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Nokia's 'The Amazing Everyday' in Austria

Nokia Austria is attacking the public with effective marketing and dominant advertising with "The Amazing Everyday". From covering trams in Lumia advertisement material, to handing out small packages containing food. The video montage illustrates how the manufacturer is working with retailers to set up stands and ensure the Lumia handsets are getting maximum exposure.

The Nokia Arch also makes a return in a shopping centre, sporting interactive demos. An interesting video that's well worth checking out.

Source: YouTubethanks, Ellis, for the heads up!

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Murtazin vs. Watson -- Round 1 *ding*

In response to circulating rumors regarding Windows Phone 8's lack of application backwards compatibility, Microsoft's Brandon Watson -- Director of Developer Experience -- confirmed today that the upcoming OS revision will run older Windows Phone 7 applications. Yep, that means Sally's Salon will port over just fine.

But from a technical perspective, how existing apps will work unmodified is fuzzy. For example, if the new resolution rumors pan out, should we expect some sort of zooming functionality akin to Apple's iPad (running iPhone applications)? And what about those awesome premium apps (e.g. Youtube, Tango, Navigon) with native hooks into the underlying OS? We presume everyone using native code is on Windows Phone for the long haul, but it's worth asking.

Anyway, stay tuned. We expect both Windows Phone "Tango" and "Apollo" to be detailed at Mobile World Congress next month. Rest assured we'll have feet -- at least Daniel Rubino's -- on the ground providing updates.

Source: WinSuperSite

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ESRB

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) recently launched an initiative to expand their converge to mobile games. Meant as a guide for parents, the system boasts that familiar "Rated E for Everyone" slogan we hear during TV commercials for PC and console games. Whether you agree with it or not, it is a system (albeit arbitrary) that serves as a framework for keeping parents in the know.

Microsoft signed up for the mobile ESRB system while interestingly Google and Apple have both skipped out. Now, we're finally seeing the first rollout as a few games are receiving their "E for everyone" stamp in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Our only concern is that this is one more hoop for Xbox LIVE developers to jump through to get their games approved thereby potentially slowing down the process of publishing. So far, we've seen Angry Birds and the indie game MathZia Free with the ratings being displayed.

Ratings

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Taking note of a number of Lumia 800 launch parties occurring across the world, the Czech Republic has joined in with Nokia putting on a show in Prague on January 26th to celebrate the launch of the 710 and 800 (February 1st). Two hundred journalists, developers and devoted fans were selected for the event, which featured a number of cool presentations and gimmicks.

From Windows Phone cakes to a water-rippling Lumia 800 floor projection, it looked like a unique experience to say the least. Nokia also began advertising the 710 and 800 in Prague (and beyond) as can be seen in the below photo, taken by Martin Suchan in a subway. 

Lumia Prague advertising

Source: YouTube, @MartinSuchanthanks Thomas for the tip and video!

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Timelapse Pro updated with Skydrive support

Timelapse Pro is a handy app for your Windows Phone for time lapse photography. We took a look at it a while ago and found it to be a very nice photography app for your Windows Phone. Timelapse Pro was recently updated to version 2.5 that adds Skydrive support and the ability to create animated .gif files from your time lapse footage.

You can still create videos from the time lapse photos through third party apps such as Windows Live Movie Maker. But if you need a quick way to generate an animated presentation from your pictures, the .gif creator comes in handy.

Timelapse Pro .GIF Export Tool

Once you finish capturing your photos, when you go to preview the footage you will still see the options to record more photos, save photos, or delete the picture set.  With version 2.5 the option to upload the video comes into play.

When you choose to upload the video you will be taken to an upload wizard where you choose the resolution size (up to 480x360).  Once the .gif is created you can choose where to upload the .gif file to. You can choose your Skydrive account or upload the file to Timelapse Pro's server (20mb size limit). Once uploaded you will be provided a link that you can share as you wish (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

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WP Central

Nokia has confirmed the upcoming arrival of the Lumia 800 to Australia in a press statement today. Not only that, but the manufacturer stated that the handset will be available in cyan, magenta, black and the rumoured white. Australian carriers (Optus, Telstra and Vodafone) have shown interest in Nokia's Windows Phone (possibly due to the launches that have been hosted across the world), which is good news for those who are looking for better platform support and more generation two handsets.

We've continuously seen reports of frustration from consumers in Australia due to the lack of support from not only the carriers, but Microsoft itself. With Nokia tackling world domination, looks like this commonwealth nation will be seeing some love. If you're interested as to when Telstra will be sporting the device, be sure to register your interest.

Check out the press release after the break.

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Speak to Play

The ability to play your music via voice command was something that Windows Mobile users were accustomed to back in 2006. To not have the ability to say "Play <insert artist>" on a Windows Phone in 2012 is a bit absurd but we'll assume that something had to be cut for those 500 new features in Mango.

