iOS

People really like the Lumia 920 but switching is always hard

In a new poll conducted by CouponCodes4u.com, 2,371 US smartphone owners between 18 and 35 were surveyed on the new Lumia 920 introduced by Nokia last week.

The survey found that most respondents were impressed by the new device with 61% of those interested intrigued by the PureMotion HD+ screen and 52% said the PureView camera system appealed to them.

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We first looked at live music service Pepper earlier this year at a previous WPUG event. The app and backend service impressed us with the variety of features available, as well as how unique the functionality is in a package we've yet to see elsewhere. Exclusively available for Windows Phone, we enjoyed having the Pepper team on-board pushing the platform further with continued support. We've now got word that an imminent update is on its way, as well as apps for both Windows 8 and the iPhone.

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Twitter has announced some sweeping changes to their all-important application programming interface or just API. This API is essential plumbing to allow application developers access to the “fire hose” of data from twitter. It has been no secret that Twitter wish to tighten their grip ever more over whom can access their system. With their latest set of guidelines, they show they mean business.

As Windows Phone users, we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to third party twitter apps, with the likes of Rowi, Carbon, glƏƏk!, Mehdoh and Birdsong (to name drop a few). The new API could mean real headaches for those trying to differentiate with their Twitter client...

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The speech recognition service, offering similar capabilities to Apples Siri is set to get a sweet little cash injection. The company has just walked away from talks to inject $5 million US into expanding its service to include more accents and languages.

The company is working closely with Nuance Communications to deliver mobile apps for Android and Apple devices and even bring the service to normal cell phones too. They aim to bring the service to tablets and computing headsets also.

Ask Ziggy also announced that they intend to release its SDK shortly. Sounds like good news for the company. It is clear that investors see the market value of these speech recognition systems. As Windows Phones users, we have had Ask Ziggy for some time and overall folks seem happy with the service.

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A recent paper presented at Black hat 2012 by Peter Hannay has demonstrated a vulnerability in how iOS and Android deal with certificates whilst operating with an Exchange Server. The good news in this report is that Peter was unable to trick Windows Phone 7.5 devices using the same methods.

Using a man in the middle attack combined with a generic fake certificate, they were able to gain some traction in sending a command to iOS and Android devices to commence a device wipe. When devices are connected via Active Sync they commit to accepting certain responsibilities, one of the most important and sensitive of which is the wipe command. They tested off two sets of Exchange 2010 servers. One running with a self-signed certificate, a very common configuration for small business and another using a certificate from a trusted certificate signing authority.

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Here at Windows Phone Central, we’re all big fans of strategy title ARMED! from Dallas-based indie developer Sickhead Games. Among the game’s many qualities are sharp 3D graphics, intuitive controls, online multiplayer, and of course, plenty of strategic depth. Not only that, but Sickhead has regularly updated the game since its release, tweaking and improving a variety of elements with each patch.

The latest update, version 1.6 is no less impressive than previous updates. The update just went live so look for it pushing out any time.  We've got the full list of changes to share with you, the most impressive of which is the new price: $2.99, down from $3.99. That and more ARMED! news after the break.

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In a new study just released tonight, Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 3,632 'Appcelerator Titanium' developers from May 11-18, 2012 on their plans for app development now and in the future. Though not a survey of consumer demand the data is but one piece of the bigger picture of how Windows Phone (and Android, iOS, BlackBerry and webOS) is fairing amongst developers. For that reason, it should be considered as a metric but not necessarily the only one to measure interest or future success.

The news is not very good for Windows Phone but there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the future iterations of the OS, specifically the ‘Apollo’ update coming later this year.  That's interesting as Windows Phone has been coasting on ‘hope’ for nearly two years now and developers have not yet completely abandoned it, seeing weakness in Android.

For a complete run down, head past the break…

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We last looked at PhoneGap, the Adobe-owned open source mobile development platform, when version 1.3 arrived which included support for Windows Phone. Adobe has now released 2.0 and further expands on the feature set provided to developers who wish to build apps that can easily be submitted to multiple platform app stores.

