windows phone

On an interesting podcast over at Platform Biased, Daniel Smith who's a CX-XBLA Producer at Microsoft, reveals some interesting numbers about those first generation handsets. Out of the three that came out (putting the Dell Venue Pro to the side), the Samsung Focus (see our review) reportedly accounted for about 90% of the sales while the LG Quantum (review) had about 8% and the HTC Surround (review) only garnered a meager 2%.

Smith doesn't mention AT&T directly nor does AnythingbutiPhone (where we grabbed this story from) but obviously that can't be the whole tale. T-Mobile launched the HTC HD7, Sprint followed months later with the HTC Arrive and Verizon even later with the HTC Trophy. T-Mobile and AT&T also both had the Dell Venue Pro, though that was an unofficial as it was never available in stores. Likewise, AT&T eventually picked up the HD7s (review) late in the game.

So there weren't three Windows Phones but rather nine for the first generation and the three mentioned were AT&T specific.

Reported percentage of AT&T 1st Gen Windows Phone sales

Still, it was quite obvious that the Samsung Focus, which is getting a sequel this weekend, was always the big seller on the platform early on and for good reason. It also explains why we'll probably never see an HTC follow-up to the Surround and why LG became gun shy on Windows Phone.

Source: Platform Biased; via AnythingbutiPhone

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In our latest how-to guide, we show you how to make the most of your Windows Phone and SkyDrive cloud storage

We've touched on the basics with Microsoft's SkyDrive services and the SkyDrive App for your Windows Phone. But how does all that translate into every day use?

The obvious every day use for SkyDrive and your Windows Phone is to free up storage space and make content easily available. Why bog down your Windows Phone with documents, pictures, and music files when you can store them in the Cloud and access them at your leisure? But did you know that several quality apps utilize SkyDrive? Of course you did... and we'll try to cover a few along the way as we look at every day uses for your SkyDrive account.

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Early this morning we reported on the mini song "Metro" by Matt Oglesby created on nothing but free Windows Phones apps. The tune has a chill yet vibrant feel to it and as a few of you noticed in comments, it would make a solid ringtone on your device.

While there are browser plugins that will easily rip YouTube audio and convert it to an MP3, there is a much easier way to do it directly on Windows Phone. The free app YouRang by Red Pegasus Media allows you to search YouTube, bring up the video in a small window and then by using pre-selected arrows, you can edit the section you want for a ringtone on your phone.

The app is free, beautiful and super simple to use. It maintains the full audio quality, volume and lets you "max out" the length of the ringtone according to Microsoft's specifications. In short, there's no reason not to get it even if you just want "Metro" for your ringer (just search for 'Metro' - Track Created...).

Pick up YouRang for free here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. [Edit: For those outside certain regions, stay tuned. The developer has submitted an update for other regions and it should be available soon]

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The Windows Phone UK team are set to host a memorable evening in London at the end of the month. The into Live Session is a planned music event, which will feature artist performances including the popular Noisettes. The evening is expected to be a fairly packed house at the Proud in Camden.

There will also be a number of surprises to be explored. Room-to-room Skype chats, the Nokia Amazing Collective room and getting dared by Windows Phone to name but a few. If that wasn't enough, the team will be supplying two free drinks on the night to attendees. If you remember Pepper, the live music social networking app / service, the team have partnered with Windows Phone UK to host a "Battle of the Bands" contest, where you get to decide which of the four available artists will kick-start the evening. Simply head to the YouTube playlist and "like" any one video. 

The event will take place at Proud, Camden on 30th May. You can sign up for free entry at EventBrite (limited number of tickets available). Windows Phone Central will, as usual and as you'd expect by now, be showing our faces to cover the event should you not be able to attend it. If you do so happen to come along, be sure to keep an eye on my Twitter (@RichEdmonds) for info of our exact location on the night.

Source: Windows Phone UK, Into Live Session (Facebook)

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One of the main reasons so many of us like Windows Phone is because the UI design is not only unique but equally mesmerizing. From Windows Media Center to Zune HD to Windows Phone, the Metro UI lineage is as clear as the subway signs it's based on.

The popular and influential business magazine Fast Company has named the Design Lead for Windows Phone, Jeff Fong, #81 in their 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2012. Not only is that a heck of an honor it's a telltale sign of the continued influence Metro is having on the mainstream, something that we'll see a lot more of when Windows 8 drops this fall. From the Fast Company entry for Fong:

"Airports may be frustrating, but give them this: "The signage is so clean, pure, and direct, it helps you navigate a very complicated environment," Jeff Fong says. "I wondered, Can we apply that same approach to designing our user interface?" His team culled photos from London's Heathrow and designed the smartphone's software--with its animated, colored tiles, and straightforward imagery--based on the signs' typography and simplicity."

