windows phone

Should you be residing in either Spain or Portugal, you'll want to check out your Lumia Windows Phones as Nokia has just hit the green button on its Music+ service. If you're into Nokia Music, you can now upgrade to take advantage of extended functionality. For just  €3.99 a month, consumers can enjoy more mixes and advanced features not available to free subscribers.

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Shh. Can you hear that? Yup, that's the sound of a pin dropping when it comes to Microsoft shouting out and marketing Windows Phone. The company had a rather elusive presence at CES earlier this year, as well as the recent Mobile World Congress. If you ask anyone, "Who's powering Windows Phone marketing?" I bet the majority (if not everyone) will answer, "Nokia." So what's up with Microsoft?

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The Chinese side of the Windows Phone Store has had a bumpy time lately. For the last a few days, Chinese users have been experiencing problems when trying to purchase apps. Many found it impossible to download any paid app; you go through the payment process only to get an error message. The money gets accepted by the Windows Phone Store well enough, but the app license never comes. Some fairly persistent folks have tried repeatedly, paying $3 for Angry Bird Seasons in three shots. Yet they still failed to get the app at the end of the day.

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Chu Yi, a university intern in the US, has created an impressive Windows Phone video. Yi chose to make a model version of a Windows Phone, which sports interchangeable tiles to create a unique effect when coupled with post-production effects (speeding everything up). The general idea was to highlight the ability to personalise Windows Phone to suit individual characteristics. We'll have to admit we're rather impressed.

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The De La Salle University in the Philippines is taking part in a HackerCup, which will be taking place at the Microsoft Philippines Office on March 15-16th. The competition is set to promote Windows Phone by encouraging Science & Technology students with ambitious ideas to craft apps in teams of up to four participants. Nokia will be present, sponsoring the event (with Microsoft and Globe Labs) with prizes and more.

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The good news, HTC is still committed to Windows Phone and plans on releasing a new handset later this year. The bad news, whatever is released won't likely be a large screened device or share design elements with HTC's latest Android offering, the One.

Tai Ito, HTC's Vice President for Global Product Planning, commented while in attendance at Mobile World Congress 2013,

"We are actually fully committed to our Windows Phone business. We do have good collaboration with Microsoft for a future release this year. I understand that Windows Phone 8 is not as good as the market expected, we think that it could take time and we will continue working with them."

Ito added that any new HTC Windows Phones will likely not have larger screens and the company is taking a family approach to separation.

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Dev Center is a Windows Phone app from Microsoft designed to give Windows Phone developers a better handle on their app's performances.

While all the performance data is available through Microsoft's Windows Phone Dev Center website, Dev Center app puts all that information on your Windows Phone, allowing developers to track the real world performance of their apps while on the go.

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Windows Phone has struggled in the past to gain traction and attract consumers with big brand apps and hardware. Nokia gave the platform a boost in 2011, and HTC, Samsung and Huawei have stepped up their game with Windows Phone 8 handsets. So with new hardware, a more mature operating system and marketing campaigns, how's the adoption going? We have some news for the UK.

Almost one-third of new Windows Phone owners in the UK came from competing platforms, according to sales estimates from Kantar. The company reports that 700,000 new users jumped aboard the past year, in the UK alone. The data reveals that the Nokia Lumia 800 and HTC 8X both accounted for six percent of UK smartphone sales during three months ending January 2013 - up from 2.4 percent in the same period last year.

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LG has informed CNET the company has no immediate plans to support Windows Phone 8 with new hardware. While the company remains open to using Microsoft's platform in the future, it doesn't see high enough demand for another smartphone to be released. This sounds odd since Samsung (also arguably a rather conservative OEM partner) is pushing its ATIV S and Odyssey Windows Phones.

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The Windows Phone Central Podcast is back! Join Daniel and Jay as we talk about the upcoming Mobile World Congress (and what we expect), some Nokia news, new games and apps this week and as always, we take your questions.

Listen in above or watch the HD video below, your choice! Show length: 90 minutes.

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The HTC Titan is a sleek, attractive Windows Phone that still remains to be a favourite among many consumers. Now that both the 8S and 8X are readily available in multiple markets, how does one spice up the Titan to prolong (or refresh) its beauty? A fresh paint job, of course. This is also perfect if you've somehow managed to accumulate a few scratches on the back plate.

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This week Skype has been rolling out a beta of a feature called Video Messages to users. Basically you can send video messages to contacts that are up to three minutes in length. The internet has had hints of this feature since early December, so you’re stoked to try it out on your Windows Phone right? Nope. No love from Skype for any Windows users – desktop or phone.

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Nokia brings up an interesting question. Do smartphones need physical buttons?

We've seen physical buttons on our Windows Phones slowly disappear from the days when they were powered by Windows Mobile. Capacitive buttons replaced physical buttons and physical keyboards are now on-screen. But should it go further?

What remains is a power, volume and camera button. You could make a case where on-screen volume controls could replace the physical volume button and we already have a screen tap feature to capture photos. The power button may be the one physical button we can't live without but BlackBerry's Z10 shows how even that is not needed (they turn on the display by swiping the screen up, no power button).

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The International Data Corporation (IDC) has posted its Q4 2012 global results of smartphone trends and it nicely reflects yesterday’s report from Gartner. The data is both a mix of good news and bad news for Windows Phone, showing that year-over-year (YoY) growth has increased by 150% going from 1.5% market share to 2.6% in late 2012. That’s certainly a positive sign but in the context of the rest of the smartphone race, it’s still a drop in the bucket.

Android and iOS accounted for a massive 91.1% of all smartphone sales, which is quite astonishing. BlackBerry, while still ahead of Windows Phone (3.2% versus 2.6% for Q4) took a drastic drop from last year when it had a more comfortable 8.1% market share.  That’s a -43% fall for the Waterloo company, which of course can be ascribed to holding on to BlackBerry 7 for so long.

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Nearly one third of tech workers in the enterprise sector say they would prefer their next tablet to run on the Windows platform, according to a Forrester Research survey. The survey revealed that 32 percent of information workers surveyed prefer Microsoft Surface, while only 26 percent favour the iPad and 12 percent would choose Android hardware. 

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Confession: I personally started “February Fitness Month” back in mid-January and have been regularly exercising for the last few years, including a more aggressive cardio routine starting last summer. Because of this, I’ve been using the Nike FuelBand ($150) and Fitbit One ($99) for quite some time and I can definitely tell you which one I think is the best.

While I won’t do a complete teardown I will give you the pros and cons of each and as you will see, the decision between the two is very easy.

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Gartner has released their data for smartphone sales and market share for the fourth quarter in 2012 and while the data is not conclusive by itself, it does show general trends in where the market is heading.

For Microsoft and partners the picture is most certainly better than it was one year ago, which is the good news. The bad news is the hill to climb to global relevancy is still as massive as ever, mostly due to the continued growth of Android (specifically Samsung) and iOS. Meanwhile BlackBerry (formerly RIM), is still bleeding heavily prior to its transition to BB10, showing a massive decline in sales.

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