support

The sunset for Windows XP is approaching and if you have not left the operating system that launched twelve years ago – it is really time to move on now. Next month, support will be cut for the platform and your PC will become vulnerable to the terrible wrath of internet diseases and attacks. If you are feeling a bit stubborn and are digging your heels into the dirt, checkout this infograph that Microsoft launched on their developer network – it may change your mind.

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UPDATE: Check out the highlights from Tuesday's Reddit chat by clicking here.

Today is an exciting day that marks the release of Windows 8’s first upgrade – Windows 8.1. The free software update for existing Windows 8 users can be picked up from the Windows Store or purchased from your favorite retailer, if you are running an older version of the operating system (for more details on getting the update, click here).

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There has been some confusion surrounding Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) and high-end Lumia Windows Phones. Nokia Australia recently stated that the hardware won't support the upgrade. Shortly thereafter, Nokia PR in Germany confirmed that all Lumia Windows Phones will indeed support Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

Now, Nokia Australia has backtracked on what was previously said, reaffirming what we originally believed to be the case - high-end Nokia Windows Phones will support Bluetooth 4.0 through a system update.

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Update 10:30 AM ET: Nokia PR in Germany is now saying BT 4.0 LE will come to all Lumias but via future update, as we originally thought:

"BT LE is enabled on Nokia Lumia 520, 620 & 720 by Nokia Lumia Amber update – planned for all Nokia Lumia WP8 smartphones via future update"

We’re filing this one under ‘maybe’ but Nokia Australia, via their Twitter account, are claiming that current high end Lumias won’t be able to support Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE).

The Tweet was in response to a question from Gary C., who asked Nokia about the status of the technology, which was expected to come to all Lumias at some point, perhaps through a firmware update.

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If there is one thing Windows Phone supporters are good at, it’s self-promotion. We have a lot of evangelists in the crowd who want to get the word out about their OS of choice. We don’t blame you either, but we’re only as good as the tools we have to work with, which is why Tile Me! is worthy of your attention.

Over in the sub-Reddit dedicated to Windows Phone, a social media consultant named David Kimball had an idea: why not create profile pictures that looked like the Windows Phone Me Tile? The idea was to allow you to change your profile pic on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., with the Windows Phone styled design, resulting in more awareness.

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There's nothing worse than your Windows Phone taking some physical damage as the appearance of a smartphone is fairly important, especially when it's a Lumia 920 or other Windows Phone. There's really only one instance when an issue can prove more irritating and that's when the software (or a combination of it and hardware) royally breaks and thus bricking the device. How useful is a bricked Windows Phone? Well, it's good paperweight, I suppose. This is what happened to my poor white Lumia 920. Let me tell you a short story of what happened and how quickly the issue was resolved by Nokia.

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Microsoft is set to support both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 until 2014, according to the company's website. The website has detailed dates for when the company is planning to halt support and cease security update rollouts (much like the Windows desktop operating system). It's a positive sign for all Windows Phone owners as their smartphones will continue to receive updates for many months to come.

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It's unfortunate that we have to break the run of banking apps being released for Windows Phone with news of the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) app being pulled. The app has been available on the platform for quite some time, but will not be updated for Windows Phone 8 and will no longer be supported. So what's happened?

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Just recently the BBC released yet more new apps for Apple’s iPhone and announced plans for more support of Google Android devices. The corporation has stated publically the need to make its content available to all in as many ways as possible but has persistently refused to develop a single app for Windows Phone. They now state they have no plans to support a Windows 8 app too.

The BBC have often cited incompatibilities in their chosen media formats with Windows Phone and the relatively small market share for the platform as being reasons not to make an app. In the latest statement from the ‘beeb’ it’s also apparent that market share and file types aren’t the only thing stopping them developing for Microsoft operating systems. Reason and logic don’t seem to come into play.

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Fitbit (www.fitbit.com), an online service that helps consumers stay in shape with exercising and more, has announced publicly on Twitter that the company has no immediate plans to support Windows Phone. The service is currently available for both iOS and Android through two apps, as well as Windows 8 / RT with Fitbit now listed on the Windows Store. 

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The Surface RT tablet was released last month, but Microsoft has remained tight-lipped about the support policy for Windows RT itself. The company has since released information detailing its declaration to support its initial Surface tablet for four years. ZDNet has taken a look at the new information provided to see what this means for consumers.

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Listening to podcasts on the go is one of my favorite pastimes, a great way to catch up with the latest news or a special interest. For those of us who reside outside of North America, podcast support has been a bit limited to say the least. Unlike our pals in the US, we cannot subscribe to podcasts through the marketplace on either Zune desktop software or directly using the phone. Annoying, but Mango at least introduced a half-workable solution. Unfortunately, after the Tango update it’s no longer possible to use that either.

To subscribe to podcasts prior to Tango, first we needed to set them up in the Zune desktop suite. Once subscribed, simply plugging in the phone and synchronising would pass the podcast to it. Podcasts would the automatically download without further PC interaction. Alas, this is now not the case. What’s going on?

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71% of developers are optimistic about Windows Phone 8

A new survey today from RW Baird shows some promising news for the Windows Phone platform.  Despite some recent setbacks and still less-than-stellar adoption rates, devs are keeping their eyes on the prize with Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft’s future.

The poll shows that since the June 20thWindows Phone Summit, 71% of respondents had an increased interest in the platform because of the new Windows Phone 8 capabilities.  That’s quite a high number and we believe a smart move as the promise of overlapping development for Windows 8 Desktop, Surface and Windows Phone 8 will offer some tantalizing opportunities for increased revenue.

