Windows Phone News

We've heard this before, numerous times. But to reiterate (and to beat the dead horse some more), Skype is coming to Windows Phone. The service will arrive as an app "soon" (we're joining others that point at a possible Mobile World Congress 2012 release?), and full integration with Microsoft's mobile platform will follow with the Apollo update. Although we were previously promised a "late 2011" release, it seems things have been delayed slightly. 

Mobile.se threw some reader questions to Microsoft, one surrounding Skype integration. A translation of the question and answer:

"Reader: When will Skype for Windows Phone? You own course, Skype, so it
ought to be easy to answer. Will there be an app or an implementation of
operatvsystemet?

Microsoft: Hi, Skype is under development and it will be in the form of an
app to begin with. There is no launch date set yet."

Hold onto your seats people, we'll get some official support soon enough.

Source: Mobile.se, via: WINGadget.se, thanks Hussein for the tip!

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Google Analytics is now effectively detecting (and reporting) Windows Phone as a separate operating system to Windows. A few months back (August to be exact) we looked into how Google Analytics was ignoring Windows Phone as an individual OS, which was subsequently naming the mobile platform with "(not set)" when displaying reports to the end-user.

Whether the search giant was taking its time with the implementation to fix this issue, or just playing an irritating game of "we wont support it yet", we have no idea. But fast forward to just over a year since the platform was launched and we now have Google's analytics software picking up our beloved Metro platform (as can be seen in the shot above).

While this doesn't really affect consumers, it's a real pain for webmasters who are interested with reading into which mobile OS is most abound with website traffic. 

Via: WPSauce@ailon

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If you caught our hands-on with YouTube Pro, the new HD/HQ video app for watching YouTube on-the-go, you'll be as excited as we are to see it is now on the Marketplace. Fetching for free (with ads) or $0.99 (no ads), the app looks to rock those who want a solid MetroTube replacement.

YouTube Pro is made by the same company who released SuperTube. The latter should be getting an update within the next few weeks and it won't be a directly updatable to YouTube Pro. However, we're told that YouTube Pro will remain at $0.99 till March 31, 2012 at which point it will bounce to the higher $1.29, so you'll want to lock in that price now if you like the app.

Feature-wise, YouTube Pro is similar to SuperTube but it has a much nicer, more Metro-influenced UI. You can play videos in HQ and HD resolutions, download (and save) videos, access your account, like/dislike videos, upload new videos to your account, push notifications with Live Tiles and more. Really, it's the full package and when we tried it a few weeks ago, we were impressed with it. But now it's your turn to have at a go and see if this fits the bill for the "ultimate YouTube app."  (Although we do worry about the name as YouTube proper could force them to rename the app).

Pick up YouTube Pro (paid with trial) here for $0.99 or opt for the free, ad-supported version right here. Let us know your thoughts in comments. Watch our video walk-through and get the QR codes after the break...

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Good news for devs out there and a sign that Windows Phone is gaining traction. WPDevCon, a three day conference taking place in San Francisco on October 22-24, was just announced and is being sponsored by BZ Media LLC, which

"...publishes SD Times, the leading magazine for the software development industry. BZ Media also produces AnDevCon: The Android Development Conference; iPhone/iPad DevCon, an independent conference focused on Apple’s mobile platforms; and SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference."

The conference is the first of its kind, an event 100% focused on Windows Phone development that is independent of Microsoft. The event itself is open to all developers of all skill ranges and will have three areas of focus. From the press briefing:

  • WP Essentials: These technical classes and workshops are for all Windows Phone developers, and cover all programming topics.
  • WP Enterprise: These technical sessions cover topics specific to building and managing apps for employees, business customers and partners, such as back-end integration with corporate applications and the Cloud.
  • WP Marketing: These business-oriented sessions cover everything you need to know about the Windows Phone marketplace, including app marketing and distribution.

Currently, the conference organizers are looking for speakers and other sponsors. For more information, head to their website: WPDevCon. This news helps demonstrate that the platform is finally growing beyond just Microsoft and hopefully it will be well attended with good organization. Speaking of, we're pretty sure we'll be there to cover it, maybe with a Rafael Rivera in tow for his technical expertise.

Source: SD Times; Thanks, gibbyhome, for the tip!