Over at the Windows Phone Blog, they get behind the scenes with Fong and ask quite a few questions on design and what he sees as the future. Quite the interesting read both for his insight and for the fact that we get to put a face on one of the team that has brought us the fresh UI experience to our mobile phones.

A hearty congratulations to Mr. Fong!

Source: Fast Company and the Windows Phone Blog

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Canada has sort of been slow on getting into Windows Phone not due of course to the consumers but rather carrier reluctance. While the Lumia 900 is available on Rogers there hasn't been too much love for Nokia on Mobilicity until today.

The Lumia 710 (also on WIND), one of our favorite Windows Phones, is now available for $249.99 which seems to be a fairly good deal to us (though we'll let you weigh in in comments).

The Lumia 710 (see our review) features a 3.7" ClearBlack LCD screen, 5MP camera and physical front keys making it quite the unique bird amongst Windows Phones these days. It also features 8GB of storage, a zippy 1.4GHz CPU and a moderate 1300mAh battery.

While many think the 710 is not as fancy as the 800 or 900 (a fair point) it still has amazing ergonomics, great audio and is quite stylish with swappable back covers. In short, we often use it over the just as solid HTC Radar.

Read the full presser after the break or head to Mobilicity to check it out.

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We ran across something interesting this afternoon where Romit Mehta over at Techie-Buzz noticed a Visual Voicemail prompt appear on his Nokia Lumia 800. Keep in mind that Visual Voicemail is supposed to be limited to AT&T's 4G LTE phones.

After entering the password, sure enough the Visual Voicemail page appeared on the Lumia 800's call screen. While it seemed promising, the voicemail page was stuck syncing new voicemail messages with no real functionality.

We tried this out on a Samsung Focus, Samsung Focus S and an HTC Titan and could not replicate Mehta's results. It could be a case where AT&T is testing the waters in select markets to offer Visual Voice Mail to non-LTE phones.  Then there's always the possibility a technician over at AT&T hit the wrong switch.

We really like Visual Voicemail and wouldn't complain a bit if AT&T did throw the switch and let non-4G LTE Windows Phones have this feature. Let us know below in the comments if you've seen Visual Voicemail pop up on your non-4G LTE Windows Phone.

Source: Techie Buzz; Thanks, Romit, for the tip!

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Here's a funny problem we all have with smartphones regardless of OS choice: how to quickly share websites and inks between phones.

Sure, you can email, text or type out the address but it's a waste of email on both ends and if it's a long sub-link for an article, typing it out is a pain  This problem also bothered Faisal Iqbal so he decided to do something about it and thus QR Coder was born.

Faisal created a Java Script that you save as a favorite on your Windows Phone. While on the web page you want to share, you simply go to the favorites and select QR Coder. That Java Script will then dynamically generate a QR code based on the site you're viewing and display as an overlay on the screen. Your fellow pal can use their Android, iPhone, Symbian or Windows Phone to scan it and they now instantly have the link on their phone.

Brilliant.

It's actually really easy to setup too, literally 30 seconds. Go to Faisal's site and watch his video on how to get it going on your phone. Feel free to share it with your non-Windows Phone users for maximum convenience.

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The Daily Beast gets official for Windows Phone

For those of you who like Tina Brown (and now Newsweek) in mobile form, you'll want to check out the official The Daily Beast app based off of the popular news/opinion site www.thedailybeast.com. From the app description:

"The Daily Beast app is the quickest way to get breaking news from across the Web on your phone. The Daily Beast offers instant summaries of the Web's must-read stories, plus original news reporting, opinion, and photos."

The app itself is laid out very nicely with high contrast and bold graphics, smooth loading and nice transitions. Though it features an ad in the articles themselves (near the bottom) it's not too intrusive.

It also has nice integration with the Windows Phone "sharing" options  including the Social option (Twitter, Facebook, Live, etc.) and a swanky Live Tile that flips to show the latest headline.

Overall, a nice free app and great to see another official app on the Windows Phone. If it sounds good, go pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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Nokia has made moves to gain some big titles (and leverage) for their hardware. Who does it hurt? Who does it benefit and is it a good thing?

