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Nokia has released their Q2 financial report today, which paints a somewhat unexpected picture. According to figures present in the document, Nokia has managed to sell four million Lumia Windows Phones worldwide. This is up from their previous report of Q1 where Nokia CEO Stephen Elop stated the company "exceeded expectations" in the US.

We've been looking at the growth figures for the previous quarters and the situation looks strong for the Lumia line of Windows Phone with exponential growth taking place. Pushing out over a million devices in Q4 2011, followed by further increase in Q1 2012, we're seeing a positive trend with four million Lumias heading to consumers. Carriers in Canada have also previously revealed they are pleased with how Nokia Windows Phones have been received by customers. These numbers are positive, with the "Rolling Thunder" marketing push proving to be successful, not to mention the continuous rollout of both Smoked by Windows Phone and Dare to Live campaigns.

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October 26th, 2012. That’s the date folks and it’s a Friday, in case you were wondering.

Microsoft today (via Steven Sinofsky) just revealed at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting that Windows 8 for customers will be available for download and on new PCs too starting at the end of October. With a $40 upgrade fee in place, purchasing a license for the much hyped OS should be easy and painless. 

So where does that leave Windows Phone 8? We’re betting we’ll see a similar release pattern and time-frame for their next mobile OS. We have a feeling Microsoft is going for a big launch, dominating tech headlines for weeks to come. While it will be hard to coordinate with carriers, we’re hoping their strategy is aiming for a universal release.

For the last two years, Microsoft has released new Windows Phones in October/November so we’re hoping for a repeat this time around too.

At least that’s our expectation.

Source: Microsoft

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Rage against the train

The European Union has launched its own app for air and rail passengers stranded in the EU due to cancelations or delays to check their legal rights about refunds and rebates.

The app, simply titled Your Rights, is nothing extraordinary but what is neat is just how wide its coverage reaches. The app’s contents is available in 22 languages, uses local storage for data so no internet is needed and it’s available on Windows Phone, iOS, Android and Blackberry. It’s one of the first times we’ve seen such a massive simultaneous release and it’s nice to see Windows Phone right up there.

From the app description:

“The Your Passenger Rights application provides users with clear and concise information on their travel rights within the European Union. Presented in a question/answer format, it allows users to easily identify the problem which they are experiencing and be provided with a clear explanation of their rights and the options available to them.”

Currently, the app only covers air and rail but it will extend to bus/coach and marine travel in 2013.

Sure, the EU as a concept and execution catches a lot of flak at times but it’s actually nice to see some pro-consumer legislation turn to technology for everyday use.

Pick up Your Rights here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Via: Phys.org

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Today, Nokia has released their official Six Flags app exclusively for Lumia Windows Phones. The app was announced back at the beginning of May and it is now available. Six Flags is one of the largest US operators of amusement parks and is the go-to place for riding roller coasters, rides and general entertainment. The timing is perfect too as the July 4th week/weekend is the busiest time for such parks and Nokia has nailed it with this app.

The app features an interactive map of your local Six Flags, where you can tap on an icon to grab more info. What’s more, you can use the augmented-reality feature to find specific rides, bathrooms, restaurants, events or just shopping. The map has layers where you can filter specific rides (mild, moderate or maximum) etc. so you only see what you want. In addition, you have a satellite view and a general augmented-reality view to as well,

Park shows and their schedules are also listed including a calendar of events, which makes planning a snap and videos of various rides gives you a sneak peek of what to expect. Finally, you have Foursquare and Twitter feeds built in so you can checkin and or follow any local trends going on with the Six Flags hash-tag.

The app is fast, fluid and very well designed. We don’t go to Six Flags very often but if we had a season pass or we were heading to one, grabbing our Lumia Windows Phone would be a must.

Besides Nokia making a Six Flags app, the park is supposed to reciprocate by heavily advertising and promoting the AT&T Lumia 900 throughout their various locations, creating a nice synergy between the two companies.

Pick up the Six Flags app for your Lumia Windows Phone here in the Nokia Collection.

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With the announcement of Audible for Windows Phone being released last week, many of our UK readers were asking for the same availability which was absent from the UK Marketplace. Windows Phone Central reader Mark got in touch with the Audible team for information on a possible app for those who reside in the UK, and we have positive details to relay.

According to a representative from the company, the Audible.co.uk app is set to be available in the Marketplace within the next day, but we've now seen it available for download (via direct link) in the UK. Find an excerpt of the email response below:

"I am pleased to announce that we have just been informed that the UK version of the app on the Windows platform has launched today, and will be available in the marketplace as of tomorrow."

You can download Audible from the Marketplace for free using the direct link or QR Code.

Thanks, Mark, for the heads up!

