Windows Phone News

Developed by dotcmpt over at XDA, the Deepshining Marketplace was an extension of the Deepshining custom ROMs for older HTC devices like the HD7. The Marketplace took advantage of the ability to install XAP files over Internet Explore, a trick developed by the Dark Forces Team. By hosting Homebrew XAP files on his own server, dotcompt was able to deliver XAP files via his Marketplace to folks using his custom ROMs.

Now he's released the XAP for his custom, homebrew Marketplace for others to use. This means of course that you could install it on any dev unlocked phone--but be warned, installing XAPs over IE won't work making this little more than a browsing tool (with some swanky wallpapers and site links). Having said that, others who have custom ROMs by other chefs could now install this thereby taking advantage of dotcompt's nice work.

In that sense, this news is clearly for the niche user out there but it's still a great move in the right direction. The DS Marketplace is smooth and elegantly made so it deserves a little more attention from those with custom ROMs out there.

Dotcompt also released a power tool call DS Supertool that gives quick links to certain settings and even a speed dialer. That will work on any dev-unlocked phone and is worth checking out if you like new homebrew apps to play with.

Find DS Marketplace here at XDA and DS Super tool here in these threads for more info. For another take on the Hombrew Marketplace scene, take a look at our Bazaar coverage.

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Remember that insane Symbian cameraphone that was unveiled at this year's MWC, which blew some of us away? Looks like the PureView camera technology that provided the Nokia 808 with a 41MP shooter has been confirmed to be heading to a Windows Phone near you (check out some of our hands-on coverage to witness what this will mean for consumers).

Nokia's Jo Harlow validated the speculation that the manufacturer would be brining this technology to the Lumia Windows Phone family in an interview with Finnish newspaper Aamulehti. When queried about when we should expect to see such a device, Harlow replied with (rough translation): "I can’t say precisely when, but it will not take very long." Windows Phone Apollo (when we're more than likely to see PureView on Microsoft's platform) just got that little bit sweeter, no? 

This is sure to rock the socks off of both our George and Dan if all goes ahead. Say cheese!

Source: Aamulehti, via: e's phoneblog; thanks damthman for the tip!

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Vodafone Australia has the Lumia 800 available (only in black unfortunately) on contracts starting at just $29 /mo (cheapest plan includes a $10 /mo handset fee). The Windows Phone, which was reportedly hitting Australia in all four colours - black, white, cyan and magenta. 

While a strong choice of colour is not present at Vodafone AU, the Lumia 800 is a superb Windows Phone that has received positive reviews across the board. Should you be interested in cyan though, Optus is sporting this choice on their product list and at a more attractive price of just $19 /mo.

Source: Vodafone, Optusthanks to the anonymous tipster!

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The Nokia Lumia 710 is on offer at Vodafone UK for £150, accompanied by a 6-month Zune Pass. The Windows Phone was made available on both Vodafone and Three earlier last month for £199 (though Vodafone reportedly dropped the price to £150 soon after). The Lumia 710 packs a 1.4 Ghz processor, 3.7" screen, 5MP camera, 8GB storage and sports a handful of pre-loaded Nokia apps.

Hurry up should the offer intrigue you as it ends on March 31st. Ignore the 3/5 rating as this was left by a single Android-orientated reviewer who complained about the lack of storage for music lovers (Zune Pass / Nokia Music anyone?).

Source: Vodafone UK, thanks Vicky for the heads up!

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While we just learnt the base price of the Nokia Lumia 900 on Rogers it also now appears there will be a Batman "The Dark Knight" tie in as well. If you head over to their promo page, you'll see them advertising the ability to register to be notified when the pre-order is available--nothing unique there (though good tip if you're interested). But near the bottom of the ad there's a curious addition:

"When you pre-order a Lumia 900, Nokia and Rogers have a surprise for you. Hint: there's a hero rising out of the darkness."

No word on if that involves movies passes or maybe the big granddaddy of it all: a Dark Knight edition of the Lumia 900. Sound crazy? We steer you to the Dark Knight Lumia 800 that had a super limited run (so limited we don't even know where to have gotten one). We're sure more will come out eventually on this "surprise" so stay tuned.

Source: Rogers; Thanks, buggyglint, for the link!

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With the upcoming "Tango" update to Windows Phone, OEMs will have the ability to make phones with just 256 MB of RAM, shaving off a few precious dollars from their bottom line. Of course in doing so, about 5% of the apps currently on the Marketplace (including ours) won't work unless the developer re-works aspects to make it more efficient on memory usage. Such phones include the Nokia Lumia 610 and possibly the ZTE Orbit. Those devices display a similar notification in their "About" section too:

Of course there are instances where developers may not want to adjust their app--either they don't want to compromise performance/esthetics or they use periodicTask or a ResourceIntensiveTask. In that case, developers can actually opt-out of making their app compatible and instead a message will appear alerting users that this app won't work on their phone.

Nokia has now published details on both how devs can enable this feature as well as what the user experience will be like. The latter part involves a message noting that the app cannot be installed and when tapped a pop-up window will notify them that they need a phone with more RAM.

