Yesterday we did an extensive run through of Nokia Maps 3.0 on Windows Phone 8, and now the underlying maps platform has been enhanced it has picked up some nice new features. Today we see the arrival of the Beta version of Nokia Drive+
Drive+ picks up some nice additions that we’re sure many existing Nokia Drive users will really appreciate, chief amongst them is the ability to fine tune how you want your journey to be planned and improved multitasking. We take a good look at what's new.
Perhaps it shouldn't be "odd" to see Verizon promoting Windows Phone, after all, the powerhouse US carrier is planning on selling not one, but three Windows Phones this year: Lumia 822, HTC 8X and the unspecified Samsung Odyssey (expected to have a 4" S-AMOLED display, WVGA resolution, and a 5MP camera)
Still, you know things are changing when you see a nice ad right on Verizon Wireless's front page with the line "Introducing The new Windows Phone. So advanced, it's actually simple."
We dig that tag line. And we're glad to see Verizon onboard with Windows Phone. Thanks, Andrew K., for the tip!
MetroTube for many Windows Phone users is the be-all, end-all for your mobile YouTube experience. With a slick design and excellent performance there’s little wonder.
Here at BUILD we were able to catch up with the developers behind MetroTube (and the new Windows 8 Twitter app Tweetro) for quick look at the upcoming update that will bring some new Windows Phone 8 features, including doublewide tiles and a new preloading feature (basically downloading for offline viewing).
In addition, we got a preliminary look at MetroTube for Windows 8 RT, which we can confirm is now officially in the works for your Surface.
Back in October, China Times reported that Microsoft was working on a self-branded Windows Phone for release sometime in 2013. Shortly after, tech site BGR also reported that they had heard similar information. Likewise, we went on record with our own source stating that indeed, Microsoft has a device in the works.
Now, the venerable Wall Street Journal is going on record with a source of their own stating that Microsoft “…is working with component suppliers in Asia to test its own smartphone design” although they are unsure if they are going to go into production with it. The device is reportedly between 4 and 5 inches, which as far as phones go is quite vague. No other details were provided and of course, Microsoft had no comment.
The official Foursquare app for Windows Phone just got bumped to version 2.12 and includes “bug fixes, Thai and Indonesian languages added and application compatibility with Windows Phone 8”. All of that sounds good and people may be wondering what “compatibility with Windows Phone 8” actually means. Turns out, not much.
What we mean by that is there are no new functions here—no fast app resume, no doublewide tile, nothing for the Lockscreen, etc. It just means it should work properly on Windows Phone 8 and indeed, it does. We’re not knocking Foursquare as we’re sure they’ll release a WP8 version in the near future, but as of right now, this is quite minor.
One of the big new features for Windows Phone 8 is the ability to finally do over-the-air (OTA) updates to the OS—either for big things or little fixes. Previously, we could check for updates but if one were found, you had to head home to your PC and plug in the phone to install (including performing a full backup). Now, things are more streamlined.
In an article over at Mobility Minded, details of the update process were posted, giving a look at what users can expect with these updates. The updates are listed as manual or automatic, with the latter being downloaded behind the scenes and the former involving tapping in Settings to see if there is an update.
If you like sending text messages (SMS) on Windows Phone, you'll love the new emoticon system that Microsoft has put in place. Previously, Windows Phone allowed you to easily send some basic smileys and if you wanted some more advanced symbols, you had to dig out some codes or use a 3rd party app.
This time around, Microsoft put in a selector at the bottom with visible choices for each symbol. You even have categories like faces, food, symbols and more. If you use the same symbols repeatedly, they will show up in a frequently used area for quick access the next time you message.
We should also point out that they work in all apps. We used them in Kik messenger with no issues (they just don't have color). All in all, it's these small changes that make Windows Phone 8 quite an improvement.
While Verizon is slated to offer the HTC 8X Windows Phone, the company may go a step further and add wireless charging to the 8X.
The variation will be similar to what we've seen with the Nokia Lumia 920 and will not add any bulk to the phone. Speculation has the wireless or contact charging feature being an exclusive to the U.S. market.
If this holds true, wireless charging will be an interesting option to help the 8X compete with the Lumia 920.