windows phone

In last decade there have been many great rivaleries: Tyson Vs. Hollifield, Baggy pants vs Skinny Jeans, Alien VS. Predator - the list just goes on and on. Now a new fight is brewing: Google's Nexus Q and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Google has recently announced their new form of media consumption for their users. It's small, round, glows like Tron, and  looks a bit like the Death Star. This sphere will go head to head with the Xbox 360. Microsoft has been rebranding the Xbox 360 for the last few years, turning it from an exclusive gaming system to your main media device. More and more people have been using the console to watch movies, stream music, and to video chat. With Smart Glass coming out hopefully in the fall, Microsoft will be integrating your phone or tablet as both a second screen and remote control.

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Co-found of Apple Steve Wozniak thinks Windows Phone is a convergence of "art and technology"

Speaking at a press conference after his talk at the Entel Summit (Entel is Chile's leading telecommunications operator), co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak gave his thoughts on Microsoft, Surface and their new Metro UI. Having previously spoken positively of the Lumia 900 and what Microsoft was up to with their refocus on usability and visual appeal, "the Woz" continues to give praise to the company and what appears to be their new direction, noting that he wants a Surface tablet.

During the Q&A session, Wozniak gave his thoughts on how the Lumia line of smartphones and Windows Phone 7 have such a "...strikingly good visual appearance which is a lot of what Steve Jobs always looked for, the art and technology, the convergence of art and technology." Back in April, the technology guru famously heaped praise on the Lumia 900 and Windows Phone and evidently he continues to like it.

Regarding Surface, Wozniak says he wants to "own one, to use one" so he can see for himself how good it is and not have to rely on what he's read—a fair and respectable stance to have on an un-released product.

The video Q&A where Wozniak responds to a Microsoft question during the Entel Summit '12

As far as Microsoft, he had some interesting observations that seem to be aligning with a lot of people's thoughts today on the company: Microsoft has changed and are entering a new era.

"But I'm glad that Microsoft is starting to show maybe they're a different company than before, I don't remember this sort of thing happening in a long, long time with Microsoft, so I'm very happy."

Of course Wozniak has always been quite "technology neutral" and he used whatever device that he thought was the best, without any allegiances. This is why he's respected amongst many as he brings true insight from an engineer's perspective as opposed to a partisan with a product to sell. Either way, it's good press for Microsoft.

Source: TechNews; Thanks, Eric, for the tip!

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File this under old news but good news but T-Mobile is pleased as punch with the companies selection of Windows Phone. Since adding the HTC Radar 4G and Nokia Lumia 710, T-Mobile has seen sales of Windows Phone double in the past eight months.

Brad Duea, Senior Vice President of Product Development at T-Mobile, comments,

"We continue to see strong sales and adoption of the platform with the Nokia Lumia 710 consistently being one of our top five selling smartphones since it launched in January 2012. Not only that but, as expected, we’ve seen a large number of first-time smartphone users select a Windows Phone as their device of choice with 55% of all upgrades to the Lumia 710 coming from a messaging or feature phone."

According to T-Mobile the Lumia 710 has some of the highest handset satisfaction scores and feedback from customers has been very positive on Windows Phone software. With regards to the future of Windows Phones at T-Mobile Duea notes,

"We’re bullish on the future of Windows Phone. In fact, IDC’s report out earlier this month predicts Windows Phone will surpass iOS by 2016 – and we expect Windows Phone to continue to play a prominent role in our product portfolio and marketing efforts."

T-Mobile is slated to be a launch partner for Windows Phone 8 later this fall. Maybe we'll see more of Carly carrying a Windows Phone in the future.

Source: T-Mobile Blog

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Last month Nokia sponsored a Windows Phone developer workshop in St. Louis that was very successful. On the heels of that success, Nokia is sponsoring two more developer workshops. One in Orlando, Florida and another in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to Nokia Ambassador Rich Dunbar,

This workshop will be focused on the tools and resources you have available as a developer/potential developer for Windows Phone development from Nokia and Microsoft. The event will begin with a brief presentation from Nokia and will then focus on ensuring all the proper tools are introduced. We will review some of the tutorials and quick start projects and then allow time for the attendees to work on the projects they choose and ask questions along the way. The goal of the workshop is to help developers get started on their first Windows Phone app.

