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Nokia has announced that a sale of its Espoo, Finland HQ has gone through, which will see the manufacturer pocket €170 million ($222 million). The Finnish handset maker, which is focusing on Windows Phone development, will remain as tenant at the location, as we previously speculated when reports began to surface earlier this year.

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HD and HQ streaming down but now out

If you’re a user of any 3rd party YouTube apps that also sport high-definition (HD) or high-quality (HQ) streaming, you may have noticed that function has stopped working recently.

Long story short is YouTube changed their access method for those streams and basically borked those apps. The changed occurred on September 14th and since Supertube and MetroTube use unorthodox methods for access (read: not officially sanctioned by YouTube), it broke on the apps’ end too, resulting in only LQ playback abilities. Interestingly, this isn't the first (nor the last) time that this has happened, as nearly a year ago, the same situation occured.

We’ve heard from the Supertube developers that a fix has already been submitted to the Windows Phone Store, meaning service will be restored when the update goes live. Although we haven’t heard from the MetroTube team, we’re just going to assume the same for them as well. That means this isn’t a permanent change but rather just a temporary glitch, so dear YouTube streamers, standby for a few days and all will return when those apps update.

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'Overly Attached Girlfriend' approves of the latest PrimeTube update

Although it was nice seeing old-time favorite MetroTube land back on the Marketplace last week, we don’t want to lose sight of some other fantastic YouTube viewers. PrimeTube fits the bill nicely and it just received a solid update to version 2.1 (v2.0 hit last month).

According to the developer, version 2.1 brings “a new player, UI refreshes, speedier performance and bug fixes” which sounds to us like some nice improvements. Indeed, loading up the app and swiping through the pages is buttery smooth and the player itself is laid out quite nicely with options for High Definition (HD), High Quality (HQ) and Low Quality (LQ) which came with the version 2.0 overhauls.

You can’t directly download videos for offline-viewing with PrimeTube but you can pin to Start, favorite, leave comments and share links with others. In addition, you can upload video which is certainly a nice option for those of you who want to share your experiences with others (hopefully this is native in Windows Phone 8).

Overall, PrimeTube is one of our favorite YouTube apps for Windows Phone. It’s fast, smooth and has a very clean, Metro UI. Best part? It’s free with no ads which means at the very least you should download to give it a shot.

Pick up PrimeTube v2.1 here in the Windows Phone Marketplace for the low, low price of nothing.

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Looks like those cats at YouTube are doing some background changes to their player. Although the "player" aka browser app for Windows Phone is still at a paltry v1.0, the actual streaming handled via HTML5 seems to be now more robust.

Take a gander at our screenshot above and you can now see the "HQ" option now shows up. As a result, the quality has dramatically improved to the point that we could actually, you know, use it. Sure, it's no YouTube Pro but for the occasional use, we're happier with this level of playback than the previous version. Anyone else noticing the changes?

Thanks, parthp90, for the tip

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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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If you're a big YouTube user than either Lazy Worm (review coming up) or SuperTube (see video review) are your best choices. SuperTube just hit v1.5 today and brings a bunch of new features (as well as updates from previous versions). The app has the ability to stream and/or download any YouTube video for later viewing and allows 720P HQ playback, which as you can see from the screenshots above, is really high resolution. Surprisingly, there is no stutter during playback due to the new optimized video player.

Sure, there's a few spelling errors e.g. "buffing" instead of "buffering" and v1.5 actually reads v1.4 in the About Page, but in terms of style, function and ability, the app is up there with the top (it currently has 4.5 stars in the Marketplace). The app fetches for $1.29 (trial is available) and there is a free, ad version as well.

We have the entire changelog after the break.

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Although we've seen quite a few OEM apps ripped from their exclusive hardware (see Samsung, LG) there was one HTC app that proved extremely difficult: YouTube HD.

The app had unique tie ins to the hardware and some real custom programming that made ripping a functional app impossible. However, it has finally been done by Tom Hounsell, who's been very big on the XDA seen and led the charge on making these apps available for all (who have a developer unlocked device).

So what changed? HTC evidently "...did the kind thing and removed all the breaking code from the old version" as Hounsell informs us in a Tweet. So does HTC want us to rip these? We doubt it, instead it was probably done to just make things easier. Regardless, we loaded it up on our LG Quantum and had no issues running it, making it a great addition, much to HTC's probable disapproval.

Source: @tomhounsell

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LG HQ brings some low-end messaging

OK, it's been a couple of hours, so it's time for another AT&T Windows Mobile leak from Engadget. Now we've got a lower-end messenger, the LG HQ, which we got a look at back at Mobile World Congress.

There's the usual tri-band 3G and quad-band EDGE, Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard with a 2.4-inch 320x240 screen. The battery's a mere 1,100 mAh powering a Qualcomm 7225 processor. It's got a 2.0MP camera, sports Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, AGPS and has a MicroSD card. No WiFi on this puppy. July 6 is noted as a target availability, but we'll see how that holds up.

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It's still kind of a mystery as to what future phones will launch with Windows Mobile 6.5, and which current ones will be upgraded. We already know that the HTC Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2 should get it, and we're pretty sure the Toshiba TG01 will.

And now a blog from the Microsoft MVP community is adding to that list. Nuno Luz, aka The Windows Phone Guy, says the LG HQ and Eigen will be upgraded, as will four unnamed Acer phones.

Missing from Nuno's list is the Samsung Jack, which also will get an upgrade, according to last week's announcement press release. Speaking of the Jack, it was supposed to be available today but as of this writing isn't on AT&T's (main) Web site, and the two stores I called in my town were negative for Jack. We'll track that down. (Update: It's on the business site, we're told.)

Do note that we haven't had an official announcement about the release of Windows Mobile 6.5, but the Dev Team noted the other day that it's done and ready to go.

Thanks to fellow WMExpert Tim for the heads up!

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LG HQ is Pearl-riffic

Now, we're not ones to complain about any Windows Mobile Standard device that comes out these days -- they're getting so few and far between that we don't want to further scare carriers away from asking for them.  So instead of kvetching about how the LG HQ looks and smells like a HP Voice Messenger, we'll note how the LG HQ also looks to put the BlackBerry Pearl in its place.  If LG puts some marketing weight behind it, it might actually manage to draw some of those Pearl users away, because the specs are nothing to sniff at:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
  • 3G, Quad Band Edge
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • 2MP camera
  • miniSD HD
  • 256 ROM/128 RAM
  • 240x320 QVGA screen

By the way, if you were wondering, our dream of seeing a Windows Mobile standard device with a resolution greater than 240x320 is on its last legs.  

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