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Not the official Microsoft image, but it should be

Black Friday and Christmas holiday sales are regular yearly occurrences on Xbox 360, which means we’re about due for another sale. This year, the Countdown to 2012 Campaign begins on Tuesday, December 20 and lasts until Monday, January 2. Every day during that time, one or more pieces of content (XBLA games, avatar items, etc.) will go on sale.

Xbox 360 sales are great, but what about Windows Phone? Yes, there will be mobile Xbox Live games on sale during the Countdown to 2012. Just like this year's Black Friday week sale, the Windows Phone sale will include three games (in addition to the standard Deal of the Week game). The holiday sale games include Fruit Ninja, Fable: Coin Golf and Hydro Thunder Go. All three are great titles that any mobile gamer would be happy to own.

The Countdown to 2012 Campaign runs from December 20, 2011 to January 2, 2012. We’ll let you know as soon as the sale goes live.

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Sneak Peek - 'Radio Controlled' for Pandora [Video]

There are a few Pandora apps in the works by 3rd parties and we have our hands on one of them that's just wrapping up beta testing: Radio Controlled by Bushwood Studios.

Based off of the MetroPandora SDK by Justin Angel, which was recently updated to fix the broken APIs, the app has some very nice polish to it--great graphics, fast loading and a unique use of a giant Live Tile within the app for artist/song info. With the updated SDK,  you no longer have to re-enter your login information every time you start the app and station selection works much better now.

Radio Controlled

Radio Controlled features a Live Tile which displays the latest song/album art right on your Start screen and over all gets the job done. The app will be free (ad-supported) and should be in the Marketplace sometime next week--don't worry, we'll let you know when it's live. Overall though you can see devs starting to do some real creative things with the Pandora SDK, resulting in a better selection for everyone. We're pretty excited to have this all going down.

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Hyper Defence XT Christmas Edition

Hyper Defence XT

We've seen Bubble Birds get into the Holiday spirit and now the popular tower defense game Hyper Defence XT is getting into the spirit as well. The Windows Phone game was updated to version 2.0 and brings a new Christmas Bonus level to the full version.

Hyper Defence XT's update also adds:

  • New difficulty settings (easy, medium and classic)
  • Level awards to win depending on the difficulty
  • Six new enemies to deal with.

Hyper Defence XT has 16 levels of play (17 with the Christmas Bonus), 8 upgradeable defense turrets, and a Survival Mode where everything but the kitchen sink is thrown at you. We found Hyper Defence XT (here's our review) to be a very good tower defense game for your Windows Phone.

Hyper Defence XT Screens

There is a free trial version available for Hyper Defence XT and the full version is running $1.29. You can find Hyper Defence XT here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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StreamBox7 for streaming music from your Dropbox

StreamBox7

There will always be an ongoing debate about which is better--SkyDrive or Dropbox--to which we really don't care to take sides on. All we know is people like options and DropBox is quite popular, so we're a bit pleased to see StreamBox7 land in the Marketplace today.

The app is simple enough: drop some music into your Dropbox root folder, fire up the app, login and you're music will show up. You can then stream the music to your device, playing it in the background with ease. We could probably do without the "pretty girl pop-star wallpaper" that dynamically changes, but it's a good idea in theory.  Overall, the app delivers as promised and is laid out nicely, so even though we prefer our Zune it is a nice option for those who want it.

Streambox

The app fetches for $0.99 with a free trial if you want to give it a spin. It supports .WMV and .MP3 files, which should cover most people. Thanks, Ben H., for the tip!

Streambox7

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SoundHound

In the land of music identifying apps, we fall into the SoundHound camp (versus Shazam). Yes, we know Bing can ID music and it is pretty good, but SoundHound right now has the better library for IDing songs, making it more accurate for us--plus we dig that one-button tagging option.

While version 1.0 was pretty solid for a first-release, it did have at least one major issue: the Facebook posting did not work for many. That's now fixed in v1.1 which just hit the Marketplace. In addition, v1.1 brings "faster search results"  and "artist social channels" which allows to easily follow musicians on social networks...or something. Also, the quick Tile graphics have been updated wit a more identifiable look.

Pick it up for free here in the Marketplace.

Soundhound

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WPCentral Podcast 133

WPCentral Podcast

We're back for another exciting week in Windows Phone news--we take your questions, discuss new software and go over this weeks major events. T-Mobile gets the Nokia Lumia 710, Daniel gets a new pillow, Jay talks about is Lumia 800 and both debate if British food is any good.

Listen above or watch the whole thing below in HD. Show notes after the break!

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YuleTile Xmas Card

We previously touched on YuleTile, an app to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. According to the developer, Mendzapp, 10% of the revenue earned from sales of YuleTile will be donated to charity (Railway Children). But if the app and charity donations weren't enough to put you in a good mood, how about a Windows Phone Christmas card design? That's right, now you can send Metro UI festive cards to family and friends.