 

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Say what you will about the official Facebook app for Windows Phone but they are trying hard to fix things and improve it. Rapidly too.

Version 2.6 just landed in the Marketplace and you can go get it now. Don't expect a slathering of new features like the last few updates but instead it addresses a couple of bug fixes that many of you have been sending into them. These include:

  1. An image posted to a group was appearing on your own wall rather than the group
  2. Users with custom privacy settings set as their default were having their updates created with "Only Me" permissions

Nothing thrilling but hey, at least they're listening and tweaking things with rather a quick turn around. You can grab the latest version of Facebook here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Source: Facebook; Thanks, jbarinas & Todd, for the tips

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The NY Times official app version 2.0 for Windows Phone

If you're a fan of the "Old Gray Lady" aka the New York Times (www.nytimes.com), you'll want to make sure to grab version 2.0 of the app which should be hitting the Marketplace soon. The official NY Times app for Windows Phone came out last July 1st and hasn't had an update until now.

The app has had a nice revamp with the latest version, bringing it up to date with some of the latest functionality in Windows Phone. We've been running it a couple of days now and really like the added performance, new scrolling and video feature which lets you watch special clips of certain news events and cultural pieces. Here's the full changelog of what's new:

  • Live Tile Integration - users can pin any of the sections and blogs as Live Tiles to quickly see the latest headlines at a glance
  • Pivot Navigation – users can see articles, videos and blogs in each section
  • Cloud Integration – users may save articles to the cloud for access from multiple devices
  • Updated and refreshed design
  • Improved performance and fast application switching

Of course the only downside is the "pay wall" for some articles--while you can get the latest headlines and videos for free the rest will require a NY Times membership. But even for free the app is worth taking a look at and a must-have if you already subscribe.

    

We'll have a more full-featured review coming up a bit later when the app hits the Marketplace.

Full press release after the break...

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Official CNN app now available for all Windows Phones

"This is CNN...on all Windows Phones"

Well look at that, it looks like Nokia's 90 day exclusive on the official CNN app has finally expired--certainly a rare sight to see. The CNN app, which was developed in conjunction with Nokia and announced back at CES 2012, embraces the Metro design with unique features like the iReporter function for reporting news on your own.

For many on Windows Phones, the stranglehold on "exclusive" apps by Nokia was a thorn in the side--well, at least for those without a Nokia Lumia. But now you can download the exact same app with push notifications and local news to your non-Nokia device, resulting in what we imagine to be a loud cheer.

The CNN app ranks up there with the USA Today app as far as elegance and functionality. It's great to see it displayed on other Windows Phones for all. 

Pick up the official CNN app for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Scott H., for the tip!

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The official Foursquare app still focuses on Check-ins

A few interesting tidbits about the official Foursquare app for Windows Phone that you may be interested in on this lazy Sunday. Even though we swear by 4th & Mayor, some of you like the unique design of the Foursquare app even if it's a tad slow by comparison.

Today the app has an update to version 2.11 which is certainly fairly minor but still important. The first one is that it now runs on devices with 256MB of RAM aka "Tango phones" like the Lumia 610. While less than 2% of the apps of the Marketplace are non-Tango optimized they tend to be some big titles (mostly Xbox LIVE games), so it's nice to get that nod. 

The second update is the more vague "bug fixes" which will hopefully address some issues some of you may have had recently.

Perhaps the bigger news (and non-surprising) is the official Foursquare app has not been update to the new "5.0" system like Android and iOS. Those apps were completely rebuilt and re-coded from the ground up with Check-ins losing their primary status for the service. That's right, most users evidently weren't even using Foursquare for check-ins but rather recommendations of nearby locations.

Check-ins in the new Foursquare have been sidelined as the service expands to be more Yelp-ish with new features like Explore and Lists. Photos are also more prominent now as users are more likely now to document their experiences. Of course the much superior 4th & Mayor app already has all of these features built in but with the more original focus on check-ins.

No word on if Foursquare will bother scrapping and re-doing the current Windows Phone app to reflect these new changes. Our bet is they'll wait till Windows Phone 8 comes out to release the overhaul.

Pick up the official Foursquare app here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Users can also grab the free 3rd party version, 4th & Mayor here instead. Thanks, Brian, for the heads up

    

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The official Twitter app has been updated to version 1.4, but we're not entirely sure what's changed or if anything has been added. From what we can gather, Live Tiles and notifications are still a no-no, there's no sight of the new Twitter logo, but we've received reports of backend adjustments as speed and reliability have been improved.

The versions have appeared to increase from 1.2.4331.15424 to 1.2.4525.19177, so your guess is as good as ours when it comes to what exactly if going on. Do let us know in the comments should you notice anything in the new version.