Using HTML5, CSS and Javascript, PhoneGap allows those who do not possess the knowledge of mobile platform native code to create and release apps for all the supported operating systems. So what's new in version two-point-oh? The team have implemented a new command line interface for building iOS apps, which removes issues surrounding Apple's Xcode tools, adds more support for enterprise app development, includes enhanced user guides and documentation, as well as security and stability improvements.

Cordova WebView is also present, which allows for the integration of PhoneGap as a larger native application. Listed with the new features is "Windows Phone support", which we're slightly confused at since it was added in version 1.3. We've reached out to the PhoneGap team for clarification just in case there are some incredibly useful features added. We'll update the article once we've received a reply.

Source: CMSWire

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Microsoft continues to flesh out their Xbox live app for those of us that have iPads. The latest update brings more of the once exclusive features of the Windows Phone Companion App to iOS users. Unlike Windows Phone, which has a combination of apps to take care of Xbox live business, the iPad rolls all the functions into one. Personally, I like it all integrated into one whole and have been a little confused as to why the Windows Phone has essentially stuck with the Xbox Hub plus the two addition apps called Xbox Companion app and Xbox LIVE Extras App.

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Microsoft has updated the Xbox Live Companion app for iOS and released a version for the Android system. While there was no movement on the Windows Phone version, the iOS update may be a good indicator on what might be in store.

The Xbox Live Companion update for iOS takes that app to version 1.5 and adds the following features for the iPhone or iPad.

  • Discover fresh content from the iPhone
  • Connect to and control content on your Xbox console from the iPhone
  • Authentication improvements for the iPad
  • Retina display support for the iPad

The Android version of the Xbox Live Companion is limited to:

  • View, manage, and message friends
  • View Xbox achievement progress
  • View and edit your LIVE profile
  • Edit your avatar
  • Stay connected to the Xbox Live community via Spotlight
  • Access recent activity and manage beacons

While it's nice to see Microsoft continuing to improve iOS and Android users connectivity with their Xbox console it would have been nice to have seen the Windows Phone app given a little attention. Then again, SmartGlass will eventually become available and may make the companion app obsolete.

Source: Major Nelson

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Yesterday, Apple Inc. finally revealed their latest iteration of iOS for iPhone and the iPad.  There were no real "wow" moments just the continued rehash of market numbers and a collection of little improvements to the world-wide hit operating system.

We're not trying to be too bitter here--look, Apple and iOS have a massive success on their hands so they're not messing with a good thing (think of all the grandparents with iPhones!). But today's unveiling of the new iOS is starting to show that Cupertino may be out of "big" ideas for mobile and are instead concentrating on refinements. That's not exactly a bad thing and we don't necessarily blame them, especially with their strong market share. But it sure does make for some boring discussion.

Our friends at iMore were there for the whole event, turtlenecks and all, documenting all the new additions to the sixth version of the OS.  Due this fall, here is their summary of the major changes:

  • Maps - Probably the biggest news was the addition of Apple's own Maps app which will be powered by TomTom. Maps will come stock with turn-by-turn navigation, traffic info, and a new feature called Flyover.
  • Siri additions and enhancements- Siri received quite a few updates under iOS 6 including iPad support, integration with many car manufacturers, and several new features. 
  • Passbook - Passbook is a brand new way to store and save airline apps, boarding passes, and more all in one place. Many different services and Passbook apps are already available such as express check at hotels, Target cards, movie tickets, coupons, and more.
  • Photo Stream sharing - Photo Stream sharing will allow you to create separate streams (similar to how you'd create albums currently). You can then share those separate streams with whoever you'd like. Have one with family for vacation pics and one with mom and dad for baby pics. They'll also be given the ability to comment and like photos native in iOS.
  • Mail enhancements - Multiple e-mail signatures, VIP Mailbox allows you to add all the important people in your life to a VIP list and their messages will automatically be filtered into a new VIP mailbox that appears under your default inbox.
  • Facebook integration - In iOS 5 we saw Apple integrate Twitter into iOS natively. This year the same will happen with Facebook. Post status, upload pictures, and more without needing a third party app.
  • FaceTime over the cellular network - FaceTime has only ever been available for us on a Wi-Fi network since it's release in iOS 4. iOS 6 is about to change all that and you'll soon be able to FaceTime wherever you are, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G.