If you're not aware of YuleTile, it's a Christmas advent calendar app that features wallpapers, ringtones and an ingenious use of the live tiles. Each day the live tile updates to show the appropriate advent window. From here the app can be entered, window opened and one of the twenty-five hand-painted images revealed. This image is now featured on your home-screen until tomorrow’s window is ready to be opened. Really neat for all those Scrooges.

Head on over to MyKindofPhone's Posterous page below to download the design. You can download YuleTile from the Marketplace for 79p ($0.99), remember that 10% goes to a good cause.

YuleTile Tag

Source: Windows Phone UK

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T-Mobile 4G Super Sale: December 17-18th

TMobile 4G Super Sale

T-Mobile has an awesome sale starting up on December 17th, and ending on the 18th. For just two days, 4G handsets stocked by the carrier will be available for purchase for $0 after a mail-in-rebate. A few Windows Phones are included in this deal, the HTC Radar and HTC HD7. Handsets require a two-year contract (qualifying Value Plan) to be taken out, but for Christmas, a brand new 4G Windows Phone with a packed plan is a perfect present.

Source: T-Mobile

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Nokia Lumia India

We've witnessed the marketing power of the Nokia "The Amazing Everyday" campaign throughout Europe, and the public in New York and Paris have had the opportunity to stand in awe at the sight of a giant Windows Phone. Now it seems Nokia wishes to push its way through India, launching the Lumia 710 and 800 today, with a planned marketing campaign - and it's big.

To give an idea as to how massive this campaign will be, check out the list below:

  • Impromptu dance performance in Mumbai with free food and drink.
  • Luxury helicopter ride for consumers in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
  • Exclusive premiere for pre-bookers with tennis star Sania Mirza at the Ambience Mall in Gurgaon.
  • Musical event, and artificial snow zones recreated at certain PVR outlets, in Delhi.
  • Toll exemption for more than 15,000 vehicles on the DND freeway, connecting Delhi and Noida.
  • Salt Lake will feature a "winter wonderland" created with artificial snow in Kolkata.

As well as the above list, we'll be excited to see an "aggressive" promotion and advertising strategy being put into effect. We've already had a flash mob performance at malls in five cities, so it'll be interesting to see how the manufacturer expands on this throughout the country. The Lumia 710 and 800 can be picked up for Rs 18,999 ($360) and Rs 29,999 ($570) respectively. 

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Last.fm takes on the Samsung Omnia W

Last.fm

We saw the other day YouTube featuring Windows Phone on its front page and tonight it's Last.fm's turn. Hopping over to the site and heading to the Radio area, you'll have your browser overtaken by the Samsung Omnia W and Windows Phone, including that $25 app card good for the Marketplace.

Although people have rightly complained about lack of exposure for Windows Phone in the past, it seems clear that everyone is stepping up a bit on the second go-around. Hopefully it will pay off in some sales.

Thanks, Sayon, for the tip!

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Stitcher reportedly coming for Windows Phone Q1 2012

Stitcher

For those of you who use Stitcher on the desktop and wish you could so on your phone, your days of waiting are shrinking. In an email from the "Stitcher Team" it states clearly that they have plans for a Windows Phone app and they're looking for an early 2012 release:

"Hello Trey, thanks for your email. We hope to come out with a version of Stitcher for Windows Mobile in the first quarter of 2012, so stay tuned!

Sincerely, The Stitcher Team"

Stitcher is a popular web-based internet radio provider akin to Weave for RSS--basically it gives you categories to listen to and it "stitches" content for you, giving a more personalized experience with little updating on your part. The service is quite prominent and they already have apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and even webOS--so adding Windows Phone to that roster is hardly a stretch of the imagination. The only question was when and not will they--and at least we now have a timeframe. Combined with Audible and we should have a nice selection come early 2012.

Thanks, Trey W., for the tip!

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Sprots Tracker comes to WP7 Tomorrow

One of the most popular apps on Nokia's previous mobile operating systems is making its way to the Lumia 710 and 800 tomorrow all devices, now. Sports Tracker is an application designed to help users log their physical activity, as well as share it via social networks.  The development team who originally designed it has decided to bring it to Nokia's newest platform of choice, Windows Phone.  Ykä Huhtala, one of the developers of Sports Tracker, said of the decision:

“Windows Phone is a very competitive platform for mobile development especially if you have any previous experience in developing with Microsoft’s tools.  The same tools can be used in developing for mobile devices and it’s extremely easy and fast to get up to speed in developing apps.”

In order to celebrate the launch of Sports Tracker for WP7, the makers will be giving away a Nokia Lumia 800 on their Facebook page

The application will be available for free in the Marketplace.  You can also keep an eye out for details on their website.

