Windows Phone News

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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It looks like Microsoft has started to get in touch with developers behind the 5% of apps which "do not run satisfactorily on 256 MB devices", just as promised. The intention behind these e-mails is to give developers time to profile their apps, optimise them, and then test out any improvements on the new 256MB emulator.

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Three UK has announced plans to implement "4G" on their network, but instead of putting LTE on trial, for now the carrier is favouring DC-HSPA (the DC means dual-channel). In theory customers should be able to witness speeds up to 42Mbps, and with Three's "unlimited" data plans this will certainly excite smartphone owners.

Three currently operates a HSPA+ network that offers speeds of up to 21Mbps and is set to roll out DC-HSPA this coming summer. What's interesting to note is the timing of this announcement with the international Lumia 900 (supporting the "almost 4G" standard) being announced at MWC this week - coincidence?

Three still plans to introduce LTE through testing in the future so we'll happily take DC-HSPA for now.

Via: Slashgear; 4G image via Shutterstock

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The long-awaited Skype app, which was unveiled at this year's MWC as beta, has an issue that will affect any user that wishes to run it in the background hoping that incoming calls would alert for user input. The Verge took a dive into the beta app only to find out that should the app not be active on a Windows Phone, any incoming calls are diverted to a voicemail service.

Skype has informed The Verge that this is a limitation due to the OS itself with how notifications are too slow, stating that it takes too long to process information, open the app, and set up the call to make it practical. Unfortunately it would appear as though the team doesn't have native access and we don't expect this to be something that'll be fixed by the gold build release.

Of course we're all still awaiting integration with the OS itself, which would render the app somewhat redundant. Hopefully native access will be provided for said integration that would allow the team to have the service run in the background. Skype integrated into Windows Phone will add to the selling points for the platform thus Microsoft will need to have an efficient solution for those who use the service.

Another kink in the system is video calling, which is only in landscape mode. What's more strange is should you swipe to the text conversation mid-call the app will then switch the portrait. This is actually something Skype made the decision on and is looking to fix.

Source: The Verge

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PlayPhone adds Windows Phone support

PlayPhone Social Gaming Network announced at Mobile World Congress yesterday that they now support Windows Phone.  And in doing so, it appears to have become the first social gaming service to support all major operating systems.  PlayPhone, which already supports Android, iOS, HTML5, Adobe AIR and Unity, is an online community for multiplayer and social gaming.  It allows its 35+ million users to interact, play games and consume virtual goods in a cross-platform environment.

“Microsoft and its partners have put extensive resources toward the rapid adoption of the Windows Phone 7 platform worldwide” said Anders Evju, SVP and GM of PlayPhone.  “PlayPhone is committed to cross-platform mobile gaming. Gamers on all leading mobile devices – Android, iPhone, iPad, WP7, etc. – can jump into the PlayPhone SGN to play some of the best games out there with their friends.  We call this the PlayPhone advantage."

The PlayPhone Social Gaming Network SDK for Windows Phone is now available to developers.  Visit their website for more info.

Source: Mobile Entertainment

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Mobile World Congress 2012 (Tag: MWC12) is in full swing and the Mobile Nations team is there. Our Mobile World Congress 2012 Events Forum is filling up with all the news and discussions thereof--we have lots to discuss, so jump in the forums and join the fun. We also have new forums up for the Lumia 610 and the ZTE Orbit,  both of which were announced this week.

There is a lot already posted and more to come, so go get the news from our Main Page then jump in the forums for the in depth discussion and community sprit you can only find in the WPCentral forums.

Remember, the forums are more fun when you register, so sign up today.

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This morning at Mobile World Congress, CEO of Nokia Stephen Elop commented on their recent success of announcing four new Windows Phone within one year of their famous partnership with Microsoft. He noted that they were now in 31 different markets and on 50 unique operators with increasing demand in sales everyday.

In just under a year, they've won awards for the Lumia 900, including a "Best of Show" which was a first for them and garnered high praise for the Lumia 800.

