Windows Phone News

Dark Forces Team (DFT) are quite busy these days seemingly playing with every unreleased, in development build of Windows Phone that's out there.

It was just a few days ago that we heard they have Windows Phone build 8750 in their hands and now they have 8757 too. Of course we're lacking details just what (if any) changes there are on board but this branch is presumingly steaming towards the final "Tango" release which is expected to drop in a few weeks. What makes it neat too is that they squeezed it on to a Samsung Focus instead of your regular HTC phones--that's thanks to their other tool out there.

No word if DFT will pack this into one of their custom ROMs but we imagine if they find enough goodies, they'll put it out there.

Source: DFT;Thanks mwang!

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We reported on Chinese device maker Huawei way back in December 2010 as a possible OEM for Windows Phone and the untapped market in China. Fast forward to early 2012 and Microsoft is reportedly "weeks" from a launch there, this time with Nokia leading the way. Now we're getting word via Digitimes that Huawei has finally committed to Windows Phone and will be bringing devices to China during the 1st half of 2012.

What's really interesting is the fact that Microsoft was reportedly trying to secure a patent deal with Huawei for their Android tablets back in November. Rumors have circulated that Microsoft in these negotiations tries to get Windows Phone leverage as an outcome and we think we're now seeing the fruits of their labor.

Source: DigitimesImage credit via Shutterstock

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Microsoft's Cafe Mango is making its rounds around the Dallas/ Fort Worth area this week and I was able to meet up with it. I had just started eating my lunch when I saw the Tweet from @MangoToGo. They were set up and serving lunch about a mile from the project I am working on so I woofed down my sandwich and off I went. When I got to the AT&T store (2710 N Beltline Rd in Irving) they were all packed up and ready to leave. I went up to the truck and started telling my spiel. They agreed to meet me across the street in the Irving Mall parking lot to swap some Windows Phone stories and to give me a chance to get some pictures. They even offered to serve me some lunch. What a great group of people!

They were even nice enough to take a picture of me standing next to the truck (no comments about the bad hair day it was windy). We chatted for a bit and then when we all had to go they were nice enough to give me a couple of gifts.

 

I wonder if Windows Phone Water taste better than regular water? I bet it does. If you get a chance to catch up with Microsoft's Cafe Mango truck you wont be disappointed. It's a great place to meet some real Windows Phone lovers like us.

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 and tell'em WPCentral sent you!

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Woo, it only took a couple of weeks to get our Mugen 1950mAh battery for the HTC Titan, but it's finally here.

The battery has about 350mAh of more juice than the standard 1600mAh battery that the Titan comes with, giving it a claimed 22% more power on the go. Will it live up to the hype? We'll put it through its paces over the next week or so to get some good cycles out of it and compare it to our standard battery (we'll use WP Bench as well as the Battery reporting feature of Windows Phone).

So far though we haven't had any issues and all is working well. The battery is a tiny bit heavier and clearly slightly larger than the standard. Oh and Mugen was great when our inept local USPS office decided to send it back to China (hence the delay), so kudos on easy customers support.

For those looking for even more power, there's the redonkulous 3600mAh battery now available too. Clearly that one will have a "hump" on it though.

Update: It appears is you use the discount code "YOUHTC" you'll get a nice 7% discount on the price of the battery.  Not sure how long the discount will last but the original discount code "FACEBOOK" has expired.  Thanks MadSci2 for the tip!

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In a press release "teaser" from ZTE, the company has announced that they will be...err...announcing eight new phones at Mobile World Congress next week. While no specifics were given, of course, we know that a few of those eight devices will be Windows Phones while the rest will be Android.

More specifically the company will be touting multi-core, LTE and 4G radios on said devices though multi-core is reserved for Android (Windows Phone won't get support till Windows Phone 8).

Clearly ZTE is on track to deliver what they promised in January including an aggressive push into the US market as well as Europe. The company appears to be trying to follow in the footsteps of HTC by breaking past their East Asia enclaves and go far and wide in the market.  This is something we hope their successful at as we were generally impressed with their first Windows Phone, the Tania, back at CES 2012.

Read the full presser after the break...

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With all the litigation going on involving the smartphone industry, something good might have come from one Courtroom. The California Attorney General has struck a deal with Microsoft, Apple, Google, HP, RIM and Amazon that will have new privacy policies put in place.