Read more after the break for some exclusive Windows Phone 8 news...

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Microsoft held a fairly eventful press presentation at this year's E3, which saw the company unveil new services related to their best selling game console - the Xbox 360. More on these new services later, for now let's get through Xbox SmartGlass. As we previously covered, Xbox SmartGlass will connect the gaming console to other devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone as well as competitor platforms (Android and iOS). Think of the Xbox Companion app, but on steroids.

Apps developed for all supported platforms will enable users to control their Xbox 360 and interact with services on the big screen. Microsoft is attempting to transform the bog-standard home television into a Smart TV with the power and connectivity to pull down rich media content from the Internet. As mentioned above, SmartGlass will work with other Windows platforms, but will also be available for iPhone / iPad and Android devices. 

Example: should you happen to be watching a movie while on the go and would like to continue where you left off on the big screen, SmartGlass will enable you to resume the video on the Xbox 360. Gaming will also be taken to a new level with integrated through SmartGlass. A short demonstration was provided in the presentation with the upcoming title Halo 4. Halo Waypoint will come into play by offering lore information on in-game elements, as well as turning the mobile device into a companion device with match requests from friends being accepted on the handset, and then synchronised while in-game on the Xbox.

Internet Explorer was last to be announced with SmartGlass. The Xbox console will soon sport its own web browser, but instead of using the controller to navigate through the web, which could cause issues, Microsoft will use SmartGlass to allow users to choose Kinect or support mobile devices. Check out the video below for a quick run through of everything announced for SmartGlass.

Watch out for the release of SmartGlass sometime later this year. Be sure to check out our updates from the floor at E3 2012 where our Daniel Rubino and Paul Acevedo will continue to hunt down the latest news.

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Market research firm IDC has released Q1 2012 data that shows fairly large growth for both Android and iOS, while Symbian and BlackBerry continue to fall into gloomy depths. Android stole the show with a Year-on-Year change in terms of shipping volume of 145%, with iOS in tow at 88%. RIM and Symbian, on the other hand, were hitting -29.7% and -60.6% respectively. Some fairly steep recordings.

But what about Windows Phone? It's sat on a respectable 26.9% increase, which is the point to take away here. While the marketshare has dipped slightly from 2.8 to 2.2 (includes Windows Mobile), the shipping volumes for the platform have seen a boost. We can see clearly the effect Nokia is having on Windows Phone.

"Windows Phone has yet to make significant inroads in the worldwide smartphone market, but 2012 should be considered a ramp-up year for Nokia and Microsoft to boost volumes. Until Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones, IDC anticipates slow growth for the operating system."

This is exactly what Chris highlighted in his report on Gartner's Q1 2012 data. Without repeating ourselves, check out the chart below for more details on how the platforms have progressed between Q1 2011 and 2012.

It's looking positive for Windows Phone, which is the main thing to look at. Microsoft and Nokia are doing well with increasing the reach of the brand itself. We'll have to see in Q2 how the continued push from AT&T, recent launches of the Lumia 900 in and across Europe, as well as the upcoming release in Australia, affects marketshare and shipping numbers in future reports.

Source: IDC, via: BGR

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Microsoft is developing a cross-platform service that will enable users to migrate from competitor platforms (or Windows Phone) to Windows Phone, according to a patent filed back in 2010. The service will allow apps to be detected on the legacy handset, which will then be listed on the new Windows Phone for convenient downloading, providing users with peace of mind when it comes to installed apps.

According to the filed patent, the company is planning to provide functionality within the service that would analyse installed apps on the legacy handset (eg.: Android). The service would then search for identical or similar apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The user would be presented with popular third-party suggestions should official apps not be available.

If there's no third-party app present on the Marketplace, the service will notify the user in the future once a similar app is published. Is that more than enough? Not according to the company. Microsoft is reported to be wanting to take things further with actually creating a complete solution where app data would be stored and transferred across to new Windows Phones or from other platforms, preventing data loss. Of course, little detail is available and we're yet to see how this service could work with the likes of Android and iOS

Another question on mind is if apps will have to be repurchased for Windows Phone when migrating from another platform, or would the software giant subsidize the costs? Microsoft has clearly been serious about Windows Phone since the off, and this reaffirms the company's commitment to take part in the smartphone marathon. How would you like to see such a service implemented?

