release

Phones 4u is expected to be stocking the Samsung ATIV S, according to its 'coming soon' arrivals page. The Windows Phone was recently unveiled at IFA 2012 in Berlin, where Samsung announced a number of Microsoft products alongside its Android arsenal of devices. Featuring a dual-core CPU, 16GB or 32GB storage, 1GB RAM, 8MP shooter and a 4.8" HD display, the ATIV S is a beastly Windows Phone.

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The Lumia 610 low-end Nokia Windows Phone

As we closely approach Nokia's rave party, which is to be held this coming Wednesday in New York, reports of potential Nokia Windows Phones are surely to be coming in hot for the next few days. The Verge has learned from a source familiar with Nokia's Windows Phone plans that the manufacturer plans to release a Lumia 610 successor, powered by Windows Phone 7.8, codenamed "Glory".

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Let's file this under "rumors" for the time being. We know Microsoft doesn't have a great track record of keeping secrets, and China has been one major source of leaks. Combine the two factors, here comes another interesting leak.

The chaps at WPDang, the Chinese Windows Phone site who has been reasonably accurate on Microsoft leaks, state that the Redmond gang will be releasing the final version of Kinect for Windows SDK around September 15. Interesting timing, right after the Windows Phone 8 launch, and before the holy coming of Windows 8. What's most amusing is that according to WPDang's sources, Windows Phone division is involved in the development of Kinect for Windows SDK too...

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Microsoft will be unveiling its Windows RT Surface tablets this coming October with a price tag of $199, according to an Engadget source. Microsoft first unveiled the Surface family of Windows tablets earlier this year, and pricing rumours have been flying all around the room. The tipster reportedly revealed details from a session at Microsoft's recent TechReady15 conference and notes that the Surface Windows RT tablet will launch on October 26th.

Should Engadget's source be correct, this will definitely put the Surface on the map as an affordable tablet experience compared to competing Android and Apple offerings. With the low-end Windows RT version sporting 32GB storage, Office 2013, a variety of connectivity ports, and weighing in at just 676g, $199 would be an excellent launch price. For comparison sake, the Apple iPad 2 starts from $399 for the 16GB WiFi model (or $499 should you desire the new Retina iPad). Too good to be true?

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Although the Windows Phone 8 software development kit (SDK) was leaked a few weeks ago, allowing us to go through it like drug-starved loonies, the big question on everyone's mind is When will Microsoft actually release the package to developers?

As one can imagine, SDKs do take quite a lot of work to put together. There are APIs to lockdown, questions and answers to be formulated and it all needs to be written up so that developers will have an easy ‘cookbook’ for making apps. In that regard, we can see why it would take the Windows Phone Team some time to put one together.

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Microsoft has announced on the Windows 8 blog that the next major version of its operating system, Windows 8, has reached the RTM milestone. What does this mean for consumers? Not an awful lot if you're not particularly interested, but it does mean manufacturers are now set to start preparing products in time for when Windows 8 is released to the world (including Microsoft with its Surface tablets).

We previously covered Windows 8 when the release preview was made available to those who wished test Microsoft's latest desktop platform. The Windows team has completed product development and testing, and have now started to hand the code onto OEM partners. The release date for Windows 8 to the general public is still October 26th, so we all still have a slight wait to get through, but we're certain it'll be worth every second.

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If you just tuned in to our latest podcast, you probably heard Jay and myself discussing when we expect Windows Phone 8 to actually come out—especially since we now know that Windows 8 Desktop will be here October 26th.

Going on simple history, the last two release cycles for Windows Phone have occurred in the October/November timeframe and we expect that to repeat again this year. Throw in the October 26th street date for Win 8 and it should be obvious what Microsoft’s overarching strategy will be—a dual launch where two of their main products dominate headlines. Or what lame business folk call “synergy”.