The Nashville event is scheduled for Saturday, July 28, 2012 from 8:00am until noon at the Microsoft Offices. The Orlando event will be held on Friday, August 10, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at the Doubletree Inn. There is a possibility the Nashville event will be pushed up to the evening of Friday, July 27th if space becomes available.

Each event have food provide along with Nokia swag to be given away including at least one Windows Phone. You'll need to register to attend (so Nokia will know how much food to order).

You can register for the Nashville event here and the Orlando event here. If you are close to either location and are interested in Windows Phone development, this will be a great opportunity to network with other developers and get a jump on your app development.

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The return of MetroTube!

We told you a few days ago that YouTube app MetroTube was due to return to the Marketplace for Windows Phone after a six month hiatus and sure enough, version 3.1 just went live.

The app itself is as smooth and buttery as you may have remembered. If you don't remember you’ll really enjoy the superb, fluid UI design which is obviously heavily inspired by Metro design language. Features include streaming of video content, pinning videos to your Start screen, like/dislike, comments, favorites and playlist support and sharing.

You may not get the ability to rip videos for downloading or play in true HD but the app itself is a joy to use and now that it’s free, it’s hard to not give it serious consideration.

Pick up MetroTube here in the Windows Phone Marketplace for free. Let us know in comments your thoughts. Thanks, Rahat M., for the tip

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Nokia Lumia 900 with Android 4.x?

Should Nokia have chosen Android over Windows Phone? Many think so, including one former Apple executive.

Things are getting rough for Nokia. Today, their stock hit the historic low of $2 a share before closing at $2.02.  That’s bad, very bad for a company who traded for over $40 a share just a few years ago. What’s more, the “no Windows Phone 8” for current devices, especially the high-profile Lumia line, is doing nothing to inspire confidence in the company, whose primary business is selling phones. See RIM.

Recently though, some people have been clamoring for Nokia’s heyday and stating that Nokia should have gone with Android instead of Windows Phone. Others think they abandoned Symbian way too early even though Nokia’s stock crashed below $10 back in 2009. News flash: Symbian was dragging the company down and their stock price reflected this years before they announced they were going with Windows Phone.

In an interview with Computing.co.uk, a former Apple executive named Jean-Louis Gassée (he left in 1990, before the company became interesting) threw Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and the Board under a bus noting that the company should have chosen Android, like he recommended, instead. Sour grapes?

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Nokia is the first to bring Kaliki to a mobile platform

Nokia is back at it again, giving customers the most bang for their buck by releasing two more exclusive apps today in the Nokia Collection for Lumia Windows Phones. Today’s apps include the Batman Origins comic and the truly unique Kaliki.

Batman Origins is a straight up prequel comic to the new movie Batman: The Dark Knight Rises due in a few weeks. There’s not much to the app as it’s just a straight up digital comic featuring two sides—Batman or Bane—and you can just go through and read it. The gorgeous artwork is provided by DC Comics of course and it’s a fun little read, especially for you fans.

What’s more, under “Links” for the app there is evidently another app coming called “The Dark Knight Rises: Prologue”. That app is not yet available but we imagine it’s just a matter of time. This marks the third app from Nokia featuring Batman with the other being the TDKR App, now this origins-comic and soon a Prologue.

Next up is the even more interesting Kaliki app from Nokia. This was something we did not see coming and boy is it cool.  In essence, it’s a news app that reads the news to you but not in some mechanical robot voice. No, Kaliki takes highlight news stories from various sources like the NY Times, CNN, USA Today and has a professional voice actor narrate it to you, making all news sound much more epic.

If you like Audible and/or National Public Radio, this app is for you.

Kaliki includes various types of news including headlines, sports, celebrity, science & technology and more too, so you have a wide selection of headlines to choose from.  The app requires a data connection and you can’t save any of the recordings for offline use—heck, there are basically no options within the app. But for you commuters with constant data connections, Kaliki is killer.