Source: Nokia Developer; Thanks, anon, for the tip

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When the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone goes global in a few months, Rogers Canada is likely going to be the 900's first stop.  While the when of the Lumia 900 landing in Canada is still a little blurry, the pricing appears to be coming into focus.

One of our stealthy readers was able to grab a shot of the inventory screen for the Roger's Lumia 900 that indicates the pricing to be $499.99.  Unfortunately, no date for release can be seen.

The Lumia is marked as discountable but that is something that Roger's will determine based on vendor agreements and other factors. More than likely the $499.99 will drop a bit once contractual discounts kick in. How low the contractual price will be is anyone's guess.  

Hopefully, this is also a good indication of what AT&T's pricing might be.

Thanks to our stealthy reader for the tip and the pic!

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Chromatic is a fast paced, 2D shooter game for your Windows Phone. In a nutshell, you defend against wave upon wave of enemy ships.  As you progress through the game, you unlock a wide variety of weapon types that will help you defend against the armada. We liked the game in our review and found it to be an entertaining, addictive game for your Windows Phone.

Chromatic was updated today to version 2.0. Along with a few performance tweaks, the update adds an online tournament mode to the game.

In the online tournament you play against other Chromatic players to see who can score the highest within a two minute round. Every competes with the same weapons types, which appear to be selected at random. At the end of each round, your scores are tallied and a ranking summary is displayed. You'll have sixty seconds in between rounds to catch your breath.

The tournament or Play Online mode of Chromatic is a nice touch. I like the randomness of the weapons. It levels the playing field and adds a bit of challenge to the match.

Chromatic comes in two versions. There is an free, ad supported version of Chromatic that you can find here at the Marketplace. Chromatic Pro is an ad free version that will run you $.99 that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

After the break, catch a demo video from the developer showing the online tournament in action.  And feel free to join in on the discussion about the new tournament mode here in the WPCentral Forums.

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NetMarketShare has published marketshare data for the month for February and we've got some positive news for those who have missed the above image somehow. According to the data provided, Windows Phone is still on the rise - and it's a fairly steady climb from 0.29% up to 0.41%. 

While this is still fairly small when compared to the continued growth of both Android and iOS, it's good news that Nokia is having an impact on brand awareness. With the announcement (and public preview release) of Windows 8, which sports Metro UI elements, we can only expect the situation to improve for Microsoft's mobile platform.

Source: NetMarketShare, via: StreetInsider, thanks Mustafa for the tip!

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AndroidCentral's Phil Nickinson feels the burn

What we thought may be a one-off contest has seemingly turned into a viral campaign by Microsoft. The "Smoked by Windows Phone" contest was started back in CES in January and has since gone to the road with tours and most recently showed up at Mobile World Congress in 2012 and Hong Kong.

Now Microsoft is looking to the expand the coverage and even pushing it to TV--that's right, soon we'll all be able to see Microsoft "picking a fight" with Android and iOS broadcast everywhere. In an interview with Bloomberg, Aaron Woodman, director of Windows Phone revealed as much:

“It doesn’t feel like we’re really pushing apart from the competition,” Woodman said. “We need to go pick a fight.

We’ll do TV spots, the question is where. Microsoft is patient and willing to use deep pockets, but we’re also respectful of shareholder value so we want to pick appropriate countries and spend levels.”

Hopefully we won't be waiting too long as we think this is an effective strategy and would certainly like to see more.

Source: Bloomberg; Thanks, Stephen M., for the heads up

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The Canadian carrier TELUS has an interesting deal currently active for the Lumia 800 Windows Phone, which is priced at $49.99 (dropped from $249) when purchased accompanied by a $50 (three year term) plan. The Nokia handset is present in black, cyan and magenta.

The device has been anticipated by those who have been awaiting for the carrier to launch the Windows Phone, but should a contract not be up your street, a no term option is available for $529.99.

Source: TELUS, thanks Ryles for the tip!

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The brains over at the XDA Developers community forum have been playing around with a leaked Vodafone branded Lumia 800 ROM, which MobileTechWorld has been testing against bug reports and what previous software updates addressed. 1600.2487.8107.12070 is set to be the next step from the previous major firmware release (1600.2483.8106.11500) for the Lumia 800 that addressed battery and WiFi connectivity issues.

The following is a compilation of all known fixes / improvements in 12070:

  • Battery drain issue has been fixed
  • Lack of audio Bass when listening through headsets has been addressed 
  • Auto-white balance issue with the camera has been fixed
  • Hardware buttons backlights are now always illuminated at all available screen brightness levels
  • Diagnostics app has been updated to prevent users from receiving misleading technical readouts about their device

MobileTechWorld has noted that we should expect to see this update to be rolled out soon. We've reached out to Nokia for more details. Should you be an owner of the Lumia 800, fear not as it would appear the manufacturer is working hard to fix all user-reported problems.

Source: XDA Developers forum, MobileTechWorld

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If you've purchased a Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone from T-Mobile, you've got a free gift to claim. Nokia is offering a free Xpress-On cover in the color of your choice to anyone who has purchase a 710 from a T-Mobile retail/dealer store in the U.S., Puerto Rico or District of Columbia (don't shoot the messenger).

