplar weather app has grown in functionality, it has also become a little sluggish too. In addition, some people missed the simplicity of the the versions 1 and 2 of the app over the more busy 3.x. Luckily, the developer has been listening and 4.0 looks to make everyone happy. Here are the major changes:

WeathLive themes

  • Faster - the app's transitions and loading times are much zippier and more fluid
  • Theme support - With three themes, including Metro Minimalist, Metro and the new Glass, users can choose how they want the app to look
  • Animated radar - the radar map is now animated with 'pinch and zoom' built right in
  • Graphic tweaks - improved and cleaner UI

We really like where 4.0 is heading with the themes support as it will seemingly make everyone happy who has used this app in the past. The performance increase is also welcomed as the app was getting a big bogged down with the latest updates.

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Grooveshark is a streaming service that allows you to pick any artist, song or album and simply create playlists to listen to on your computer, tablet or phone. Unlike Pandora or IHeartRadio, it does not give you new artists/songs based off of your listening preference. Instead, it's more like just streaming the music you want to hear with no experimentation.

The HTML5 site works well enough on Windows Phone for streaming in IE9 but Grooveshark have stated they have no intentions for a dedicated client for Windows Phone. That's too bad. However, the developer of MetroRadio (an unofficial Pandora app for Windows Phone) is now working on Groovyshark, an unofficial Grooveshark client for our devices.

Groovyshark

We took the alpha build (i.e. pre-beta) for a test drive just to show you that indeed you can hook-into Grooveshark. We also got a sneak peek at the new "screensaver" function that's coming to MetroRadio too which is very reminiscent of Zune's music player on the Zune HD and Zune Desktop. That latter feature is something many have wanted Windows Phone to have built in so it's nice to see someone is working on it.

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WP users will have to wait to fight pigs in space

Sad news from the outskirts of space: Windows Phone won't be getting Angry Birds Space on March 22 when Android and iOS do.  An email from Rovio, developer of the mega-popular phenomenon, told DailyMobile that while they are "working day and night to get the game to all relevant devices," they do not have the resources to get deliver to all platforms at once.  Having been wait-listed for the first installment of Angry Birds, only to be missing 105 levels when it finally did arrive,  this comes as another heavy blow from Rovio.  Being that Android and iOS dominate mobile market, it makes sense that Windows Phone takes a back seat, but it doesn't sting any less.

Rovio declined to share any information about specific features of the newest add-on to the Angry Birds franchise.  However, the game was previewed at SXSW on Samsung's Galaxy Note, which benefits from Samsung's partnership with Rovio by getting exclusive in-game content.  For now, you can get a small taste from the teaser below.

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WP Central

We're not sure when this was published, since it's well hidden on the website, but it would appear as though the Carphone Warehouse has a soft spot for Windows Phone. They have an entire page dedicated to attacking myths that are continuously posted by those who are fans of competitor platforms, or who simply don't like Microsoft products.

From terrible battery life, to the lack of apps, the most common groans and moans are all covered in this myth buster. The following excerpt from the article sums up the user friendliness perfectly:

"Windows® Phone has a Start screen with large Live Tiles (icons) that are easy to read and not fiddly to use. It's also simple to customise and pin the apps and live updates you want right on the Start screen. Then you swipe to the right to access the full list of apps. Options are accessible in any app by pressing the three dots in the bottom right of the screen. And there's a home button, a back button and a search button on the front of each phone. Simple."

Be sure to check out the full article at the Carphone Warehouse. All-in-all we're impressed with this positive exposure for the platform (and a strong sign of support). Also, for it to be handled by a popular UK retailer is even better. There's more that can be done, however.

WP Central

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WP Central

Online Swiss retailer Digitech has the Lumia 900 listed on the website for CHF 699 ($760), but unfortunately no release / availability date is provided. The phone sports a 4.3" AMOLED display, 8MP camera, 1.4Ghz chip and a 16GB storage.

We're still waiting for the 4G LTE Lumia 900 to hit AT&T, but it's good to see more retailers list the international version.

Source: Digitech, thanks Simon for the heads up!

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