Regarding developers long term outlook for Windows Phone 7, devs were less enthusiastic with a noticeable decline from 6.3 (out of 10) back in Q2 2011 to just 4.2 in Q2 2012.  Why the drop? It’s actually hard to decipher as it is far from clear just what devs understand as “the future of Windows Phone 7”. From a technical standpoint, the platform is winding down but Nokia and Microsoft have promised long-term support. Microsoft has also ensured that Windows Phone 7 apps will work on 8—so are devs turning from WP7 and looking to WP8 instead? That seems to be the case.

The worst news though is aimed at RIM and their upcoming Blackberry 10 platform. Developer interest for their next gen OS is precipitously declining with only a 3.8 (out of 10) now hopeful for its long term success. RIM has responded to this report noting that they’ve published 15K apps since January and their dev camps have had robust attendance. All of that may be true but image and perception are everything and people's view of RIM’s future looks negative—that is never a good thing and hard to turnaround. (But see Crackberry for an alternative analysis).

Perhaps it’s not surprising that iOS and Android remain strong with 9.3 and 8.7 scores for developers’ faith in their long term potential with Android taking a very slight dip.  The survey data comes from 200 developers culled from a sample set of 4,300 making the numbers seemingly reliable.

The takeaway from this news would be developers clearly see Windows Phone 8 as the third ecosystem for smartphones while webOS, Symbian and RIM’s future OS are clearly either dead or floundering. That's something to be hopeful about.

Source: RW Baird; via Crackberry, All Things D

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US Cellular has informed PCMag that they are looking forward to Windows Phone 8, which will play a major part of the carrier's lineup. The carrier currently holds a single Windows Phone - the HTC 7 Pro. It's a positive sign to see the smaller US carriers positive announce their support for Microsoft's mobile platform.

"We believe in giving our customers the latest technology and device options and we are excited about the Windows 8 phone. It will be an important part of our device lineup going forward."

It's going to be exciting to see which Windows Phone 8 devices go where, and how the carriers play their part in the marketing and promotion of the platform. We're yet to hear anything from Sprint, which has the potential to disappoint loyal Sprint Windows Phone owners who are arguably amongst the most dedicated.

Source: PCMag, via: Engadget; thanks, Michael, for the tip!

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Todd Brix has announced on the Windows Phone Developer Blog that Windows Phone 8 will support 180 countries at launch. The platform currently covers 63 markets, making this a fairly sizeable improvement. Developers will also be able to make full use of this added support, which will be a bonus for consumers in those markets.

So which countries are being added? Check out the chart after the break for all the juicy details...

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HTC isn't the only Windows Phone partner throwing their support behind Windows Phone 8. AT&T released a brief statement that leaves no doubt that the wireless carrier will maintain a strong Windows Phone presence in their smartphone lineup. The statement reads,

AT&T plans to carry a new line of Windows Phone 8 smartphones launching later this year. The unmatched leader in Windows Phone –offering the very first 4G LTE Windows Phone smartphones in the U.S. – AT&T is home to the most robust Windows Phone portfolio of any carrier.

AT&T has backed Windows Phones from the start with the Samsung Focus, LG Quantum and HTC Surround.   While this isn't much of a surprise, it is nice to see the wireless provider voicing their continued support for Windows Phones. AT&T currently has five Windows Phone 7 devices in their line up including the Samsung Focus 2, HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900. It will be interesting to see what new devices are in store for AT&T later this year.

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By now Nokia’s commitment to the Windows Phone OS should be well established. What has made their role so vital to Microsoft is not just the hardware they’ve created (4 phones in 12 months) but the support they’re providing to the platform from all directions.

Whether it’s original OEM apps, exclusive titles, developer support tools, mapping data, dispersing thousands of free Lumias to devs or their promotions, Nokia has gone beyond their competitors in many ways.

One of those is one that may not be too familiar with Windows Phone Central readers but is just as impressive: Nokia’s SmartStart program.

What’s SmartStart? We get a behind the scenes glimpse of Nokia’s growing support system for new Lumia owners and share what’s coming next…

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Skype working on Tango has come and gone with Microsoft and Skype announcing that the rushed-to-the-market Windows Phone app will not run on devices with less than 512MB of RAM. We then saw Nokia announce to the world that the Skype app will run on Tango Windows Phones (specifically the Lumia 610) with minimal amounts of memory. This was reaffirmed by Justin Angel using the app on his 610 to feature on a recent Windows Phone Central podcast.

Now Nokia HK has turned around and stated that they have decided to recommend to Lumia 610 customers that the Skype app really shouldn't be used and will not be available to those wielding the device. See the below quote from an email reportedly sent by the manufacturer:

"Nokia values the user experience provided by its products and services. Therefore, although the Skype Windows Phone version is workable on Nokia Lumia 610, after in-depth testing, we found that the user experience is not up to par with Nokia and Skype's expectation and decided not recommending users using Skype on Nokia Lumia 610. In the future, users of Nokia Lumia 610 would no longer be able to download Skype Windows Phone version from Window Phone Marketplace. However, Skype Windows Phone version would still be available for other users."

Looks like devices that are hitting the bare minimum requirements for Windows Phone Tango will not be able to run Skype. At least for now anyway. We're still looking at the Skype app as a pressed result from pressure mounting up on the teams to get something out on the Marketplace. We do expect the teams to sort out the issues and get the app working on low-end hardware as well as the flagship Windows Phones in the future. Our Rafael looked at why there are limitations with Skype on Windows Phone altogether, which is also worth a read.

Source: WeLoveWP.hk (Bing translation)

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