You can download the official Twitter app from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks to everyone for tipping us!

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We just got word from a reader that a Microsoft Store is officially "coming soon" to the Florida Mall in Orlando, FL. This news makes the unofficial list of opening Microsoft Stores, which we previously published, look more likely to become reality. We expect the store that's currently behind the colourful set of tiles to open some time later this year to join the one that's also going up in Boston.

According to the Mall map, and if we're reading it correctly in relation to the image that was sent in to us, the Microsoft Store is set to open slap bang next to an existing Apple Store.

Thanks, Michael, for sending in the photo!

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WorldMate (website) is a popular mobile travel organiser, which has witnessed success on the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia (S60) and Windows Mobile. The Windows Phone app will feature an itinerary organiser that will enable users to share WorldMate content with the community.

WorldMate for Windows Phone will also be able to connect to Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for convenient sharing, as well as the ability to check out who's nearby to trip destinations. It's a must-have calendar for any soul who travels often. We last covered the app when it was named runner-up at the Microsoft Acceleration Week.

WorldMate is set to be available next week. We'll be sure to alert you when it's live and have a quick video walkthrough published. 

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BBC releases official Top Gear app for Windows Phone

The BBC, responsible for a a number of entertainment sources, has released an official Top Gear app for Windows Phone. Should you be a fan of the motor series you'll want to check out this beauty. The app sports an intuitive interface, which is rich in Metro goodness. So what can one do when using the Top Gear app? 

From checking out the latest news and reviews, users can check out videos and galleries for a multimedia experience. Clips from the popular TV show can be viewed while reading up on the latest rants and opinions from the trio of driving action. As well as the usual integrated services, those who use the app are able to check out behind the scene exclusives from the team, not to mention previews of upcoming Top Gear related news / media.

When viewing videos, the multimedia can be downloaded and saved locally on the Windows Phone for journeys with little signal, or to save the pennies by preventing the data allowance being hit.

You can download the Top Gear app from the Marketplace for free. Thanks everyone who tipped us!

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Since Windows Phone users can't spend a lot of time customizing their OS (instead we live our lives), there's much focus on the lock-screen. We know we change ours every few days (we use Ffffound for inspiration).

Today, Microsoft has announced a partnership with London based graphic designer Levi Freeman and as a result, they've released eight "officially sanctioned" wallpapers to spiffy up your Windows Phone.

The eight images are nature focused so they may not appeal to everyone (we're more into abstract art here). Still, the designs are nice and they're meant to look perfect on your phone. What's more, the images all have a corresponding QR code for easy download (see, not even Microsoft uses Tag). Plus Microsoft notes that they hope more of these collaborations will happen with Levi, meaning we can probably expect different themes in the future--we like that idea. Levi also plans to release desktop versions too.

There's some interesting tidbits about the inspiration for each image and details about Freeman at his site, so hop on over to grab those images and learn a little bit about their origins.

Source: Windows Phone Blog, Levi Freeman's blog

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An official app for The Register has been released for Windows Phone this past week. The online publication is a reputable technology resource with millions of readers, and Windows Phone owners will be pleased to know that a seamless experience is now available while on the go.

Latest articles are pulled down with comments displayed for each article. Users can add their own opinion on the article, or share the article with integrated social networks. Favourite feeds can be configured in the settings, for a maximum of three subjects. This creates a more personalised experience with relevant stories being targeted for viewing with three panes dedicated to the chosen topics. All feeds can be viewed regardless of what's selected in the settings, thus it's not a limitation.

It's a basic and simple app, but the interface is great and fluid throughout. Unfortunately, there's no option to change font sizes and screen orientation is locked at portrait, but we expect future updates to be rolled out addressing said issues with new feature implementations.

You can download The Register from the Marketplace for free.

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Official SmugMug app now available for Windows Phone

Looks like that push for more official apps on Microsoft's mobile OS is still rolling forth which is good news for all of us. SmugMug (www.smugmug.com) is where those too good for Flickr flock and is one of the biggest and most interesting photography sites on the 'net. Possibly only rivaled by 500PX, it's a spot where the more "serious" shutterbugs amongst us post their work (meaning our array of cat photos are probably not welcomed. Booo.).

Having an official app for Windows Phone is a welcomed gesture as many of our users will surely take advantage of the new app. So what do you get?

"Explore and be inspired by stunning images shot by passionate photographers around the world. Browse the day's most popular images on SmugMug's global photo community, or view the most beautiful photos of all time.

And if you already have a website on SmugMug, there's more: Log in to see your galleries and share your photos with anyone, anytime. You can even take pictures on your phone, edit and upload them on the go."