Source: Unwired View

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Sickhead Games’ ARMED! stands out as one of the most impressive indie games in the Windows Phone lineup – in fact, it even outdoes just about every Xbox Live title in graphics, UI, and multiplayer features. Even the title is extra exciting, with not only capital letters, but also an exclamation point! Why Microsoft hasn’t picked up ARMED! for Xbox Live status remains a mystery, but Sickhead continues to support their title, both with updates and plans to expand to other platforms as well.

Head past the break for the full scoop!

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Windows Phone App Review: iClone

The iClone app for your Windows Phone is an interesting novelty app. iClone pulls up a fake iPhone interface on your Windows Phone that doesn't look bad and has a little functionality to help sell things.

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Microsoft takes on Dropbox and Google Drive with the latest version of their SkyDrive service

Today Microsoft has announced new SkyDrive storage plans for their cloud service as well as new native sync apps for Windows PC and Apple OSX. Combined with official apps for Windows Phone and iOS that were recently updated, Microsoft looks to undercut the market leader Dropbox and block Google from cutting in on their territory.

Clearly the cloud-storage service SkyDrive will be a center piece between Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 going forward. Best of all, Microsoft has extended this offer to Mac users who can also benefit from the new SkyDrive functionality.

We reported on the news yesterday that the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone had been updated, but we can now rejoice with Windows, Mac and iPhone support now being available. Both PC and Mac preview clients work in similar ways. SkyDrive sits comfortably as a central folder in Windows Explorer and Mac Finder, much like Dropbox, and files (up to 2GB) can be transferred between computers (and supported devices).

With the revamp of the SkyDrive service and new clients being released, Microsoft has also lowered the freely available storage from 25GB to 7GB, noting in the MSDN blog post that 99.94% of SkyDrive users currently use 7GB or less. Even at 7GB for free, Microsoft has given a solid left-hook to rival Dropbox who offer a mere 2GB of free storage.

New SkyDrive clients and apps in action

Note, however, should you be an existing SkyDrive user, Microsoft is offering the opportunity to keep the 25GB (or upgrade in this case) for free so be sure to check out the offer on your SkyDrive account (login via the skydrive.live.com). An alert will be displayed announcing "SkyDrive's free storage is changing."

If 25GB (or 7GB if you're a new user or miss out on the free upgrade) isn't enough for your needs, Microsoft is offering three upgrade options for the SkyDrive service:

  • Additional 20GB - £6/yr ($10)
  • Addition 50GB - £16/yr ($25)
  • Additional 100GB - £32/yr ($50)

The above plans and native clients were all first reported by Brazilian website Gemind, back in February. It's interesting to note that Microsoft has unleashed the updates to their service now, just before Google are set to unveil Google Drive as a cloud-based storage solution for their ecosystem. The features present in SkyDrive however are more appealing, minus the Android support for owners of green robotic devices.

Source: MSDN

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Nearly 60% of those switching to Windows Phone due to the Nokia Lumia 900 or HTC Titan II were former iOS and Android owners. Apple brand-loyalty? We think not.

We ran a poll the other day asking users if they switched to Windows Phone due to the Lumia 900 or Titan II, what OS were they coming from. And although the poll is still technically open, with 3,462 votes tallied so far we can discern a distinct pattern forming from the results.

The majority of users, nearly 60%, are coming from a combo of former Android and iPhone owners with it neatly divided at a close 30% each. Blackberry users are evidently still holding on with just 10% and a nice healthy 14% of adopters were coming from non-smartphones.

While our pals at Crackberry spun it as hope for Blackberry 10 users, we imagine a lot of folks jumped that ship last quarter to either the iPhone or Android, leaving the diehards (or still contract-bound) behind. Personally, we think RIM is DOA and look forward to a Microsoft acquisition at a rock bottom price (insert maniacal laughter).

