Windows Phone News

Nokia has recently sold 450 patents to Sisvel, an italian Intellectual property manager. Of those, 350 patents spanning across 33 families encapsulate key wireless technologies like GSM, UMTS/WCDMA, and LTE. Although Nokia nor Sisvel are going into details of the deal, it's expected that Nokia will retain the rights to use these patents, and likely collect on some of the ongoing royalties, but Sisvel will likely get a cut of royalties in exchange for actively protecting the patents in the courtroom. 

It might seem natural that Nokia hold onto these patents with an iron fist and squeeze every penny-worth of royalties out of them, but legal costs can add up; by incentivizing an outside source to do the trolling while possibly still getting some of the royalties themselves, Nokia will be able to focus their resources (both legal and monetary) on Windows Phone. It will be interesting to see how aggressive Sisvel is in protecting the patents, and if they're able to lock down any big licensing deals that Nokia wasn't able to. The last big case Nokia won was against Apple, so I have a hard time imagining that Nokia has left any stone unturned. 

Source: IntoMobile

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Nokia has been real busy creating videos with the official Lumia product introductions, the Little Amazing Show campaign, and now we have six videos from France. These "Amazing Days" follow the Nokia Lumia Amazing Calls video that we covered at the end of 2011. All six contain upbeat music to accompany prizes being obtained, which were awarded to the winners of a promotion ran by Nokia and Microsoft back in November. The six "Amazing Days" explained:

  • Amazing Day 1 : VIP pass for Joey Starr's Birthday (French rapper)
  • Amazing Day 2 : 5 minutes to take whatever you want for free in Fnac
  • (like U.S.' Best Buy)
  • Amazing Day 3 : VIP pass for a football match, Manchester United
  • Amazing Day 4 : a day surfing with Bixente Lizarazu (a well known French
  • football player)
  • Amazing Day 5 : private show of Metronomy
  • Amazing Day 6 : a free week in Paris, with a private driver and  luxury
  • cars.

Head on past the break to check out the remaining five videos and watch in awe....

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Since the T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710 launched last week (see our review), we've seen the commercials on TV numerous times (which is odd since we barely watch TV) and now if you go to T-Mo's website, you'll see the Lumia 710 as a "featured" phone. That basically means it gets top billing on the device listings page so perhaps new customers may be swayed towards the little device that could.

On top of that, it's currently sitting at an astounding 4.9 stars (out of 5) from 28-reviews which have heaped praise on the device and the OS. We have to agree too as we've been using it all weekend and we'll be posting our thoughts later this week. Until then, we can take solace in Nokia seeming to gain traction here in the US.  Hopefully we'll see some sales figures soon to back that up.

Source: T-Mobile; Thanks, DigTheNoise, for the tip!

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It's that time of the week again, folks! This week has seen a good number of hardware stories come to light from CES 2012 (check the link for our Windows Phone coverage) and beyond. To help you sieve through the CES 2012 content, we've put together highlights of both day one and day two. Should that not excite you enough, WPCentral set up an interview with Joe Belfiore and Kevin Shields (of Nokia).

Because the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 were both unveiled in the past week, we've now got two brand spanking new hardware forums to cover both handsets. We previously have two forums dedicated to shining the spotlight on developers for both games and apps, but these sections were hidden away. Now the Applications Spotlight and Games Spotlight forums are on the index page to receive maximum exposure. Just to round off a good forum-based introduction to this week's summary, we now have photo gallery support for members. No more hotlinking images!

Head on past the break for the full Windows Phone summary.

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Update (6:48PM MST): Social media notifications appear to be working for most folks now.

Windows Phone users are reporting that Twitter social media notifications – such as those found on your Me tile, under Notifications – have been spotty or (in most cases) stopped flowing to Windows Phone since Thursday (UTC-7). A cursory dissection of the communication between the phone and Windows Live APIs, shows that API requests for notification activity succeed but no actual results are returned. (i.e., the phone is working just fine.) Maybe it's time to look at grabbing a real Twitter app? (We've reviewed quite a few.)

Microsoft was asleep and therefore unavailable for immediate comment. We'll keep an eye on this and let you know when things are moving again.

Updated: as of 8pm EST, notifications seem to be working again.

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Robert Scoble is at it again, name dropping on his interactions with the tech glitterati at CES. Most of his Google+ discussion can be written off as his usual "Why Windows Phone will fail" riff (answer: not enough apps), but in the garrulous post he does bring up an interesting discussion he had with Tom Conrad, the chief technology officer at Pandora.

According to Scoble:

"I walked around the show with the CTO of Pandora. He told me he still isn't willing to support Windows Phone. Why not? We were walking around the new Ford car, which has Pandora support. Pandora was ALL OVER the CES show floor. You could see that a small company still has to decide where to put its development resources. Clearly, after walking the show floor, that's Android and iOS"

It's one thing for Pandora to hold off on Windows Phone in 2010 but to say in 2012 they still have no plans to support Windows Phone is a bit unbelievable. Even more so since we do have third party clients already doing their work (e.g. MetroRadio, Radio Controlled). Of course, we can relish in the thought that developers are making money off of Pandora and they're not seeing a dime from their continued disregard for Windows Phone. Still, that's cold comfort for the platform as a whole.

Source: Google+; Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

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We've been kind of enamored with Nokia's "Amazing Everyday" music since the day we first heard it. You know, the little pop-synth riff we've been exposed to on nearly all Lumia commercials. What we didn't know was those snippets come from a band called 'Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs' (awesome) and that the song was called "Garden".

Now, we're sure some of you did know this so please forgive our ignorance on the matter. But for those who were oblivious, clicking play on the above video will be an odd experience. Odd we say because to us it's like someone took Nokia's commercial music and made it into a pop-synth song, not the reverse. But perhaps we play with phones too much.

Either way, we like it and we think you'll like it too. Thanks, Arun3, for enlightening us!

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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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