So when it came to the Lumia 710, specifically on T-Mobile which Elop pointed out was their return-device to the U.S. market, he reported with great enthusiasm that sales are "exceeding expectations" and that they are "very pleased" with its performance in the market so far. While no specific numbers were given, it appears at least that Nokia has a small hit on their hands with the Lumia 710--a device we gave high praise for--and the increasing visibility of the device e.g. LIVE! with Kelly is certainly helping too.

Quickly checking T-Mobile's page for device information, we can in fact see this being reflected. As of today, the Lumia 710 is T-Mobile's third best selling device--a level we have never seen reached for any Windows Phone in the US. Likewise, the device is in the same spot for user satisfaction with a 4.7 stars (out of 5) from 115 reviews (interestingly, the HTC Radar is number two).

The conclusion seems to be that Nokia is doing quite well with the 710 which we think is a great sign for the impending Lumia 900 on AT&T and their accompanying media campaign.

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During the latest keynote speech at Mobile World Congress, HTC's Peter Chou and Nokia's Stephen Elop had a few fun moments taking shots at each during their talks and later during the question and answer session.  In what was probably the most exciting thing to happen here since Nokia announced a 41MP camera, the two (who insist they are friends and on good terms) clearly have some tension as both compete for market share and the minds of consumers.

One area that was addressed not once but twice was Nokia's 41MP camera versus HTC's 16MP on the Titan II announced last month. Elop started first by retelling the story of Chou announcing the phone back at CES and realizing they had to break out their 41MP camera sooner than later in order to steal back the focus on camera optics. Later, Chou told a similar story of how he asked Elop what he thought about the Titan II's camera and reportedly Elop was "silent" on the matter, clearly flustered. This worried Chou that Nokia were going to hit and hit back hard (indeed they did). What made that moment extremely entertaining though was when Chou insisted on telling his version of the CES story, Elop asked if he could snap Chou's picture (with the Pure View) while doing so--clearly a fun jest and the crowd reacted appropriately with roars of laughter. Point, Nokia.

Later, Chou was asked by the moderator what he thought when Nokia reported a $250 million payment from Microsoft, clearly part of the two's partnership. Chou was fairly diplomatic on the issue saying that he thought Nokia would be help lift everyone in regards to Windows Phone but obviously the payment must have slightly perturbed him, being a Microsoft partner for over 15 years.

Chou was also modest on the chances of Windows Phone success. He thinks there's nothing wrong with the OS and it's a great system but it seemed clear from his responses that he thought Android and iOS would clearly dominate for the foreseeable future. Though he did report that their Windows Phone customsers had extremely high satisfaction ratings for their phones with very few returns, something we've reported on before.

Interestingly, both Chou and Elop agreed that the 16MP versus 41MP competition is really misguided and focused too much on specs versus the customer experience, something both companies are concerned with (Elop more so as he "hopes it's not a spec war").

All in all, watching the two smartphone heavy weights discuss the pros and cons of Windows Phone was exciting both for the tension and humorous jousting between the two companies.

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One of Mobile World Congress's keynote speeches just wrapped up and this one featured three different speakers: Dennis Crowley, founder and CEO of Foursquare, CEO of HTC Peter Chou and CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop. The topic was simple: Mobile OS & Applications, specifically what challenges each CEO is facing and how the mobile OS can transform technology.

Each CEO gave their take on what they do and what they are doing for the future. Crowley is concerned with data aggregation on Foursquare and how to "give that back" to the customer in a useful manner. Chou was interested in the infinite possibilities of smartphones but more importantly how to smartly managed that e.g. HTC Sense. Finally Nokia's Elop focused on three areas:

  1. Ecosystems including big apps versus local apps, with the latter being Nokia's concern. This can be seen in things like App Highlights on their phones.
  2. Location-based services e.g. filling in the "Where? equation" on smartphones. We see this demonstrated with their Drive, Maps and Transport apps
  3. How to monetize this ecosystem for the smaller developers in emerging markets

Elop's discussion was frankly much more interesting as he was laying out, in no uncertain terms, what Nokia's plans were. They see growth in the untapped emerging markets, where 60% of cell phone users do not have a smartphone yet. He reiterated once again how he thought Nokia could be a "disruptive force" in the industry with Windows Phone (versus iOS or Android) and that Nokia had a great symmetry with Microsoft in regards to software/hardware design.

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