Kaliki is actually a new service not exclusive to Nokia (but they have the app first). The company (http://www.kaliki.com/) wants to be “Pandora for magazines” and will be coming to other platforms. But as far as we can tell, Nokia and Windows Phone is the first mobile iteration of the new service which hasn’t officially launched, until today.

No doubt both apps will continue to cause consternation amongst those who don’t have a Nokia Lumia phone, but for those who do, you’ll be quite pleased with both offerings.

Pick up Batman Origins here and Kaliki for Lumia Windows Phones here in the Nokia Collection.

    

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The Nokia Lumia 800: Trend setter

We’ve had discussions before, sometimes heated, about what should be the proper name for Windows Phone and whether it’s catchy, unique enough or even hampered by the “Windows” name. But one thing is for sure, Nokia seems to have a hit with the 'Lumia' brand.

Using Google’s Trends function to compare searches for 'Windows Phones' against 'Lumia' you get an interesting result. Since about November 2011, 'Lumia' has been searched for much more often than 'Windows Phone' which is curious only because Nokia’s handsets are a subset of Windows Phone, yet they’re clearly leading in terms of brand awareness and consumer curiosity.

Last 12 months of Google searches for 'Lumia' vs 'Windows Phone' vs 'Windows Mobile'

Going further, looking at “news reference volume” which details how often Lumia is cited in the media, we can see that although it trails Windows Phone, it often follows the same pattern of interest and is near the same level.

Perhaps just as interesting is if you compare ‘Windows Mobile’ versus ‘Windows Phone’ you can see a slow downward trend for the former but it still trends quite high. That reinforces the belief that many are still confusing the two brands and Microsoft still has a naming problem, which is slowly being overcome. 

There should be little doubt that Nokia with their branding and ability to make headlines has raised awareness a lot for Microsoft’s mobile OS, so much so that they’re in fact leading the interest, often getting ahead of “Windows Phone” itself. That’s impressive work and is a good sign that Nokia is resonating with users out there and backs up what many of us have been saying, which is Nokia is the key to Windows Phone success now and in the future.

Source: Google Trends; via TNW; Thanks, piaqt, for the heads up

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What's in version 1.2? Only the Shadow knows...

Although it has taken a very long time to get Audible on Windows Phone, the app has received two updates since its initial release just a few weeks ago. That’s some fast response time to what are presumably bug fixes and optimizations.

Version 1.2 just hit the Marketplace for Windows Phone with v1.1 happening sometime last week when it also popped up in the UK.

Unfortunately, the Audible folks don’t seem too keen on sharing release notes, so we’ll have to wing this one and just say “it got better, somehow”. We don’t use the app enough to figure out ourselves (we fall asleep to story narrations, we blame it on childhood) so we’ll rely on you to point out any new features or bug fixes.

Grab the free official Audible app for Windows Phone, now on mysterious version 1.2, here in the Marketplace. Thanks,  James M., for the heads up

Update: Reader Jack let us know that the app was also made available in Germany last week and this latest update fixes some translations issues for their language.

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A few weeks ago we reported on Aviary releasing their SDK for Windows Phone, allowing developers with little effort to plug in the company’s photo editing suite into any application out there. Rowi was one of the first to do this, allowing its users to quickly do sophisticated photo edits without ever leaving the popular Twitter app.

Today, Aviary has released Photo Genius, a standalone version of those tools for all Windows Phone users. The app is a “demonstration” one meaning it’s meant to show off what Aviary can do but for you all that means is you get an awesome, full featured photo editing program for your phone.

The app behaves like the “Auto Fix” feature built into Windows Phone. It analyzes a selected photo and then recommends a sweeping set of changes which you can enable with a quick “checkmark”. You can then compare the before and after images with a simple toggle, allowing you to see if you like the modifications.

If you don’t like the alterations or want to do more, you can hit the “Edit” button and load up Aviary’s full set of photo manipulation tools. Such tools include controls for brightness, contrast, sharpness, cropping, rotation, red-eye fix, filters, stickers and more—it really has it all.

Once you’re done you can just hit the “Save” icon and that’s it and you have your fully edited photo.