In other words for a version 1.0, SmugMug covered all the basics including that valuable upload ability. Combine your SmugMug account with our Lumia 710 photo contest and you have yourself an interesting combo!

Pick up the official SmugMug app for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Big thanks to Sabita M., for the heads up!

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We're seeing a large upsurge recently with more official apps appearing in the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is starting to mirror last June when Microsoft unleashed a torrent of official apps for the fledgling mobile OS and it looks like a similar pattern is starting to build.

Now LinkedIn and Time Magazine each have official apps to their name and we decided to take both for a tour on our trusty Titan II.

LinkedIn, like Facebook, is native to the Windows Phone OS allowing you to post updates and track updates from your colleagues via the People Hub. The official app augments that with a gorgeous Metro inspired design and allows more in depth functionality, including management of messages, search for new potential contacts, sending out invites, managing groups. What's more it also has a moderately configurable Live Tile and push notifications. Overall, a solid offering.

Likewise, Time Magazine has an official app to its name as well. The app is also top quality with fast loading, nicely laid out text, smooth transitions, social sharing, video streaming of stories and photo galleries. That app has a Live Tile (latest image) and push notifications presumably for "breaking" stories.

You can pick up the LinkedIn app here in the Marketplace and the Time Mobile app here for free. See also this week's The Daily Beast official app.

Oh and we've heard a certain Wall Street Journal official app is right around the corner. You heard it here first.

   

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We're not huge fans of Cleverbot aka the witty artificial intelligence program out there that engages in a back and forth conversation (www.cleverbot.com), but we do recognize that a lot of people are fascinated by the technology.

Luckily you can now bring the fiendish AI bot with you on your Windows Phone. Yes, the official Cleverbot app for Windows Phone is now in the Marketplace and fetches for $0.99 with no trial.

That's a shame about no trial but the app is well done. It has some neat little sound effects, allows you to share your conversations to Facebook, Live, Twitter and even email. That's a requirement because sharing those conversations with the 'bot is one of the favorite pastimes for folks on the inets these days. From the app description:

"Talk to an app with Actual Intelligence! Say anything you like and it will reply. Make a friend! Roleplay, lyrics, jokes, memes - all sorts!

Cleverbot is Artificial Intelligence. It learns what people say, in context, and imitates.

Cleverbot says many things - claiming to be human, role-playing and much more. It may even say things you find inappropriate. Use with discretion and at your own risk.

Cleverbot is conversational entertainment - no more, no less. It is not made to be logical, give advice, or be useful. Parents must decide whether they wish young people to have access. Be sure of this, however: it is a bot. It is software. You will never talk to a human."

Like we said, the app is well done and if 'bots are your thing the $0.99 is worth it. Pick it up here in the Marketplace. Bonus points for you if you post some funny AI conversations in our comments. Thanks, Farhad A., for the tip!

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Good news for you diehard anime fans, your official Crunchyroll app (www.crunchyroll.com) has arrived for Windows Phone and word from the ratings is it's damn fine. In fact, one comment has it pegged as better than the iPhone and Android version.

From the app description, sounds like it has everything you could want:

"Download the app to watch the latest anime from Japan in English and legally! Now you can watch new episodes 1 hour after airing in Japan on your Windows Phone device!

Watch the latest anime shows like Naruto Shippuden, Bleach, Shugo Chara!, Blue Exorcist, Gintama, The World God Only Knows, Bodacious Space Pirates, Nisemonogatari, Eyeshield 21, Skip Beat!, Beelzebub, Gosick, and more."

Only downside? You have to have a premium account to even launch into it the app, making this no good unless like we said, you're a diehard fan. But if you are, it seems like you can't go wrong with this app. If this is something you want, head here to the Marketplace and pick 'er up. Thanks, Avid R., for the tip

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Busy day here at WPCentral and for Windows Phone. While we just reported the official Skype app going "gold" and hitting version 1.0 users can also go get the official SkyDrive app which is now at version 2.0. Coming out last December, the official SkyDrive app was a long over-due addition to Windows Phone and this update coincides nicely with the recent backend changes, including more friendly URLs.

There doesn't seem to be that many new features but there are a few that we've noticed. The UI has been re-worked a bit especially for dialogs and menu options. In addition, the ability to batch-select items for deletion or moving will come as a great tool for many

It also looks like you can manage permissions for folders and files directly now, allowing certain items to be shared and edited with others. Even more cool, you choose contacts from the People Hub to share those files, even granting editing access (it will even alert them that you've shared items). This should be a big feature for those who need to do online collaboration or need others to view something with minimal effort.

We'll peep around for more new stuff and if you find any, hit us up in comments. Grab the official SkyDrive app version 2.0 here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Sarang68, for the tip!

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