Over at ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley is hearing from a trusted source the following dates for Microsoft:

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Microsoft has made the customer preview of the upcoming Office 2013 suite available for download. Being cloud based, Microsoft has decided to integrate both SkyDrive and Skype into the suite and offer more social functionality to end-users. Signing into your Live / Microsoft Account, you'll be able to store and access documents on the cloud from any supported platform, including Windows Phone.

As well as more optimisation, Office 2013 has also gone 'Metro' with emphasis on simplicity to create an immersive experience. We've installed Office 2013 on our machines and boy does it install promptly. We didn't even have time to make a second cup of tea before it was all set up and ready to go. The suite includes Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word.

Be sure to head on over to Microsoft's website to check out the Office 2013 Customer Preview.

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The entry-level Lumia 610 Windows Phone is now available at Big W in Australia (following New Zealand), at an enticing price of just $229. The low end hardware running Windows Phone "Tango" enables Microsoft and manufacture partners to penetrate the prepaid market, which we've seen with in the states with both Best Buy and Walmart offering Nokia Windows Phones on prepaid plans.

While the Lumia 610 is considered a "low-end" smartphone, unlike Android counterparts, it doesn't suffer from performance issues and the same Windows Phone experience witnessed on the likes of the HTC TITAN II or Lumia 900 is packed within. In fact, the Lumia 610 goes one better than more expensive Windows Phones as it has Internet sharing pre-loaded and ready to go, and an upcoming version even supports NFC.

Big W, the retailer stocking this handset, is offering the Lumia 610 with a bundled Boost Mobile prepaid agreement. Included with this deal is $40 Boost Mobile credit and SIM to get started (which further pulls down the cost of the handset itself to just $189).

Available is both pink and blue, there's no confirmation that the deal present at this time will still be listed after the catalogue dates close on July 25th - so be sure to hurry up if you're interested. While the device is quadband, it's locked to the Optus network. That aside, it's a solid deal for a starter package with a solid experience on a Nokia Windows Phone.

Source: Big W, via:  WPDownUnder

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Chrome finish and sleek lines come as standard

O2 UK have announced via their coming soon page that the Nokia's Tango-flavoured Lumia 610 will be arriving this month. Availability is simply set as July so that should be any time now.

The 610 has been built from the ground up to adhere to the new lower specification requirements made possible with Tango. The new lower spec devices have courted some controversy due to a lack of 100% application compatibility. The Lumia 610 represents Nokia’s attempt to bring the price of Windows Phone down sufficiently to allow it to be sold on great value monthly contracts or the ever-popular Pay-As-You-Go. I think its great Nokia are endeavouring to get these phones to as many people as possible. In my opinion, based on some limited time with the device, they have done well to keep the quality up. I would be surprised if it’s not a popular choice for Pay As You Go consumers.

The Lumia 610 being a Tango spec device means it’s not quite as compatible with the full range Marketplace apps as other Windows Phones. Still, it should still give users who are on a budget a far better app compatibility experience than the lower spec Android devices, which compete at the same price. I would expect with Nokia behind the push on this for the remaining apps that do have issues running to get a update to allow operation shortly. After all, getting more Windows Phone users on board and into the eco system is imperative for the future of the platform.

O2 Showing Windows Phone some Love?

Windows Phones - Three Models Available (including the 610)

Its good to see O2 continue their support of the platform. I would however like to see their website list Windows Phone as a category in their hot links. They also still list Windows Phone as simply "Windows" which is not that helpful. O2 currently only stock three Windows Phone handsets, the Lumia 610, 710 and the 800. Last time I checked their O2 Priority moment’s customer incentives app is still unavailable for Windows Phone also.

Still the arrival of the Lumia 610 is positive, think you might grab one?

Source: O2 UK; via The Register

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Windows 8 will allow you to poke people in the eye this October

Today at Microsoft's worldwide partner conference, Tami Reller, Corporate Vice President of Windows, announced when consumers can expect to see Windows 8 be released. October 2012 was the month provided, with manufacturers getting their mucky paws on the release (as well as Windows Server 2012) in the first week of August.