However, an app is now available that fulfills this task: Speak To Play by developer Puno-Z. The app is a clean, minimalist design with a large microphone graphic that you "push to speak". From there you can tell it to play an artist, song, album, playlist or even genre.

Speak to Play

In our usage with it tonight, we'll agree with those multiple five-star reviews in the Marketplace--it works very well. We had no issues with it recognizing what we wanted to do and it gets the job done. It's of course still not as nice as being able to run TellMe via the Search button "from anywhere" in the OS--having to launch an app and then push the button is still more task-intensive than we'd like. But until Microsoft blesses us with this function, Speak To Play is the next best thing.

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WP Central

Because it's Sunday we have our weekly Windows Phone news recap. Everything that's worth knowing from our news stream, which you may have missed, will be included in this roundup for your convenience. Before we crack on with the summary, we simply must plug our own app. Jay Bennett has been hard at work bringing version 2.1 to the table, which is now available on the Marketplace. It's the best way to get Windows Phone news while on the go.

As well as our app being updated, we have the latest discussions taking place on our WPCentral forum. We have a section of the community completely dedicated to the general discussion of the operating system itself, which has proven to be pretty darn popular with not only members, but visiting guests too. Be sure to head on over and engage with other members of the Windows Phone community. Let us move on with the summary, join us after the break.

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Wordfeud App

Seems as though we've been taken by surprise with Wordfeud as the title is now available on the Marketplace. We previously looked at the app when the developers noted that they were looking at a February 1st release, but one could assume they couldn't wait much longer.

The multiplayer Scrabble clone comes packed with push notifications, Live Tiles, opponent chat, cross-platform support and more. Check out some highlighted features below:

  • Choose to play with friends or be matched up against random opponents
  • Play in 30 simultaneous games
  • Random board option to mix up the DL, DW, TL, TW tiles
  • Push notifications informing you of opponent's latest move
  • Uses English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish dictionaries
  • Chat with your opponents

You can download Wordfeud from the Marketplace fully functional and free with ads or $2.99 with no ads. (Update: Link fixed)

Via: WP7.nl, thanks Mark for the heads up!

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Snapcrowd

SnapCrowd is a popular cloud-sharing/hosting service for digital media that was introduced late last year. What makes SnapCrowd different though from say Dropbox or even Skydrive is the ability to upload content unaltered/resized, support for 300 different photo formats (including RAW), resume of uploads, streaming of video and music and the best part in our opinion--subusers for your account. What that last part means of course is that you can have multiple users share and access the same account which is certainly unique feature for many. Finally, the service also has some of the best security around including SSL / TLS and HTTPS protocol layers, for you privacy gurus.

So we're quite excited to see an official app headed to Windows Phone with a planned release date of March. The app features all the main aspects of the cloud service including video, music, photos, contacts and document support in addition to streaming of media.

What makes SnapCrowd great, from our perspective, is how robust and feature-rich their service is--it's not just file storage, but the playback ability, the generation of album art, the option to stream whole movies, share with multiple users, etc. that seemingly makes it a good sell. The service is free for 10GB of storage (for a limited time) and one subuser account and then goes to $59 for 50GB of storage and $99 for 100GB of storage with increased subusers.

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An active player (munkiiyebee) of Wordament has built a custom version of the game, which was used when he proposed to his girlfriend. The word search type game puts the player up against others from around the world where every player competes on the same board to achieve the fastest time. So how did he use it for the proposal?

In the above video, we see the fan/developer's custom port of Wordament that was used by his girlfriend, and as you can see the words required to be found spell out "Will you marry me?". A cheesy, but original touch since they both play the game frequently. To wrap up this story positively, his girlfriend (now fiancé) said yes. Awwh.

Source: YouTubeWordament, via: WPSauce, thanks HD7guy for the tip!

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Foursquare

We haven't seen the official Foursquare app get an update in quite some time. In fact, we've heard some isolated reports that the leaderboard tile stopped updating for some. So it's nice to see the official team update their app (and play catch-up to 4th & Mayor).

Version 2.9 is now live in the Marketplace and features the following changes:

  • Portugese, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese and Russian language support
  • Push notifications to get instant friend check-in updates on pinned tile
  • Leaderboard pinned tile backside to see where you stand compared to your friends

The extra language support is great, especially as Windows Phone expands globally to those new markets. The push notifications we've seen before in 4th & Mayor and quite fun to keep track of your friends's updates. Finally, hopefully this update will fix that stuck leaderboard for some of you. You can pick up the updated Foursquare app here for free in the Marketplace. Thanks, Rob and Aaron, for the tip!

QR: Foursquare

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Nokia Lumia 910 with 12MP camera listed on Dutch site

Lumia 910?