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The Nokia Lumia 710 has only been available for a few days and we are seeing some really good Wal-mart deals on the newest T-Mobile Windows Phone. You can find it free from Wal-mart.com (with qualifying data plan and two year contract) and one of our readers in Hawaii spotted the Lumia 710 in stores for $18.88. Either offer is a really good deal on a very good Windows Phone.

Now if we can just get Wal-mart (and others) to get the sales displays right.  The local Wal-mart in Hawaii lists the Nokia Lumia 4G as running Windows Mobile 7.5 and that the phone syncs with MS Outlook. Luckily the company's online advertisement displays the correct information and even refers to Windows Phone 7.5 as Mango.

I guess you could call that progress...

Mahalo to Marcus for the tip and photo!

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The Lumia 710 and 800 have been infiltrating a number of countries, and now Portugal is set to receive Nokia's first family of Windows Phones. The carrier that they'll be coming to is TMN, but it's not stated when the handsets will be available. For now, you can register your interest (as is the case when carriers announce upcoming hardware). Good news nonetheless!

Source: TMN, via: PocketPT, thanks Luis for the heads up!

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Sharing is cool. We all love to share things, whether it be what we're currently up to on Twitter, or by publishing photos to Facebook from our Windows Phone, it walks hand-in-hand with being intrigued by what our friends are up to. Square, by Lawrence Gripper (the developer behind the BBC News Mobile app), Chris Sienkiewicz and Dave Crawford, is a new solution to contact and image sharing between platforms using QR codes. It's a fairly simple concept, but ingeniously executed.

Square will enable the user to grab an image from the Pictures Hub (providing choice of camera roll, SkyDrive or Facebook albums) and share it to another device with a generic QR code scanner. Not only that, but contacts on the Windows Phone can also be shared to another device with a scanner (and support for vCards). If you're one who detests carrying around business cards as much as I, Square also sports a contact card option for yourself (basically choosing "you" from your contact list to import your details), which can be pinned to the home screen for quick access and turns your contact information into a handy QR code (in vCard format).

Of course, the app wouldn't be complete without a scanner. Square comes kitted out with the tools to scan QR codes and import images and contacts. It all works flawlessly, and the UI (although there's not much depth) is simply gorgeous. When will we see Square on the Marketplace? In the next couple of weeks. To see the app in action, head on past the break for a quick demonstration.

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We've had our Spotlight forum for quite awhile now where developers can post their newly published apps and games for our community to enjoy, for others to post a review or make comments directly to devs. This is a great place for developers to get some attention and some feedback for their hard work. We did however make a mistake when making these forums: we underestimated their popularity.

Previously, we had them as sub forums under Marketplace Applications and Marketplace Games. We are proud to say we are correcting this mistake today.

We now have a Developers Spotlight Forums this will give these areas more viability. With threads started by only developers, this will give our devs an even better place to showcase their new applications and games. If you're wondering what this is all about, here are some examples added to these forums just this week.

Applications Spotlight:

Games Spotlight:

Remember, what is listed above is what has been added just this week. With 5 pages of applications and 4 pages of games there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

For developers: Register and post those Applications and Games. Remember, these forums are for you and we will keep all other thread topics out so your hard work will get the attention is deserves.

The forums are more fun when you are registered so sign up today.

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Since Nokia unveiled the Lumia 900 (Ace) at CES on Monday, people have been salivating and waiting eagerly to hear when it would be available to the masses.  Sadly, the only tidbit anyone got was that it would hit shelves in the next few months.  Thanks to Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott, who hosted an episode of TWiT together, we may now know that the exact date will be March 18.  The two techies discussed the latest issue of Nokia's developers news letter, in which a March release on AT&T was listed.  Although no source was given, Thurrott added that it would in fact be March 18.

The Lumia 900 was a hit at CES, and we were more than pleased with our first look at it.  Even if the March 18 release date turns out to be inaccurate, its still exciting to know that the Ace is coming fairly soon. 

Source: Windows Weekly (TWiT); Via: Engadget

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Good news for our Irish brothers, Vodafone IE is looking to bring the Lumia 800 to Ireland. Nokia's flagship Windows Phone has received positive attention from both the bloggersphere and owners across Europe, which will make the handset a welcomed addition to the Irish arsenal. No word yet on pricing or availability, but we would hazard a guess that it'll be competitive and be in line with what we've seen in the UK.

Source: Vodafone, thanks Liam for the tip!