Update: And here's the link for it. We hear it's already available in some areas. Thanks, Clinton J., for the tip!

Updated 2: And it looks like it's available everywhere, US included and for all devices!

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Samsung Focus Flash goes shopping in new ad

One of the more recent Windows Phone commercials keys in on the Samsung Focus Flash and group messaging. Plus it highlights one of man's worst shopping nightmares.

The commercial has aired with some frequency here in the States and I've also notice Microsoft has sponsored several USA Network shows such as Psych. The ads and show sponsorships definitely pushes Windows Phones more into the spotlight.

Now if we could only get the carriers to join in on the push.

source: Youtube

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CloudMusic is looking for Beta Testers

CloudMusic Windows Phone App

Celltrac Software is working on the Windows Phone App CloudMusic, a SkyDrive music app, and is looking for a few beta testers. The application taps into your SkyDrive account and allows you to play any music files that you have stored in the cloud.

We've gotten a sneak peak at CloudMusic and the app is laid out in simple fashion with pages for your SkyDrive music collection, what is now playing, recently played songs, and new songs. The app does require you to organize your music in a specific manner in order for CloudMusic to find the tunes.

Just tinkering with the Beta, it does have room for improvement but a nice step in the right direction. Songs took a while to load and you've got to get the music file organization just right. If you're interested in being a beta tester for CloudMusic just email your Windows Live ID to support@celltracsoftware.com.

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Mobile Nations on iTunes, Mobile Nations Enterprise launched tomorrow!

We've launched the Mobile Nations network brand, we've launched great new shows like Girls Gone Gadgets and Stock Talk, and while you'd think we'd be happy enough now to take some time off for holiday cheer, we figured we'd throw out just a few more things to celebrate in 2011.

Mobile Nations has partnered with iTunes to provide you an all new, all beautiful Mobile Nations artist page where you can find all our latest shows, but our essential audio shows and video shows as well. We've also done a series of Holiday Gift Guide specials, where your favorite editors and hosts share with you their favorite holiday gadgets and gifts. You can find them all at our Mobile Nations Gift Guide page on iTunes.

If you haven't already, please take a moment to subscribe to all the shows you enjoy and leave a rating or review, it really helps us out with iTunes! Also, please take a moment to subscribe to our new YouTube channel so you don't miss any of the new shows. Speaking of which...

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So, um...Here's 180 wallpapers for your phone

180+ free wallpapers

From AJ Troxell's offerings yesterday to our Samsung Focus S Giveaway, tis the season for free wallpapers.  MonWindowsPhone user, chefphileas, has added over 180 more to the mix.  His lot offers up a ton of high-quality TV, movie and video game themed backgrounds, as well as scenic, graphic and sexy.  There are even some holiday ones mixed in.  Take a gander over at the MWP forums.

Source: MonWindowsPhone (Thanks for the tip, Gilles!)

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Nokia Germany wraps the Lumia 800 in ice

Either the folks at Nokia Germany have lost the plot, or they've come up with an ingenious promotional stunt. They've put Lumia 800s in ice. Yes, ice. In the above video, you'll witness the frenzied public attempting to bash, melt and shatter the ice to release the handsets (which are hopefully just props). Should they free the Lumia 800, the winners are presented with one to take away with them for free. Really cool advertising there (pun intended).

Source: YouTube (Nokia), via: My Nokia Blog

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Perfect Scan updated, adds SkyDrive support

Perfect Scan for Windows Phone

Katana Labs has recently updated their popular Windows Phone document scanner, Perfect Scan to version 1.6. The update brings fixes for Dropbox integration, document auto naming and SkyDrive support to the Windows Phone app.

Some of the key features of Perfect Scan include:

  • Scans multi page documents, Makes industry standard PDF files
  • Upload scans to email, Skydrive, Dropbox and Google Documents
  • Automatic page detection & perspective correction: straightens your page to perfect rectangle
  • Image enhancement: crop, rotation, auto contract, grayscale, black & white
  • Adds text to document: fill out forms on your phone
  • Signs documents with your scanned signatures

We reviewed Perfect Scan some time ago and found it to be a very good document scanner for your Windows Phone. Adding SkyDrive support will only make app more versatile.

Perfect Scans adds SkyDrive Support

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Telstra rolling out update featuring Internet sharing

Telstra

It appears that Telstra is rolling out the Windows Phone tethering update, and has enabled Internet sharing for customers, following Vodafone AU. We've received multiple reports from readers (some using the HTC Mozart - new FW version: 2250.21.510002.841) that they've successfully updated. It's good to see the Australian carrier still keeping up with updates.