We've been hearing rumblings of a Nokia Lumia 910 recently--basically a Lumia 900 but with a 12.1MP camera instead of the 8MP on the AT&T version. That's not too shabby if true, especially for our European friends who are rumored to be getting the updated version by mid year.

Now we have the Lumia 910 showing up on a Typhone.NL a Dutch retail site for smartphones. The phone is clearly marked as the 910 and low and behold even has a matching 12MP camera to match those rumored specs. Could be coincidence, could be a retail site drumming up some hits or it could very well be the first solid evidence that this bad boy is coming sooner than later. Everything else is there too: 16GB of storage, front facing camera, HSDPA (21 Mb/s) and that 4.3" screen, of course.

In fact, dare we we say we're expecting Nokia to show of the Lumia 910 next month in Barcelona? They're not going to just re-hash a 900 release are they? We think not...

Source: Typhone.NL; via WPSauce

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WhatsApp gets hot fix for broken media with v1.7

WhatsAppWhatsApp hit v1.6 the other day and right away many of you noticed that you lost the inability to view media--specifically received photos and videos--within the app. That sure is a deal breaker. As we reported the next day, the developers had a mea culpa, confessing that an errant build of the app was submitted to the Marketplace causing the problem.

Now, v1.7 (technically v1.6.2) is live in the Marketplace and it fixes (hopefully) that media-messaging issue and in addition, you get two new functions as well:

  • Able to read and change group icon
  • Improved scrolling behavior

Sure, the app still lacks some personality in regards to the UI in our opinion but at least the developers quickly fixed what could have been a disastrous release. Hopefully we'll see some more added functions in future updates.

Grab the updated version of WhatsApp here in the Marketplace for free. Thanks, Kirk, for the tip!

QR: WhatsApp

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Tango?

File this under rumor, folks, as these screenshots can easily be faked, but PocketPC.ch is reporting that Windows Phone "Tango" will be known as Windows Phone 7.6 and has the build number starting at 7.20.1050.5. More importantly, they allege that it will include Google+ in addition to Skype. Via Bing Translator:

"In this early beta phase, the implementation of Skype and G + is still rather experimental. Telephoning via Skype seems to work not as yet, but it is prepared. G + chat and Skype chat work but already well. The front camera, which will be the next generation of Windows phones standard, is included in the Skype video calling. It is thus possible to receive video calls and to make, but in the pre beta with some problems and crashes. That Google Hangout, the video calling G +, will also follow, is likely, but the timing is still unclear, given that the API of G + is still not so far advanced, to make this possible."

In other words, the reason we have not yet seen an app for Windows Phone is because Microsoft has evidently pushed up the integration from Apollo (Windows Phone 8) to Tango (Windows Phone 7.6), making this update much more significant. In addition, Microsoft is also evidently pushing out Google+ into the mix which makes sense from a "cover the market" perspective, but should be surprising to many including those on Android, assuming it is true.

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Team LifeLens

Team Lifelens, United States. Team members (not in order): Tristan Gibeau, Cy Khormaee, Wilson To, Jason Wakizaka and Helena Xu.

We've mentioned Team LifeLens before way back in April 2011. The student group won the Microsoft Imagine Cup back in July for Windows Phone with their app for detecting Malaria. The app itself is part of a package that includes the software, hardware lens and computer vision analysis tools and can literally be used for live-Malaria testing on individuals. The data can then be sent "to the cloud" for data banking and further statistical analysis--great for tracking epidemics and the like.

Now, Microsoft is going further with the Imagine Cup project by committing $3 million dollars to the newly created "...three-year...competitive grant program for student technology and social entrepreneurs". Each of the winning teams were given $75 thousand dollars to help get their project to market in addition to

" ...software, cloud computing services, solution provider support, premium Microsoft BizSpark account benefits and access to local resources such as the Microsoft Innovation Centers. Microsoft will also connect grant recipients with its network of investors, nongovernmental organization partners and business partners.

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Microsoft's rolling Cafe Mango shows up in California

Cafe Mango

We last mentioned Microsoft's Cafe Mango back in November. Back then, the truck was here on the East coast in New York and New Jersey to tie in with the big Mango push on AT&T and T-Mobile.

Now we got word that the promotional truck, filled with Mango treats and sandwiches, was out in Aliso Viejo, California in front of an AT&T store. By giving away some free food and some hands on with Windows Phones, Microsoft hopes to get some converts. It's certainly an interesting approach and we've heard nothing but good things from those who've managed to get the Mango-experience.

Cafe Mango

You can follow the Cafe Mango Team on Twitter (@CafeMangoToGo) to see where they're going next--stop by and show'em some love if they're near you, tell'em WPCentral sent you!

Thanks, Rudy R., for the pics

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Site Announcement: WPCentral app v2.1 now available

WP Central

It's been just over a week since we released WPCentral v2.0 into the world, pushing up the total number of app downloads to over 30,000. Honestly myself and everyone involved have been absolutely blown away by the incredible feedback we've received on the site, via e-mail and of course in marketplace reviews. We couldn't be more thrilled that you guys are enjoying the new app and I wanted to say thank you one more time for the continued investment our community shows.