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If you needed anymore proof that South Africa isn't just being tossed aside when it comes to the Nokia Lumia/future devices, then we have great news for you. We have just received word from an anonymous tipster that Nokia is holding an event in Midrand near the end of this month. Although the invite doesn't outright say that this is a launch party or unveiling event, it's probably quite safe to assume that it is.

And here is the invite:

Besides the obvious positives of Nokia launching their Windows Phone 7 devices in South Africa, there is another aspect that you may not have considered. Blackberry and Android may be all the rage over here at the moment but before that Nokia was a really big player in SA.

I remember a time when almost every person I knew either had a Nokia or was attempting to get one. What this means is that when they start selling their new phones people will not be buying Windows Phone, they will be buying a Nokia, because they trust the brand. So this skips the step of people avoiding WP7 because of their feelings on Windows Mobile, and allows them to experience the amazing everyday with no bias.

EDIT: This is a private event.

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We've heard Nokia talk about augmented reality being a big differentiator for them in terms of Windows Phone and technology and now we're getting our first glimpse of that endevour.

City Lens seems a lot like LGs Metro Scanner and ScanSearch whereby you hold it up and it shows you things around you. In fact, City Lens even does the "hold it flat to show a map" trick that LG uses too. Still, we bet with Nokia's mapping history and deeper interest in Windows Phone, City Lens will be a much more rewarding experience.

No word on release as it is still in beta, but hopefully we'll see it with the 900's release.

Source: The Nokia Blog

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We managed to sit down with HTC to go over their new flagship Windows Phone, the TITAN II landing soon on AT&T. The 4G LTE device sure caught a lot of us off-guard specifically due to the inclusion of a massive 16MP camera. The meeting was very productive as not only did we get to play with the phone more (always an exciting "geek moment") but we found out some other relevant information that we hope you folks will find interesting:

  • The TITAN II is not replacing the TITAN. The plan is to sell both phones in the same market with the TITAN II augmenting AT&T's offerings to customers with different price points and features. In other words, the TITAN II is the high-end, premium version for customers who want that feature set. The TITAN will be a lower-priced offering for those who are okay with HSPA+, etc. It's an interesting and we think smart move for both HTC and AT&T.
  • As we mentioned in the video test, the TITAN II features a secondary processor for the camera--we're a little fuzzy on the exact details but it explains why shooting at 16MP feels no different than shooting at 8MP, with zero lag
  • We passed on the info about the SRS stutter bug as well as the microphone/sound issue that quite a few of you have reported. That info should get to their engineers for further investigation.
  • No word on those docks for the Radar and Titan, in fact, it's probably best to forget those
  • On HTC using but not always announcing Gorilla Glass--in short, they want some wiggle room in case of during production they switch to an alternative scratch-resistant screen due to cost or supply issues. What you need to know is that basically all high-end HTC phones have Gorilla Glass or its equivalent on board.
  • The HTC TITAN II is an AT&T exclusive. No word on world-wide release though we can expect some announcements at Mobile World Congress (MWC) next month in Barcelona--as HTC considers that to be one of their big events. Perhaps an international version of the TITAN II will be announced or something similar.
  • The push for 4G LTE devices is driven a lot by AT&T wanting to get people off of their overloaded 3G network, so devices like the TITAN II and Lumia 900 are highly welcomed by the carrier
  • Like Nokia, HTC doesn't seem keen on 32GB memory devices. Everyone is pushing for the cloud.
  • The HTC TITAN is selling very well world-wide and they're very happy with its performance

And what about our second experience with the TITAN II? If HTC and AT&T are aiming for this to be a premium version of the TITAN we think they did a pretty good job as the new changes really give the device a more classy feel to it. The curved glass near the bottom is a really excellent engineering feat and the Super LCD on the TITAN II is even better than the TITAN I (better contrast, brighter). We're pretty excited about getting our hands on this as our daily driver--that LTE is quite the blast to use, especially when web browsing.

More pics after the break...

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Howdy folks, as we get ready to leave CES 2012 in Vegas, we still have a few more nuggets for you. In the above video, you'll see three samples from the 16MP TITAN II camera from HTC. Shot in 720P and testing two of the filters, we were pretty happy with the results, but we'll let you decide.