Overall, Aviary Photo Genius is a great little app. It’s “smart” and has a ton of features on board, allowing you to really control every aspect of how your photo looks. It is a big sluggish on loading photos initially (in the gallery) but once you’re up, it works just like any other app.

Pick up Aviary Photo Genius for all Windows Phones here in the Marketplace for free. And read more on the app release here on Aviary's blog.

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Not great news today from the Windows Phone camp. It would appear that CNET have been chatting with Greg Sullivan from Microsoft and what he has said isn't what Windows Phone users wanted to hear.

It seems that Microsoft has know for a long time that Windows Phone 7 would be replaced by Windows Phone 8.

"It was right after Windows Phone 7," Sullivan said, speaking in an interview with CNET UK. The team that developed the 7.5 release actually was working in parallel with the core team that was already beginning [Windows Phone 8]. In fact some of that work was already initiated before Windows Phone 7 was even available -- so this goes back a little bit."

"It is true that this is a generational shift -- that is a rare occurrence, but it's something we don't expect to have happen again in the foreseeable future because of the headspace that the new architecture gives us."

While I would imagine that the majority of blogs that write about this will just complain about Microsoft keeping us in the dark, I on the other hand am looking at this realistically. How many operating systems are there that get a big software upgrade that will then work on all older hardware? As far as I can see there is only one that seems to have nailed it and that is iOS. While Android tries to update as many devices from the past 18 months or so they are quite often at the mercy of the carriers and manufacturers. At least Apple seem to have a good track record of keeping older hardware up to date. RIM has been guilty of the same. Many OS 5.0 handsets were not upgradable to BlackBerry 6 and none of those were ever going to see BlackBerry 7.

What I am getting at here is that this is just the way the mobile industry works. Sure, if you have bought a Windows Phone in the last 6 months or so it may have been nice to know an update was coming and the hardware would not be compatible. But that is never going to happen as manufactures need to sell phones.

At least it is encouraging to know that we shouldn't see this scenario again for some time with Windows Phone.

The whole thing isn't ideal but ideal but that's how the business seems to work.

Source: CNET

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Are you into absorbing knowledge and facts? Would you like 80,000 articles in your Windows Phone to browse at your leisure? Well you can, with Encyclopaedia which is a Encyclopedia Britannica application now available in the Windows Marketplace.

The only downside I can see here is its price. At $4.99 and without a trial it isn't the cheapest app but it would appear you do get a lot for your money.

Features of the application include:

  • 80,000 articles in a fully searchable database
  • Tens of thousands of images, diagrams and charts
  • Ability to download articles for offline viewing, store your favorites and access your search history
  • Research noteworthy events and birthdates from 'This day' in history
  • An A-Z browse allows users to browse the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica

You can pick up the official Encyclopedia Britannica app for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace.

via: WPSauce

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A curved 'Arc' keyboard for Windows Phone?

I must say I am not overly keen on the above. It just looks weird to me but that maybe just because it is a new concept. WMPoweruser has managed to get hold of the image of the Arc keyboard and it is suggested that this may well be something that Microsoft are looking to introduce to Windows Phone in the future.

Apparantly this picture has come from a leaked Microsoft Research presentation. Will we see this in the future? Who knows, but what we can be certain of is that all operating system providers will experiment with altenative keyboards from time to time.

In my opinion I am not sure this one is needed and if it will even be a selling point for Windows Phone. If we are given a choice of which keyboard we use on a device could work. That wouldnt do any harm for sure.

What do you think? Please let us have your opinions in the comments.

Source: WMPoweruser; Thanks, Gordon, for the tip!

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The offiical Twitter app's new Toast push-notification in action

If there was one nagging issue with the official Twitter app for Windows Phone, it was the inability to get Toast notifications for new mentions or re-Tweets. Even after receiving a new update just 3 weeks ago, there was still no sign of any of these advanced features.

So we were a tiny bit flabbergasted to actually see a new notification section in the latest update, version 1.2.4555.39631 (or just v1.5 in the Marketplace) which just went live tonight. The updated Notification area has the following options

  • Mentions - Off, From people you follow, From anyone
  • Favorited Off, From people you follow, From anyone
  • retweetsOff, From people you follow, From anyone
  • Direct messages
  • New followers

That's actually a fairly robust selection of possible notifications for Twitter these days and yes, they are the Push type i.e. nearly instant. What's more, while there is seemingly no Live Tile counter, the Tiles does flip to show you new mentions or notifications in addition to the Toast alerts (which work quite fast from our experience).