With that said, v2.0 is already being replaced, proving that if you want to find any mistakes in your code, just release it to the public to test in their masses!

You'll be able to download it from the marketplace right now here, but I know you're keen to know what's changed so here we go:

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We mentioned Sonic's Jewels (SJ7) the other day as coming to Windows Phone. The SEGA Game Gear and Master System emulator has been submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace and should be made available to all in the next few days. Coming with a free trial, the emulator will ultimately fetch for $1.29 which we find to a great price for this well designed app.

Sonic Jewels

We've playing with it for a few days now and while there is currently no sound (the devs are hoping to get that working in the future) we found the emulation and presentation top notch. The app is fluid, intuitive to use and has built in Skydrive support for importation of your ROM collection. With the ability for three saved-states per game, pinnable Live Tiles for each game and the excellent progress indicators, we're very impressed with the effort here.

We'll keep you posted when Sonic's Jewels goes live in the Marketplace in the next few days. Until then, enjoy our video tour.

Update: This app is now known as Blue Tomato.

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WhatsApp

Last night we reported that WhatsApp hit v1.6 with a bunch of small fixes and new features. However, many of you noted right away something wasn't right--specifically you can't open up received images or videos sent by other WhatsApp users.

That's a pretty big drawback. So what's the deal? WPCentral reader Robby Light contacted the devs and they responded:

"The submission for 1.6 came from a "tainted" build machine and was not linked correctly.  This makes us fail to download media.  We regret the error and have sent an update to Microsoft.

Regards,
Andrew"

So there you go. We've seen this error from other apps before where an improper build was submitted to the Marketplace and we've even seen the submission process break an app (i.e. Supertube's video uploading). Hopefully a v1.7 "quick fix" will be pushed out ASAP and you'll get all those missing photos.

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Lumia 710 and 800 coming to Czech Republic February 1

Lumia 710 and 800 coming to Czech Republic

Just a couple days after the Lumia 900 showed up for sale on a Czech site, it looks like the its brethren Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 are headed that way too.  Computerworld.cz is reporting that the two Nokias are coming to the Czech Republic on February 1.  They will be available on all of the country's carriers (O2, T-mobile and Vodafone), along with the Electroworld retail chain and Alza.cz e-shop.  Word is that the 710 will fetch about 7,990 CZK and the 800 an estimated 12 490 CZK. 

The two handsets will come with the Nokia Collection, Nokia's own app marketplace, as well as a twist: a choice of search engines.  Users will be able to select the factory-installed Bing search or opt for Czech search engine, Seznam.cz. 

"Seznam.cz is a Czech company focused on the Czech market. We are glad that we got the opportunity to offer our users the Czech search. In cooperation with the Czech representation of Nokia, we modified the home page as searching and displaying results specifically for phones Lumia, to the best possible user experience, "says Ivan Mikula, product manager for mobile services Seznam.cz. (Please forgive the Google Translate)

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Security Toolkit

Security Toolkit (our review) is an app that enables the user to turn their Windows Phone into a mobile security system. From motion sensor capabilities to an intrusion alarm, Security Toolkit certainly is a neat app to play with. The app has recently been updated to 1.6. A brief list of a hundful of improvements implemented in the latest version:

  • WebCam Viewer - view a PC (live) connected webcam over local WIFI (auto discovered Cam Broadcaster is available as a separate app.)
  • Voice Recorder - voice recorder with silence detection and skip, start/stop/pause/resume recording using phone camera button, remote listen/record from PC console via local WIFI
  • Image quality improved for Cam Broadcaster

You can download Security Toolkit from the Marketplace for $3.99.

QR: Security Toolkit

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We're always a fan of augmented reality apps even if we don't have a specific use for them. Augmented Colors by SimzzDev fits in that category as we're not designers or artists by any stretch. Still, that didn't prevent us from recognizing just how cool this is.

In short, the app uses your Windows Phone camera to dynamically label colors in the world by using their RGB values and HTML color codes (e.g. #FF0000 for red). When you find a color you like, you simply tap the on-screen color bar to "lock it" in. The app then hops to the share screen where you can post that color code to Twitter/Facebook/Live, email/SMS or pin-to-start for saving for later. You can even create solid wallpapers for your Lock screen based off the color for some added function.

Augmented Colors

We could see painters and graphic designers making great use of this app or even if you're just repainting a room and you're looking for that exact color for the paint store. The app works exceptionably well for what it is meant to do and for $0.99, we think it's a bargain. There's also a free-trial where you can test out the AR part (you just can't share results), so no reason to not give it a spin.

Pick up Augmented Colors here in the Marketplace.

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