Should you be on the network and have received the notification to update, let us know in the comments below with what handset you're packing.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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Nokia hitting the U.S. with operation 'Rolling Thunder'

Nokia Rolling Thunder

Nokia and T-Mobile U.S. are in full swing with their announced launch party of the Lumia 710, but what's coming up next for the Finnish Windows Phone manufacturer? Operation "Rolling Thunder", as it's internally referred to, is Nokia's plan for rolling out a number of handsets next year and aiming for multiple price points. Chris Weber, head of U.S. operations at Nokia, explained that the company will be at CES in January making a noise as they have been doing in Europe.

"We will be launching a portfolio of devices in the U.S. across a range of price points, user experience and operators. The rollouts are referred to internally as "Operation Rolling Thunder". We’ll have a very large presence [at CES] and it’ll be clear that Nokia is back in a quite strong way in the U.S."

We'll be sure to check out CES in Las Vegas to see what Nokia will be bringing to the event. The Nokia Lumia 900 is still on the list, a more powerful option for U.S. consumers, and is set to hit the states early 2012 if rumours are to be valid. Nokia has the daunting task of getting carriers on side to stock their Windows Phones. Battling hard against the iPhone and a plethora of Android handsets will make a successful and effective marketing campaign all that more important.

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T-Mobile-Nokia Lumia 710 launch event in NYC [Video]

Howdy folks, we're still here, rocking away at the T-Mobile-Nokia Lumia 710 launch event in SoHo, New York. Anywho, above you'll find out hands on with the 710, which we're impressed with. The screen is gorgeous, the camera is great and it feels perfect in the hand.

The device features a powerful 1.4Ghz CPU, 3.7" "clear black" screen, 8GB of memory and low-aperture camera which should meet most people's needs who are entry or mid-level smartphone users. Heck, even we want one.

Lumia

Nokia is planning on supporting this device through their "concierge service" which allows customers to basically interact with Nokia directly for support on their phone--not just problems, but on how to maximize the device's use to its fullest potential. That sounds a lot like an Apple-experience, but you didn't hear that from us. In addition, expect some Nokia-backed advertising for this device--not Deadmau5 kind of things, but strong, consistent support which is a win for the Windows Phone ecosystem as well as Nokia/T-Mobile.

crowd

Look for this phone for $49.95 come January. Finally, we're expecting a large Nokia presence at CES in Vegas, where we we'll be reunited for whatever they have to announce or show off. Stay tuned! A few more pics after the break...

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Scam alert: Dudley is back with Final Mission

 

 
Back in September, we covered a number of Nintendo-owned games illegally sold in the Marketplace by “Windows Phone developer” Jesse Dudley. As a result of what we can only imagine as a nasty letter from Nintendo, Microsoft took these titles offline. Unfortunately, Dudley – or what he’s now calling Dudley Studios – is back with a freshly uploaded title this week – Final Mission.
 
Final Mission isn’t actually a game developed by Dudley Studios. It’s a Japanese NES game owned, developed and published by Natsume Co., Ltd, reminiscent of Konami’s awesome Contra series. (Old hats in the U.S. may remember this title as S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team.)
 
Cracking the XAP open, we discovered the usual infringements:

 

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Bubble Birds getting into the Holiday Spirit

XIMAD has released their popular Windows Phone game Bubble Birds with a dash of holiday spirit. Bubble Birds Christmas is a special edition of the game that ads a wintry scene in the background and gives the games' music a holiday twist.

Game play is the same with your goal being to match three or more birds of the same color to remove them from the playing field. You do this by shooting colored birds from the bottom of the screen. If the playing fields of birds reaches the bottom, game over.

Bubble Birds Christmas

Bubble Birds Christmas is a festive rendition of the original game (here's our review) that is just as entertaining. It is a free, ad supported game that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Bubble Bird Christmas Tag

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WP7 Mega Wallpaper PackAJ Troxell, the brain behind WP7 Lock Screen, is getting into the swing of things with the festive season by kicking off a 12 days worth of freebies. We can hope to see some exciting content from the talented mind. Today we have a Windows Phone wallpaper megapack, containing 4 styles and 43 wallpapers. See the preview on the right for a quick glance at what's included. 

Check out the pack and download the wallpapers at Troxell's website, link below.

Source: AJ Troxell

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Tweet MS to win $25 in apps

Tell MS what your favorite app is to win $25

From today until Friday, Microsoft will be giving away $25 to use toward apps in the Marketplace.  In order to enter the contest, you must follow @windowsphone on Twitter and then tweet them the name of your favorite app using the following phrase:

"@windowsphone My must-have #WindowsPhone app is _______."

Each day of the contest, Microsoft will choose eight winners to receive $25 credit toward apps.  Be sure to include the hashtag #WindowsPhone and reply to @windowsphone.  You can check out the full contest rules on the source link below.

Good luck!

Source: Microsoft (Thanks for the tip, Aaron!)

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