All you need to do is go to nokiacolorcover.com and choose the Submit Your Request option in the top banner. Claiming your cover is a painless four step process and when completed, you should get your cover in 4-6 weeks. You can even check the status of your request through the Color Cover website.

Oh... and the free cover offer won't last forever. You'll need to claim your cover by March 31, 2012.

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The Windows Phone weather app Weather26 (here's our review) was updated today to version 1.6 which now adds Live Tile service. The previous update, version 1.5, added location/GPS services to your location search page.

The Live Tile will place the current conditions for your default location on your Windows Phone Start Screen. The reverse side of the tile will show when the conditions were last updated. 

The other big addition that hit with the v1.5 update is the use of location services to set a forecast location. When you go to add a forecast city, just tap the satellite button at the bottom of the screen. From there you can customize the location and add it to your list.

The Weather26 updates brings two nice features to a nice weather app for your Windows Phone. I would have liked the next days forecast appear on the reverse side of the tile but knowing when the tile was last updated has its uses.

Weather26 is a free, ad supported app for your Windows Phone that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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To celebrate the Nokia UK Facebook page accumulating 200,000 'likes', the Finnish handset maker set up a competition for four lucky winners to receive a Tinchy Stryder signed black Lumia 800 Windows Phone (see above photo). They have just announced the four winners on Facebook today who will be receiving the handsets.

As well as the main winners there were also three runners up listed who each will receive a Nokia Purity Headset by Monster. If you look closely at the photo, does the signature look smudged to you?

Source: Facebook (Nokia)

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The All Blacks, New Zealand's national rugby team, were being recorded by a hovering Lumia 800 Windows Phone when they took it down with an accurate throw. Not too sure what the video is supposed to be promoting, apart from the phone being relatively sturdy and being able to record while flying through a training ground, but it's a laugh nonetheless.

Source: YouTube (Nokia), thanks tommohammed for the heads up!

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Marios Karagiannis, developer of popular indie game Monster Up (our review), has published an interesting article on his personal blog detailing why development for Windows Phone is preferred by him over iOS and Android. While going into some detail, Marios provides the reader with three reasons why he believes Microsoft's mobile platform is a more appealing choice.

Both iOS and Android have far more marketshare than Windows Phone, which provides developers with a safer submission into the ecosystem through the higher possibility of ROI (return of investment). When developers think of Windows Phone, it's the smaller user base that's scary and prevents ideas blossoming or app / games being ported. Just why does Marios prefer the platform?

Reason 1: Developing for Windows Phone is enjoyable

"Developing for Windows Phone is fun. I love the SDK, I love the tools, I love the whole experience. I have been developing games since I was a little boy and the reason back then continues to be the reason right now. I am having fun developing games."

Reason 2: More free time for personal life activity

"Making games is not my main activity. This blends a bit with the other reasons. Spending 1-2 hours per day developing games for Windows Phone allows me to go about doing the other things I am doing in my life (finishing my PhD and having a family). I strongly have the feeling that this would not exactly be possible using any of the other two platforms and be dedicated enough to master either of them."

Reason 3: Emerging Windows ecosystem

"I have placed a bet with Windows Phone. And not just with Windows Phone, but with the up-and-coming Windows ecosystem. For me right now, Microsoft is the new Apple. It innovated constantly in many fronts and has some amazing successes to show for its efforts."

Be sure to head over to Marios's personal website to read up on the full post, and if you haven't already you should check out Monster Up, which can be downloaded from the Marketplace for $1.29 (£0.99).

Source: Marios Karagiannis

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Clove UK has announced the availability of the international Lumia 900 on their blog today, which will set the buyer back £528. While Clove has failed to specify a date as to when the Nokia Windows Phone will be ready to ship to customers, we would expect it to fit in with competitors such as Unlocked Mobiles and Carphone Warehouse, who are also set to stock the 900.

What's interesting to note is the pricing, and Clove seems to be far behind other retailers. Unlocked Mobiles is offering the same (unlocked) handset for just £445, almost £100 cheaper.

Source: Clove UK

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NVIDIA has released a press statement detailing the company's interest in working with Microsoft to use their Tegra 3 quad-core chips in Windows 8 PCs. The move is somewhat expected with Windows 8 being able to run on ARM architecture. It was only last year that we reported on the rumour of NVIDIA bringing the Tegra 3 to Windows Phone by 2013, and Windows 8 demos were shown with NVIDIA chips.

The two companies have been working on a program to distribute test devices to software developers and manufacturers. Speaking of Windows 8, have you got your paws on the Windows 8 consumer preview yet? It's available as a free download. View the NVIDIA press statement below.

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The German online retailer GetGoods has published a product page for the Lumia 610, which was announced at MWC. The budget Nokia Windows Phone is priced at €199 in black, and will be reportedly available for shipping in 2-3 weeks. wpnewsflip reports that the cyan and magenta are also inbound. This follows Unlocked Mobiles in the UK, but availability is locked in for May.

Source: Getgoods.de, via: wpnewsflip, thanks Mobi for the heads up!

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