The Android/iPhone results are interesting only because we're seeing what looks to be equal amount of folks taking up Windows Phone, leaving in the dust the notion that Apple has stronger brand loyalty than any other company.

One could also interpret the results as the Lumia 900 piquing interest from all segments of the smartphone market, represented in a roughly proportional manner. That's good news for Windows Phone as an OS and better news for Nokia who seem more than capable of garnering media attention on a wide scale. That is something the likes of Samsung and HTC have not been able to do in part because of their divided interest between Android and Windows Phone.

With the Lumia 900 seemingly selling very well (and yes, it's still number #1 and #3 on Amazon Wireless) the question now is will it maintain that momentum over the coming weeks?

We think with the glossy-white 900 set for this Sunday, April 22nd it will certainly create even more interest and those rumors of a magenta version for Mother's Day could also do wonders for the brand. We'll revisit this issue next month.

Update: To clarify, we purposefully left off previous Windows Phone users. The reason is because we were interested in only those who switched their OS due to the allure of the Lumia 900 (or Titan II). While we're sure a chunk of you were Windows Phone/Windows Mobile users, we wanted to look at the ratio of those who converted.

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The Smartphone Beta Test has been running since the birth of the smartphone, well technically it hasn't but it's a pretty neat marketing campaign from Nokia for the U.S. We witnessed a website (www.smartphonebetatest.com) being created with a bunch of videos published to poke fun at some competitor handset issues.

Now the Smartphone Beta Test website has been updated with more interactive content, videos and information on the AT&T Lumia 900, which is launching across the U.S. Cue "Operation Rolling Thunder", Nokia's plan of a attack for the states, which will see the manufacturer driving forward advertising not only for the Lumia handsets, but for Windows Phone too.

Prepare yourselves for some effective Nokia marketing. For a taster, check out the beauty of social integration and live tiles in Windows Phone in the humorous commercial below. Nokia is clearly on the attack here at other smartphones as well as how they can negatively impact our lives by being unreliable - something the manufacturer looks to change with Windows Phone.

Source: Smartphone Beta Test; thanks Hiiiiiiiii for the heads up!

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Elan Feingold, co-founder of Plex, has shared his thoughts on the experience the company has had with development on the platform thus far. Plex recently released the official app for Windows Phone, which enables the user to stream movies, music and photos to their device(s) on the go.

Feingold is a longtime iPhone user who has never had any interest in Android, due to the mess of the system itself, fragmentation and how much work is involved into personalising the experience to suit the user's needs. He was introduced to Windows Phone ("Mango") by his brother, and explains his initial reaction:

"When Windows Phone 7 was released, I was intrigued by the design and typography [...] my initial impression (this was pre-Mango) was lukewarm, and I was obsessed with the iPhone at that point anyway, so I just went all fanboy on his ass and mostly ignored it."

Feingold moves onto talk about how he returned to Windows Phone in January and ordered himself a second-hand Samsung handset to aid with development. He was surprised by how impressed the operating system left him after initial use.

"Windows Phone felt original, well designed, and fun to use. The performance was great, really smooth in a way iOS is and Android isn’t even in ICS. The 'pivot' and 'panorama' UI concepts were fresh and a great way of making good use of a small screen in portrait mode. The typography was clean and brazen. The integration of Facebook and Twitter made them feel like first class citizens, not an afterthought. The live tiles on the home screen were a great way to make the phone feel alive."

The features of the OS were so appealing during and after use that it actually made Feingold almost dislike using his beloved iPhone. How was the development of the Plex app though, and does it stand up to competitor platforms? The icing on the cake is the below comment on how the development on Windows Phone compares to both iOS and Android:

"So how is the Windows Phone development environment? It’s scary good. C# is a great language, .NET is a solid framework, XAML is a really nice way to design user interfaces, and the edit-build-deploy cycle is fast. It still has a bit of growing up to do, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding: we were able to write the app from start to finish in two months, between two engineers working part time, which is almost an order of magnitude faster than it took for the iOS and Android app."

Be sure to read the full blog post over at Elan's blog on Plex's website (see source link), and of course the official Plex app which can be found on the Marketplace.

Source: Plex

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