In a nutshell the agreement will:

  • Require any software that uses personal information to provide a privacy policy that can be viewed in the store before any app is downloaded.
  • There will also be a requirement to provide links to the relevant documents in an obvious and consistent location.
  • Each app store will provide a simple way for users to report developers that violate the rules.
  • Each platform is committed to educating developers about their obligations to respect consumer privacy and to disclose what private information they collect, how it is used and how it is shared.

As far as enforcement is concerned, violators can be prosecuted under California's Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws. Not sure how far of a reach such enforcement will have but it's a start.

Source: California Attorney General Via: Engadget

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Earlier today we got word that we could invite ten readers to Microsoft's Windows Phone Party that the company is holding at the 2012 Mobile World Congress. Readers who were interested in attending (and could find their way to Barcelona) only had to comment on the post to have a shot at winning one of the tickets to the party.

While we would have liked to have given everyone a ticket, we could only choose ten. Here are the winners, picked at random.

  • xdomingo
  • Pablo Alarcon
  • Existentialism
  • Gmotagi
  • briadupuis
  • Reinout_
  • preriz
  • juanyfante
  • NewWindowsPhoner
  • r womack

We are in the process of sending the winners an email (need to get the requested information back to us as soon as possible) and we will get all the details on the where/when for the party and were to claim your ticket.

Congrats to everyone and enjoy the party. If you see Joe Belfiore, say hey for me!

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The official Facebook app has been updated to version 2.4, following reports that events were no longer accessible with the main menu entry being removed in 2.3. To be able read up on upcoming events requires the user to hit the "..." menu and filter out the news feed. Just a heads up for those who miss this feature being easily accessible.

Head on over to the Marketplace to download Facebook.

Thanks to those who sent tips in!

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Reuters has recently confirmed both the Lumia 610, which is a low-budget Windows Phone set to be unveiled next week at Mobile World Congress 2012, and a version of the Lumia 900 that is available beyond U.S. shores. This confirms the earlier rumour from PocketNow stating both handsets would be announced at MWC.

We'll of course be on the floor at the upcoming mobile event for the latest so be sure to keep an eye on our website or app for Nokia and Windows Phone coverage.

Source: Reuters

 

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Wanna go to a Windows Phone Party?

By chance will you be in Barcelona on the 27th of February? If so, do you want to go to a Windows Phone party at the 2012 Mobile World Congress?

We've snagged ten invites to the Windows Phone Party (big thanks to Microsoft) and are offering our readers an opportunity to mingle with the Windows Phone big wigs at Microsoft. You'll also be able to rub elbows with our own Dan Rubino!

Sound interesting? If so, leave a comment below by 8:00pm CST today (the 22nd) and we'll pick ten lucky winners. You'll need to be a registered WPCentral reader (so we can get your email address).

Keep in mind that this is for the tickets only. You'll have to find your way to Barcelona on your own.

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Nokia had set up shop in the Metro station at the Barcelona University, but the manufacturer decided to take its promotion campaign into the campus grounds of the Madrid University. Bringing in a DJ and pumping out a loud beat or two, the campus laid host to Nokia's bash over the weekend.

There were a variety of creative activities for students to get involved in, including: dancing, sewing, and more. The day turned night and evening enjoyment took over with an array of waving glow sticks. Overall, it was an opportunity not only for Nokia, but for students to engage with (and express) their creativity.

Source: YouTube (Nokia Italy), via: Unleash the Phones; thanks, Clinton, for the heads up!

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If you've been following the saga of Sonic's Jewels 7 (SJ7), you'll remember that the popular Sega Master System and Game Gear emulator was due for a nice sound update. That update actually did hit the Marketplace but only for a few hours before it was pulled due to a copyright claim by Sega.

Our own Rafael Rivera worked with the developer to sort through the claim, which revolved around the use of Sonic the Hedgehog and the dev was quoted as saying it will return. The condition of returning though would be to shed all of Sega's copyrights--images and names--in order for it to presumably pass the Marketplace certification. We spoke of this on the last podcast where the name "Blue Tomato" was tossed out as the new name.