Of course, this is unfinished software/hardware so there may be slight changes and optimizations before the phone is released, so don't consider this the final test of the TITAN II. We really like HTC's custom filters of which there we many to choose from (we show just two in the video).

One curious thing we found out: the TITAN II has a dedicated processor for the camera, which is why shooting a 16MP pic feels just as fast as shooting an 8MP on the original TITAN. That's some pretty cool tech, if you ask us. Make sure to also check out our 16MP photo samples from the TITIAN II right here!

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AppFlow, a popular third-party Marketplace browser, has been updated to support all 36 international markets, which enables users to find apps in foreign Marketplaces regardless of the region you're located in. Lists within the app were specific to the U.S. market alone, so this is a welcomed update for us non-U.S. residents. The Marketplace that the app will use as preference can be altered in the "Info" tab, allowing on-the-fly switching.

As well as the above, lists in the app (that aren't themed - eg. "Best Mango Apps") will now be relevant for that particular region, and the ratings/reviews will reflect what is provided on that given Marketplace. App descriptions are also displayed in the region's language.

You can download AppFlow from the Marketplace for free. For more information surrounding the update, check out the press release found at the source linked below.

Source: Distinction

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The final tally is in on Ben Rudolph's "Smoked by a Windows Phone" challenge with the Windows Phone walking away with a record of 30-3-1. With a winning percentage of 88% Ben was able to demonstrate that Windows Phones are faster than most of the smartphones on the market.

The phones that showed up to face the challenge included the iPhone 4s, Galaxy Nexus, Droid Bionic, Droid Charge, Palm Pre Plus and various Blackberry devices. The three phones that beat the Windows Phone were an iPhone 4s, Galaxy Nexus and Droid Bionic.

The good news is that even the losers walked away a winner with many receiving free Windows Phones. All in all, a good showing that demonstrate that Windows Phones connects people to the stuff they care about faster and easier than other smartphones.

source: windowsteamblog

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CES 2012 has been pretty huge for Nokia, and Windows Phone as a whole. The event saw the announcement of the Lumia 900, which will be the flagship of the U.S. push against competitor platforms. Reviews and feedback from press and attendees has been generally positive as a whole.

Not only that, but to really show off how good the device is Nokia has earned awards from multiple sources for being the best product at the event. So what has the Windows Phone won? 

  • CNet's "Best of CES" smartphone.
  • Popular Mechanics editor's choice award for CES.
  • Popular Science "Product of the Future".
  • LAPTOP magazine's "Best of CES" finalists.

Not bad, eh? The reception has built up on top of the 800, which also wasn't shy of a positive review.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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Korean tech manufacturer LG is the latest company to reach an Android licensing deal with Microsoft.  The agreement is similar to those signed with HTC, Samsung and others, but unlike them, also includes Google's Chrome OS.  Microsoft has benefited greatly from licensing deals.  One estimate had them making three times more off HTC's Android sales alone than their own Windows Phone 7. 

Microsoft attorney, Horacio Gutierrez, praised the "mutually beneficial agreement," noting that MS now licenses Android to 70% of all Android phones sold in the U.S.:

“We are pleased to have built upon our longstanding relationship with LG to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Together with our 10 previous agreements with Android and Chrome OS device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, this agreement with LG means that more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS.”

LG's Ken Hong sounded equally upbeat, saying that the deal allowed both companies to get back to what they do best, putting out products for consumers:

"We're of course pleased we could come to amicable terms with Microsoft, whom LG has had a great working relationship with for years. This agreement allows both companies to move beyond the legal issues and get on with doing what both companies do best, which is developing products and delivering services that benefit consumers."

The Chrome part of the deal has yet to come into play, though speculation is that it will involve LG's upcoming 3D Google TV.  As for the remaining 30% of the U.S. Android market, it looks like Microsoft's sights could next be set on Motorola Mobility, who was acquired by Google last year.  How fascinating would it be if Google has to pay Microsoft for using one of its own products?

Source: Microsoft; Via: AndroidCentral

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Lumia 900 introductory video

Nokia has added an introductory video on the Nokia Lumia 900 over at their YouTube site. The ninety-plus second video touches on all aspects of the new Windows Phone heading to AT&T. From the polycarbonate uni-body to the 4G LTE network, the Lumia 900 is definitely a head turner.

You can find more on the Nokia Lumia 900 over at Nokia's website and check out all our coverage on the 900 through this link.

source: Youtube

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