Reller also notes that business customers with volume licenses will also gain early access, matching Microsoft partners. ZDNet adds that Microsoft hasn't (and wont) let on when TechNet and MSDN members will gain access to the final version. Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide at launch.

Should you be hoping to build a new computer or order a PC before release, be sure to note that to upgrade to Windows 8 is just $39.99. If you haven't already, check out the release preview for an insight as to what's on the horizon. So, who's excited?

via: Windows Team Blog

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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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E-Plus in Germany is currently preparing to release the Windows Phone Tango update to consumers, according to reports. Much like Australia's Telstra, the update is set to hit Lumia 800 owners. "Tango" introduces a number of new features and improvements to the experience, including added MMS functionality and WiFi tethering (depending on carrier restrictions and firmware versions).

Be sure to keep an eye out for any update notifications and let us know when you receive the release.

Source: Mobile Professionals, via: WP7App.de; thanks, Tali, for the tip!

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This evening at the Turbine Hall in Newtown, South Africa, Nokia and MTN announced the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 in South Africa.

It will be available on MTN Anytime 200 for R369 per month on a 24 month contract. It also comes with a pitiful 75MB of bandwidth per month that you can use to check your email a couple times. The phone should be in stores across the country around the 28th of this month. Other contracts should be available but MTN is not releasing any details just yet.

We knew about the launch, but something that we hadn't expected was that there are 200 Limited Edition Batman phones available to the first 200 customers at a branch in each main city. So we suggest you get down to any of the following stores when it is available to snap one of those up: Morningside (Johannesburg), Gateway (Durban), Canal Walk (Cape Town) and Port Elizabeth.

Vodacom was the first service provider in South Africa to offer a Lumia device when it launched the Nokia Lumia 800. Since then they have also started offering the Lumia 710, but for some reason will not be stocking the Lumia 900. MTN is on the opposite end of the stick offering only the Lumia 900.

Source: MyBroadband

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WPDang has reported that the Lumia 900 is set to be released in China on June 16th, which will please those who skipped past the 800c launch to see when the manufacturer was looking to release its more advance brother. The flagship Nokia Windows Phone will be priced to match the iPhone, which is currently around 4,988 CNY (about $780).

While the Windows Phone has been unofficially available since its launch in the U.S., this version will be stripped of certain services and functionality (Xbox LIVE, etc.) Priced at 4,688 CNY (about $730), the fairly expensive Lumia 900 packs a 4.3" display, 8MP rear shooter (with FF camera), 512MB RAM and 16GB storage.

Source: WPDang; via: WPSauce

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Nokia has today announced availability of the low-end, most affordable Lumia Windows Phone in the UK - the Lumia 610. The device is available in white, cyan, magenta and the usual black variants. As well as being a Tango targeted handset (only sports the minimum specifications), the Lumia 610 comes with tethering out of the box, as well as a flip-to-silence feature.

Should you be interested in purchasing one, the Lumia 610 is priced from just £15/mo on contract reportedly with O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and is stocked by both Carphone Warehouse, Clove and Phones 4u. Expect to see some stock being promoted at each supporting source. Sporting a 3.7" display, 256MB RAM, 5MP camera, 8GB storage and is powered by a 800Mhz chip. 

Originally, June 11th was on the cards for the release date, so it's good to see Nokia coming forward with the Lumia 610 a week or two in advance.

Head past the break to check our unboxing and hands on video of the Nokia Lumia 610 from a few days ago...

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If there's one technology Windows Phone users have been yearning for it's Photosynth. The photo-stitching software creates "synths" or 3D images from your camera phone, giving an immersive photo that's hosted on the web. It then allows the viewer to pan around the image, zoom in and out and various other options.

What makes Photosynth (www.photosynth.net) frustrating for Windows Phone though is not only does the service have an iOS app, the company who makes it is owned by none other than Microsoft.