Now we got word that Blue Tomato is in the certification process in the Marketplace and the developer has posted some screenshots, showing off the new artwork. The most pertinent question though many of you have is this: Will I have to re-buy the emulator? The answer appears to be "no" as this will by just another update to the existing Marketplace spot for the app. Certainly that should make some of you relieved.

Moreover, that sound update will be included as well as "better game loop" and Zip support, which should make things a lot easier for users. We'll keep you posted if/when the app passes and is re-available for download again.

Source: Facebook

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Time for some more Nokia videos that keep pushing the Lumia 800 world wide. It truly is amazing the reach Nokia has with market penetration. This week we have some new videos promoting "Little Amazings in Cape Town" South Africa and a new ad for the Australian market.

The Cape Town ad is one of those happy-go-lucky ones showing people doing some cute and fun things, fitting in with that "Amazing Everyday" campaign. Part of it shows the Nokia setup in a mall and passerbys having a good time. Adorable.

The next video is pretty generic but still nice to see, especially since it really shows off the Windows Phone OS features to the public, something which we think we can all agree is one of the strongest selling points. All we know is that we can't wait to see what Nokia brings to the US in a few weeks, we're ready to be wowed.

via: Unleash the Phones and @longzheng

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Windows 7 users (i.e. most people with a computer) who also play Windows Phone games can enjoy an abundance of desktop themes based on WP7 games. Last week we showed you the Chickens Can’t Fly theme, which is certainly good for a few laughs. Now a Bullet Asylum theme joins the fray.

Like Chickens Can’t Fly before it, the Bullet Asylum theme includes includes wallpapers, sounds, and colors based on UberGeekGames’ Must Have title. To be honest, the backgrounds don’t remind me of the game all that much. Do you see any trippy explosions in the pics above? I didn’t think so. But they do capture a nice sci-fi vibe, at any rate.

You can find the Bullet Asylum Windows 7 theme pack here at the Windows download page. As for Bullet Asylum the game, it costs $2.99 from the Marketplace.

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Ben Rudolph, famous for his Smoked by Windows Phone promotions is at it again.  He's giving away a Nokia Lumia 710 today. Who know's based on the photo he may giving away more than one once the dust settles.

To enter just tweet @BenThePCGuy with the hash tag #windowsphone why you want a Windows Phone. Ben will pick the best story to win.

The catch, the contest ends today at 5:00pm PST. Sorry for the short notice but Ben is building a reputation for spontaneity.

source: @BenThePCGuy; Thanks, damthman, for the tip!

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We've seen the Nokia Lumia 610 pass through Indonesia certification and now Nokia Windows Phone has appeared on the radar. The Nokia Lumia 719 recently passed certification through the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.

Details on the Lumia 719? The product detail lists the Windows Phone heading to Asia, North America and South America. The Lumia 719 is described as,

The Nokia 719 is a versatile, well-designed smartphone offering users easy and seamless to make the most of every moment, every day.

Bluetooth SIG shows the 719 having a 5 MP auto-focus camera with HD video recording to capture and a 3.7” Clear Black display.  We can only guess that the remainder of the specs are similar to the Lumia 710.

Where the 719 is destined is anyone's guess at this point. Could it be an AT&T version of the 710? An unlocked, budget oriented version of the 710? Hopefully more will come to light on the 719 next week at the 2012 Mobile World Congress. We'll be there and will try to shed some light on things.

Source: Bluetooth SIG via: Liveside

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In a happy yet somewhat odd metric of success, Windows Phone sales are on the verge of passing those of Symbian, at least in the UK. The data comes by way of Kantar Worldpanel Comtech who collected data from 15,000 users including which device they are using and if they bought a new one.

The story of who's at top is a familiar one with Android with 36.9 percent and the iPhone at 28.5 percent for installed-base stats. But the site Electric Pig points out, the monthly sales figures are a little more revealing with Symbian crashing from 15% a year ago to 2.8% in January 2012--not at all surprising with Nokia all but abandoning the platform. But Microsoft's Windows Phone has bounced from 0.4 percent to 2.2 percent year-on-year with a current adoption rate which will bypass Symbian's figures in the next month.

Of course passing a nearly dead OS is perhaps not the best thing to celebrate and clearly Windows Phone is miles behind iOS and Android in terms of market share. But trends are important and it seems clear now that Nokia is having a big impact on Windows Phone sales in the UK (Comtech's scores don't break down by OEM, just OS but we think it's a safe assumption).