With yesterday’s announcement from Nokia describing a planned set of “exclusive” apps and even more games for their Lumia line of Windows Phones (and presumably anything else they have up their sleeve), Nokia has won both praise and some scorn for their bold move.

The concern, as echoed by some in the tech press, is that Nokia’s move will cause that dreaded “F word” to happen. No, no that one, the other one – fragmentation.

Fragmentation is the boogey word of the year due almost entirely to Google and their Android OS. But as ex-Microsoftie Charlie Kindel astutely pointed out, there isn’t just one type of fragmentation.  Rather, there’s at least six ways you can divide up the terms with some of it being positive and some of it negative, affecting consumers or developers. Point is, they're not the same and what is causing problems for Android is not the same as what Nokia is doing.

The real question is, will Nokia’s strategy to get these apps and games on their hardware hurt Windows Phone?  We say “no” and here’s why.

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Microsoft's Smoked by Windows Phone began way back in January at the 2012 CES conference. Since, it's grown by leaps and bounds traveling to various Microsoft Stores across the nation and world wide.  We've even seen the Smoke by Windows Phone challenges held by former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra.

Ben Rudolph, who started all this, has released some numbers associated with the Smoked by Windows Phone.

  • 95%: Windows Phone's global winning percentage
  • 36: The number of countries running Smoked by Windows Phone promotions
  • 50,000+: The number of phones that have been smoked by a Windows Phone
  • 8,000,000+: The total number of views the Smoked by Windows Phone has generated since it launched in January.
  • 100,000,000+: The estimated number of people who have seen, participated in or read about Smoked by Windows Phone. 

The Smoked by Windows Phone campaign will continue with a new set of internet ads hitting the web today. The ads are also available over at the Windows Phone YouTube Channel. While the Smoked by Windows Phone has had its moments of controversy, the campaign has brought a lot of attention to how well our Windows Phones measures up against the competition.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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First out of the gate from CTIA 2012 in New Orleans is the Samsung Focus 2. The follow-up to the (wait for it ...) Samsung Focus brings a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 8GB of internal storage and it's rocking a 1.4 GHz processor. And as was confirmed by the official specs earlier today, it's got a 1750 mAh battery. 

The Focus 2 actually is a tad heavier than its predecessor, but it's in a slightly smaller form factor. It feels decent enough in the hand. It's definitely got a plastic feel to it, which you'd expect from a Samsung phone. But, indeed, for an entry-level device, you're not going to be ashamed to pull this one out of your pocket. And it's always nice to see a dedicated camera button on the side of a phone.

Other items of note: It'll be available May 20 for $49.99 on contract ($19.99 on upgrade). We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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Early today AT&T announced the latest 4G LTE Windows Phone to their line-up, the Samsung Focus 2. There wasn't much on specs available with the announcement but the Focus 2 is now up on Samsung.com with a full specs list.

The entry level Windows Phone measures 4.79 x 2.47 x .43 inches and weighs only 4.3 ounces. Comparatively, this is a smidgen smaller, thicker and heavier than the original Focus (4.84x2.56x.39 inches and 4.1 ounces).

The Focus 2 has a 4" Super AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel rear camera, VGA front, 8 gigabytes of storage, and a 1.4ghz processor. Everything is powered by a 1750mah battery.  On paper, the Focus 2 makes for a nice entry level Windows Phone.

The Focus 2 will be available in glossy white and will run $49.99 after contractual discounts. Look for it at AT&T on May 20, 2012 and you can sign up for email notifications over at AT&T's Focus 2 site.

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Want to get a whole new Live ID and start fresh with Microsoft? Here's how to transfer your account.

Microsoft's Live ID (soon to be renamed "Microsoft Account") is the key to all things from Redmond these days. Whether it’s your Xbox 360, SkyDrive, Live Mail, Zune Pass, App Hub account, Messenger or Windows Phone, your Live ID is at the heart.

The question is what if you want to change your Live ID?

Here we don't mean switching just on the phone, which unfortunately requires a hard-reset (and no, we don't have a work around for that, sorry). Instead, we're talking about what if you have an old Hotmail.com email account and you want a new Live.com one instead? Maybe you're not happy with your current user name or like us, you have used your Hotmail account since 2002 as a glorified spam experiment.

We'll walk you through the process of getting a new Live ID and making sure all your other services back-propagate to reflect the change keeping all of your services intact.

Read on after the break for our guide...

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AT&T has announced yet another 4G LTE Windows Phone, the Samsung Focus 2 which looks exactly like the SGH-i667 "Mandel" we saw this weekend.. The Focus 2 will be available May 20th in pure white for $49.99 after contractual discounts.  The Focus 2 will run $399.99 off contract.