The Windows Phone version was noted to be a "top priority" for the team and we saw some real evidence of it existing back in February but not much since then.

Now, eagle-eyed reader Scott has found not only some test images but a Microsoft Twitter account that does nothing but post Photosynths. (We're not going public with the Twitter handle because we like to track these things and not scare them off) What's more, when one looks at the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data for the image we can see "__version_synther": "Windows Phone 1.0.0" listed, strongly indicated that the Windows Phone app is in final testing.

In fact the image above is an actual photo of a Microsoft employee's test computer which lists the steps in required for testing Photosynth. If you look closely, you can also see "(Windows Phone Only)" an "AugmentedReality" listed which is tantalizing to think about.  (And if anything, that's just kind of interesting to see how this stuff is done).

Should we expect a full-on Photosynth app for Windows Phone soon? We think so and it'd make sense that the app is due hopefully in the next few weeks as it coincides with Microsoft's big "official app" push which seems to be going on.

Fingers crossed people, fingers crossed. A big thanks to Scott for all of his detective work on this story!

 

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While the Nokia Lumia 900's release in the U.K. has been slightly delayed, we're seeing signs that the May 14th date is holding firm. The black Lumia 900 has popped up on Amazon.co.uk for pre-order. The Windows Phone is being offered Sim-free for £479.99 (about $780 USD). The cyan or white models of the Lumia 900 are not listed.

The shipping information notes that the Lumia 900 is due to be released on May 14, 2012.  We're not sure if the phones will ship on the 14th but delivery in the U.K. is free with Amazon's Super Saver Delivery. 

Amazon U.K. joins Clove in offering the Nokia Lumia 900 for pre-orders. Clove's pre-order price for the unlocked Windows Phone is a little more attractive at £458.40 (about $745 USD) which is down from the original price of £486. Clove is still indicating the first stock of the Lumia 900's is expected on May 16, 2012.

Originally slated for a April 27th release in the U.K., the Nokia Lumia 900 was pushed back to May 14th due to high demand in the North American markets. While delays are never comfortable with consumers, for those waiting patiently for the Lumia 900 we think you'll find the new Windows Phone was well worth the wait.

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BBC Podcast Lounge has been released on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Developed by Igneous Software, who are responsible for the BBC Radio apps, the app enables users to browse and listen to an array of podcast programmes available from the BBC. From arts and drama to comedy and quizzes, the catalogue has enough content for everyone's taste.

Some of the highlighted features:

  • Background audio playback
  • Familiar interface with panorama
  • Search by programme title
  • List by category or station
  • Ability to select favourites
  • Ability to pin programme to start
  • Full integration with music + video hub
  • Playback continues under lock screen

We mentioned in our quick look at BBC Podcast Lounge that there was no functionality present to pin programmes to the home screen for more convenient access, this has been added for the v1.0 release. Check out our quick run through of the app in the below video.

You can download BBC Podcast Lounge from the Marketplace for free.

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The official Qantas app for Windows Phone, which we have been anticipating since MIX '11, has now been released on the Marketplace. The app enables users to keep track of their upcoming flights with the operator. As well as mobile check-in, the app also displays the status of the customer's frequent flyer programme with accumulated points.

The free Qantas app provides a boarding pass for the selected flight that can be used for a more efficient experience, just remember to charge the Windows Phone the night before (nothing worse than relying on your dead smartphone for checking into your flight). Should you have access to the available lounges at numerous supporting airports, the app will also provide information as to the location and opening hours of said areas.

Live tiles are present with the ability to pin flights to the homescreen for up-to-date details regarding the scheduled time of departure, etc. The official Qantas app is a convenient companion for any frequent traveller, it's just a shame that there doesn't appear to be any way to book flights through the app itself. It's pretty much identical to the British Airways app, which is also available on the Marketplace, basic but sports enough features.

You can download the official Qantas app from the Marketplace for free and find the press release after the break. Via: Techin5

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