While there is no counter, the Live Tile flips to show mentions

While it may have taken nearly two years to get this feature on Twitter, we are just going to sit in awe now and enjoy what we have.

Pick up the official Twitter app (v1.5) for Windows Phone now in the Marketplace. Thanks, Osvaldo C., for the tip

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Editorial - Windows Phone getting fragged

Fragmentation is the modern day Darwinism. Only the strong survive and technology is not above this rule. Every three months there is something, bigger, badder, better. There is no doubt in any ones mind that there is always something more amazing coming out when you buy a new phone. Back in the 1990's and early 2000's, when you bought a phone, you expected it just to work. Smartphones were called PDA's and they were like a mini computer. They were big, expensive, clunky and were complicated to learn for the average consumer. Then the iPhone was born and took the world by fire.

After the iPhone, there was Android with their unshackled operating system. There were many promises with both operating systems that there would be improvements with hardware, software, and how you would interact with their devices. No one thought they would have to buy a new phone every two years to take advantage of the newer software and hardware.

The older generation of cell phone owners keep their phones for as many years as they can. They will duct tape, glue, rubber band, their phone together because they feel they shouldn't have to buy a new phone. It should just work forever.

We can all agree, technology moves at a fast pace. Currently Android has five versions running ( Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Donut) in the market. with Jelly Bean just announced. The iPhone has about 3 versions of its operating system, and Windows Phone also has 3 (NoDo, Mango, Tango) which are hardware independent.

The current generation of Smartphone users are use to the 2 year cycle and getting new hardware and software at the end of their contracts. Even newer smartphone users that get their phones in 2012 always want the next big thing now!  

They don't want to wait 2 years for a new phone, because when they see what they missed out on, they get upset and sometimes cancel their accounts and start a new contract with another carrier, just to get the newest phone.

Android and Apple started the fragmentation game and we are all playing by its rules. Microsoft recently announced that current Windows Phone will not get Windows Phone 8, but will get a version of it called 7.8. Twitter users reacted with outrage because Windows Phone was the last OS that kept everyone phone current with updates. Microsoft delivered the Mango update to 100% of eligible phones last year. It is safe to say that every Windows Phone is running the current software. For most people this was a great change. No more fragmentation for a platform.

At the Windows Phone Developer Summit, Microsoft announced that with Windows Phone 8, there will be a change for hardware. This leap in technology is giving the platform, NFC support, dual core processors, higher resolution displays, and removable SD card support. The current Windows Phones hardware doesn't have any of these new specs. In order to give customers what they want, there had to be a change. It created fragmentation, but Microsoft is completely upfront about these changes.

Unlike Android or iOS, where you have to read the fine print, or scour the internet looking for clues to what devices will receive the latest software. Microsoft is being honest and telling their customers why this is happening. I can empathize with people who just bought Lumia 900's or the Titan 2, but a large amount of regular users never ask about updates. They see the phone, love how it works, and are satisfied with what they have now.

With greater hardware comes, greater responsibility, and that is exactly what Microsoft is doing when they said that "Windows 8 devices will be supported up to 18 months of release".  Microsoft is being forthright with its community and telling them their update life cycle of each device.

At the end of the day, fragmentation is Darwinism at it's finest, because we all want the best of the best.

Windows Phone is giving us what we want, so no hard feelings, because you know up front what Microsoft is bringing to the table, can Android or Apple say the same? I think not.

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A few weeks ago at E3 2012 in Los Angeles, we managed to get some hands on with the upcoming Xbox LIVE title 'Mush'. The game is from studio Angry Mango and it looks like it will finally bring some new life into some of the slightly boring and repetitive titles of late. 

Mush is a fairly adorable and cute casual game where you use tilt controls to move your character around the board. Full of puzzles and bold graphics, the game has a unique trick up its sleeve: you manipulate the character's emotions to get by the levels.