Spec wise, the Focus 2 sports a 4" Super AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel camera with 720p video capabilities, front facing VGA camera and is 4g LTE compatible. The Focus 2 measures only .43 inches thick and weighs in at 4.3 ounces.

The Samsung Focus 2 joins the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T's 4G LTE Windows Phone lineup and presents customers with an economical entry point for the Windows Phone experience.

You can catch the full press release on the Samsung Focus 2 after the break.

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We just got a report in that the venerable (and underrated) HTC Mozart is receiving a Windows Phone "Tango" update. The news comes form the personal blog of Aviraj Ajgekar, who is a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft Corporation.

That puts him pretty high up there as far as credibility. What's more, he documented the whole experience noting that his Mozart (we assume un-branded) received no less than three updates, going from OS build 8112.7 to 8773.98 to 8779.8, putting it just slightly ahead of what we understand to be "standard" Tango or Windows Phone Mango, Commercial Release 3 (CR3).

The whole update only took a few minutes to download mostly due to the fact that "Tango" only offers a few fixes and updates to the OS (mostly around enhancing MMS).

No word if HTC is pushing this out for their other devices but we have a feeling we'll be reporting on this a lot more for HTC phones very soon.

Carriers are reportedly going to push out Tango in June while unbranded devices presumably will get it earlier. Nokia already has the Lumia 710 Tango ROM completed with internet sharing on board and we expect the Lumia 800 and 900 to get it as well.

Update: Aviraj has deleted the post from his blog and no one else is reportedly getting this update. Is yet another Microsoft employee being misinformed or was this an internal update for testing?

Source: Aviraj Ajgekar's Blog; Thanks, Joe (@astroXP), for the tip!

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Recently, Microsoft announced some recent changes to the Windows Phone Marketplace for developers that would also affect consumers. The changes were divided into four areas, including trademarks, bulk publishing, keywords and content policy. What concerns us here is the trademarks section.

In short, apps that violate trademarks of other companies are now subject to more restrictive oversight in the Marketplace. Microsoft had this to say on the matter, which is a fair position:

"When a trademark or copyright owner contacts us about a suspected violation, we investigate and pull apps when the complaint is valid. Lately we’ve been doing more of this, especially for trademark misuse. Sometimes the requests come from the owners of big, well-known brands. Other times they come from new brands. Either way, we often find trademark violations are unintentional: some developers just aren’t clear on what constitutes a violation. But these investigations—and the time and money they can cost—can be avoided by doing a little homework before submitting or updating your app."

A few curious examples of this actually do exist in the Windows Phone Marketplace, some of which you'll be familiar with including YouTube Pro, gMaps, YouTube Live and YouTube Downloader.

Did you notice anything in common with those? If you said those sound like Google names, you would be right and evidently Google are rightly flexing their muscle on the matter, sending out copyright infringement complaints to numerous developers over their use of their trademarked names.

The developer of YouTube Live, which we've covered before, just received such a notice which is partially re-printed below:

"This message is to notify you that Microsoft has received Content Infringement Complaint (“Complaint”) regarding your application Youtube Live. A copy of the Complaint is attached for your review.

Remove Application Access Immediately

You must remove access to the application from the Marketplace within one business day.  If your application is still available for download after one business day,Microsoft may remove the application without further notice.  Please note that under certain circumstances Microsoft may remove your app immediately without providing you the opportunity to remove it."

While this is certainly a blow to many of our favorite developers on the platform, it should not come too much as a surprise that these apps infringe on Google's ownership of those names. Of course, being as we're more of a Microsoft site and Google is not on good terms with Windows Phone this will certainly rub people the wrong way. Especially since Google has not bothered to support Windows Phone at all with their services.

Having said that, Google is technically in the right here and we don't begrudge them for taking action. We also want to let devs know that Microsoft is serious about this copyright stuff so give some thought to your app's name before Marketplace submission, m'kay?

We hope to see these outstanding apps back in the Marketplace soon but under new names.

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Microsoft has announced an upcoming Windows Phone developer summit, which will be held in San Francisco on June 20-21. The company is set to activate plans to attract more developers and big-name brands to the platform. One of the major complaints with Windows Phone is the lack of popular apps that are available on competitor platforms.