It will be even more interesting to see Kantar Worldpanel Comtech's numbers in the coming  months to see if the +0.15% per month increase for Windows Phone has increased with Nokia's recent marketing blitz there--those January numbers were just the beginning of that push for the UK.

Read more at Electric Pig; Market photo via Shutterstock

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Although we've heard this before from companies and things can change rapidly, at least according to one community manager at Grooveshark, that company won't be making a dedicated Windows Phone app despite already having ones for Android, iPhone (jailbroken), Blackberry and even webOS. In an email back and forth between a customer and Jessica, a community manager at the company the info was revealed:

Anonymous : "I was wondering if, in the near future, you would develop an application for users of Windows Phone 7. You are on all other platforms except ours."

Grooveshark response (Jessica - Community Manager) : "Hey E *****, Thanks for Taking the time to write us. Unfortunately, Grooveshark is not planning on Developing for Windows Phone 7. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and confusion. Please let us know if You have Any further Top questions. "

Of course, reps can be wrong for companies (although Grooveshark is very small, so less likely) and they could change their minds at any point. Still, we're none to happy with that response. Even though we have a working HTML5 version of their site now, having a dedicated app would certainly be more preferential. Hopefully they'll change their minds in the future.

via: MonWindowsPhone

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We've mentioned Bazaar before--it's the first serious attempt at a homebrew Marketplace for Windows Phone, a place where developers can centralize and easily distribute their work for end users, allowing people to keep up on updates and learn about new apps. That's important as browsing our forums, XDA or just watching our front page, while helpful, can cause you to miss things.

Previously though, Bazaar was restricted to custom ROMs as an addon app for Windows Phone. While extremely useful and impressive, this limited its influence. Today though that all changes with the release of the Bazaar Desktop client.

If you have a developer or Chevron unlocked phone, you'll definitely want this. The app is quite impressive allowing you to browse, as far as we can tell, all the homebrew apps that are out there. You have concise app descriptions including if it will work on your device (lots are restricted to Gen 1 devices, for instance) and screenshots to see what the app looks like.

Perhaps more importantly though is the ability to download and install directly to your phone, making the whole process extremely easy. The app simply piggybacks off of Zune Desktop and if you have your device paired with that app, it will "see" this one. That latter part is very useful as it even shows you already installed homebrew/sideloaded apps, making management a breeze (most of us are still limited to just 10 homebrew/sideloaded apps). 

Other worthy mentions include Featured, Browse, and Favorites making it a snap to find an app (although even we admit that the homebrew scene is a bit anemic).

Bazaar for Windows Desktop is free, well designed and just works. For that we're giving it a big recommendation and a thumbs up to the hard work of the dev team who are certainly worthy of a donation. Get more information and screenshots at their distribution page: http://118.139.161.234/bazaar/BazaarForPC.aspx

Source: Bazaar for PC; via Plaffo

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From the Forums: The Off Topic area

That's right people we have an Off Topic Forums and you should check it out. This is the area of our site where we kick back, share and relax. In our Off Topic forums we have mini-adventures like in this thread: Ban the post above you! Game! If you want to take a shot at me, come get some, just remember it's all for fun. We also take time to share our personal lives, like this example from forums member Se1fcr3ation who is bored at work this week and needs help staying awake (we are helping him by posting up some good YouTube music videos). Forums member baseballbert is keeping us up to date on his daughter's life. He is a proud poppa and wants us to know "My daughter had her first real meal!!!"--now that some great news to share. It's all about community and friendship in the off topic area of our forums--it's where we share our lives and adventures.

We also share more serious non-Windows Phone topics in this section. Did you know that the Windows Logo will be Redesigned for Windows 8? Now that's an interesting non-WP7 discussion. Forums member muvolt Shared this thread with us: The truth about Greece... catching up on some current topics in the world.. It's interesting for us to read what our forums members have on there mind, so post a thread and let us know. Forums Super Moderator TheWeeBear posted this thread: Ketchup Graffiti Now that's is amazing and everyone should go check it out. 

The Off Topic Forums at WPCentral is for you, our Members, to post what ever you want, all non-Windows Phone topics are welcome, so come tell us what's on your mind.

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

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