What was that again? 

Basically if you draw a smile on the screen, he floats. Draw a frown and he sinks. Shake the device and yes, he gets angry (and he will smash through things). Call us crazy but with the LocoRoco-esque graphics, the unique animation and the creative way to control your character, we're super excited for this title. It should appeal to the regular gamer, kids, the ladies, fans of Ilomilo and anyone who enjoys some fun challenges.

Look for Mush on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone next week on July 4th. See their website here and check our hands on with the game after the break on what to expect.

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File this under: Experienced users only

Warning:  We’re just going to say that Windows Phone 7.5 Tango is not that big of a deal. It’s a tiny update with a few MMS enhancements and some minor tweaks (most of which are undocumented, but see our hands on video to get an idea). So we’re not sure that trying to manually update your Windows Phone with Tango 8773.98 is a high priority. Nor is the risk of damaging your phone and blocking the upcoming 7.8 update.

And let's be honest, a lot of "fixes" and "tweaks" for your Windows Phone will come from the OEM firmware which this does not provide. Finally, this does not provide the new Start screen. That's Windows Phone 7.8 this is still 7.5.

Having said that, user bobzero on the XDA Forums has posted the Tango OS cab files direct from Microsoft and the needed language files to get the update started. It will break inter-op unlock (for the tiny few of you who have that) but you can go through the process again re-enable it.

The big question for many of you will be How do I do this? It’s not Android-custom ROM hard, but it does require a little prep work and some careful reading.

Luckily for you we wrote a nice little tutorial on how to manually update your phone to 8107 to get the much needed “disappearing keyboard fix”. That same process should work here so long as you replace the 8107 CAB with the 8773 one, obviously. Likewise, you’ll need the language packs too which bobzero has given you.

We haven’t done this yet ourselves but we do have our trusty Samsung Focus 2 and a bottle of Wild Turkey that says we’re going to try it soon.

As usual, sound off in comments on your experience and please, don’t blame us if you damage your phone. Remember: read, ask questions and take your time. And if you're on OS 8107 you need to go to 8112 first.

Source: XDA Forums; Thanks, bobzero for this tip and your past ones ;-)

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Good news for you Xbox LIVE game fans as the huge version 1.1 update planned for the super popular (and WPCentral favorite) Chickens Can't Fly (review) by Amused Sloth is now available. The update was planned months ago and like usual, the update has taken literally months to pass Microsoft's rigid certification process for Xbox LIVE games.

You can hop to the Marketplace to grab it now. To refresh just what this update entails, we'll report the changelog:

  • Dive deep in the new Aquarium Laboratory
  • Xbox LIVE Multiplayer: Challenge your friends and see who's better!
  • Customize your chicken with new skins
  • Unlock Avatar Awards!
  • PDLC: The Dojo Laboratory and more skins
  • A new ringtone
  • Option to change the game's language manually
  • Performance improvements

A new ringtone, Avatar Awards (detailed here) new levels, chicken customization...what doesn't this update have? As always, we're impressed with Amused Sloth's dedication to the platform and this game.

If you haven't tried Chickens Can't Fly, then you can do so by clicking the link here for the Marketplace. The game is chock full of fantastic animations, hilarious levels and innovative obstacles which will keep you plenty busy. While the early levels are very easy, once you enter the other labs you'll have a challenge on your hands.

What's more, the game is at the low-low price of $0.99 which is one heck of a deal. Grab Chickens Can't Fly here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Video of our hands on after the break...Thanks, DarkSynopsis, 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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Nokia's Lumia Windows Phone now in mini-size

We all love those free Xbox Avatar Gadgets, especially when they're Windows Phone focused. And for those in Italy, your day just a got a little brighter.

If you follow this link code (LINK) you can download and add a Nokia Lumia gadget to your avatar all for free. It's wee little Windows Phone with Nokia emblazoned on the top and ties win with the Lumia 610 launching over in that region.

Unfortunately when we tried here in the US, we were told it's not available in our region. Heck, even changing our region settings on our 360 didn't help but if any of you clever blokes figure out how to bypass this limitation, hit us up in comments.

via: Plaffo

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