Microsoft has done a good job thus far with bringing companies to Windows Phone to build apps for consumers and broaden the Marketplace inventory. Some developers are even swayed without the software giant intervening - Windows Phone owners have proven to be a stubborn bunch when it comes to showing interest in a much desired port. DrawSomething is a good example of this with the community urging the developers to support Windows Phone.

What's interesting to note about this developer summit is that it's a week before Google I/O 2012, and is even in the same city. It would be a smart move for Microsoft to make it as convenient as possible for developers on other platforms to attend their Windows Phone event. Even if the attendees show no interest in building apps, for them to actually be present during the presentations could be enough to motivate the poor souls.

We'll of course be there for the event should you not be able to make it.

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Yesterday we posted a story from the Korea Herald that quoted an LG spokesperson saying that they were backing away from Windows Phone and putting their efforts towards Android instead. LG did say they would “continue research and development efforts” on Microsoft's OS but had no immediate plans for any new devices.

Today, LG has reached out to Pocket-lint to clarify the message and they're taking a strong position that the Herald, who literally quoted someone from LG was speculating:

"None of it is true. Korea Herald is showing its speculative side again. We are still on board with Windows Phone, but right now, we're focusing on Android because that's where the demand is. Regardless of which OS, LG is committed to offering consumers as wide a choice as possible."

Pocket-lint is reading that as a denial but call us crazy, we're not seeing to be that different from what we reported yesterday.

The tone of the article from yesterday made it clear that LG is certainly backing away from Windows Phone and the fact they have had no new Mango phones and nothing launched here in the US backs that up. In fact, when we were at Mobile World Congress we asked an LG spokesperson where were their Windows Phones and they said they had none, just Android (there was one but it was in Microsoft's booth).

To us this sounds a bit like LG spin mode and they're downplaying those earlier comments as just being too strong. It's not that LG is abandoning Microsoft and Windows Phone, they're simply just ignoring them for an indefinite amount of time while they focus on Android, where the money is. That's a completely different message, right?

But the real question is do you think we'll see any new LG Windows Phones in the next six months? We don't.

Source: Pocket-lint

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We all want to see quality apps and games in the Windows Phone Marketplace.  With that in mind Microsoft is working to beef up the enforcement of existing policies to keep the "quality bar" high with the Marketplace.  While policy compliance will be expected across the board, Microsoft notes four areas where the concern is slightly higher.

Trademarks: While trademark complaint investigations find that the violation is unintentional, most can be avoided. Microsoft reminds developers to do their due diligence in researching any potential trademark issues. Resource suggestions from Microsoft include the Marketplace's content policy and the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office.

Bulk Publishing: We've seen plenty of bulk publishing where developers submit hundreds of similar apps with slightly different titles. While Microsoft has reduced the number of titles a developer can submit per day, they are still seeing violations.

Developers are submitting the same app to multiple Marketplace categories (a policy violation). Microsoft's position, if a developer submits the same app to multiple categories, the app will be pulled from the Marketplace.

The other issue on bulk publishing that Microsoft brings up is duplicating the Marketplace title image with closely related apps. The title images can not be duplicate or near duplicates of each other.  They use this as an example of what isn't acceptable title images.

Keywords: Marketplace policy allows for a developer to submit five keywords for an app. The keywords are short phrase or word to help describe the app and helps with... well... keyword searches.

Some developers are violating this policy by submitting more than five keywords. Microsoft is beginning to enforce this policy not only with the number of words but also the relevancy of the words (for example using Skydrive for a recipe app). Any app with more than five keywords will have all the keywords deleted. Any keyword not relevant to the app will be deleted.

Content Policy: This may be the most challenging area for Microsoft to control. What some may see as acceptable, others may see it as inappropriate. Here's Microsoft's approach:

Our content policies are clearly spelled out: we don’t allow apps containing “sexually suggestive or provocative” images or content. What we do permit is the kind of content you occasionally see on prime-time TV or the pages of a magazine’s swimsuit issue.

Microsoft will begin reviewing Marketplace apps with respect to icons, titles and the content of the apps. They will be looking for more "subtle and modest" imagery and wording. Here are a few tile images that would pass certification:

Content not meeting the standards will need to be modified or pulled from the Marketplace.  Microsoft will begin reaching out to developers with more specific details on how to get apps within compliance.

It's nice to see Microsoft continue to take steps to maintain the quality of apps and games we find on the Marketplace.  Should you run across Marketplace listings that violate Marketplace policies, you can report them by emailing reportapp@microsoft.com. Include the URL with details of the issue and Microsoft will investigate.

Source: Windows Team Blog; Thanks, Sabita, for the tip!

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