Articles

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Public Beta for the Xbox LIVE update opens up again

Xbox LIVE

Earlier this summer Microsoft opened up a public beta for the 2012 Xbox Live Update with limited space available for testers. It didn't take long for Microsoft to fill all the seats and due the the amount of interest received, the public beta is once again open for enrollment.

Space is still limited and you can sign up here to receive the Public Beta.  You'll need to agree to a non-disclosure agreement and take a short survey.

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WP Central

Although these are not Xbox LIVE games, the 1983 classic arcade and sequel to Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, is headed to the Xbox 360 as an Indie Arcade game this Friday. In addition, a version for Windows Phone is coming with it at or around the same time (we all know how hard it can be for timing).

The game Jet Set Willy should be a lot of fun for those who enjoy some retro gameplay on their modern devices as the port looks is official, being handled by Elite Systems Ltd. That company has also brought their previous ZX Spectrum games to iOS in the past. From the company’s press release...

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WP Central

The familiar Recycle Bin, coming to SkyDrive soon?

With the new SkyDrive having been rolled out last week with the new modern UI, it looks like Microsoft still has some plans for the service for adding new features.

One of those features being planned is evidently a Recycle Bin, which has been found via the coding within the site itself and was earlier tipped to LiveSide.net back in the spring.

No details have been given as to the exact functionality of such a feature but it’s easy to assume that it will allow you un-delete items for a period of 30 days or so as a sort of safety-net for your content. Any delay in rolling out this feature most likely has to do with getting the service up and running via their mobile apps, since they will also need to be updated for this tool.

No word on exact release dates but at the rate which Microsoft is moving these days, it probably won’t be too long.

Source: LiveSide.net

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WP Central

Me pondering what we look for from developers

If you’re a Windows Phone developer and want a peek behind the current on Windows Phone Central and our process on app reviews, you’ll want to head to the AdDuplex blog. AdDuplex as many of you know powers the developer promotion network behind many Windows Phone apps (and now Windows 8) and the service’s creator, Alan Mendelevich, was curious as to what we look for when developers contacts us.

Ah yes, the table has turned as we’re the ones being interviewed!

The conversation was with myself and Alan asks some really great questions, such as how many app-review requests we get, what we look for in those emails, are dedicated app-websites beneficial and more. Basically if you’re a developer it’s a roadmap on how best to get your app noticed by us for a potential review. (The first step though is the app or game better be good).

You can read that full interview here at the AdDuplex blog. And if you’re more curious about Alan and his role in Windows Phone, you can read our interview with him from February.

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WP Central Nokia Lumia 900 Photo Contest Winners

Over the weekend, to recognize the improvements the Windows Phone Tango Update delivered to our Nokia Lumia 900 cameras, we held an impromptu photo contest. The only limitation was your imagination and that the photos needed to be taken with an updated Lumia.

We received a fantastic number of entries and a lot of quality photos. The winners were drawn at random to receive a $50 Gift Card to the Windows Phone Central Accessory Store.

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Nokia 59% Market Share Of Windows Phone sales July 2012

Statistics from Localytics are showing that Nokia is now the key supplier of Windows Phones handsets worldwide. Whilst this news might not surprise many considering Nokias considerable push in the retail channels, it does paint an interesting picture of the state of play with the three main manufacturers. According to Localytics survey, Nokia is now clearly in pole position as of July with 59% of total sales.

While the survey shows Nokia winning in market share it also illustrates the rise of sales in Windows Phone units from January until the present.  Interestingly the growth looks almost to be exclusively with Nokia, the other device maker’s shipments look to have remained almost static since April.

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39

Windows 8 Upgrade offer now open for registration

Windows 8 Upgrade Offer

If you've purchased a Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 you are eligible for a discounted upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. When it releases you'll be able to upgrade your relatively new PC for only $14.99.

In order to take advantage of the Windows 8 upgrade offer you'll need to register online over at the Windows Upgrade Offer website. Up until today the site was simply a "Coming Soon" placard but today the site opened up to accept registration from eligible users.

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WP Central

Sync, damn you, sync!

Syncing multiple calendars is never fun. It’s even less fun across various services, like Gmail to Outlook.com for instance, which is the focus of this tutorial.

We recently had to solve this problem for ourselves because although like you we primarily use our Hotmail/Live Mail/Outlook.com calendar for all events, we sometimes need to have our external Google calendar sync to our phone too.

There are a few ways to go about this but we’re going to show you the more unified approach that we prefer. It’s a bit tricky and nearly caused us to punch our wall a few times to figure it out. But for you, it will be dead simple and should literally take you no more than 5 minutes.

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WP Central

Another Monday, another questionable story about marketshare and smartphones is making its way around the tech blogs. This one centers on data collected by StatCounter, a site that collects data usage on browsing habits. They claim to gather data on more than 3 million websites and 15 billion page views per month, making them one of the largest aggregating companies around.

Recently, WMPoweruser ran a story that looked at browser data for RIM versus Windows Phone in the United States. Assuming all the respective trajectories stay on the same course, it looks like Windows Phone may overtake RIM sometime in November of this year. But is that the whole story?

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Flight Status heading to Windows Phone?

Flight Status is a popular travel app over on the iOS and Android systems from Touchmeme and we're getting word that a Windows Phone version is in the works. According to Touchmeme,

Yes, we are going to produce the app for windows Phone soon. Our team is working for that.

We don't have any more details beyond that.  Nothing on features, pricing or appearance for the Windows Phone version.  But, if you look at the iPhone version's features and layout, Flight Status doesn't look too shabby. 

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Plants and Zombies to battle it out once again in Spring 2013

It looks like plants and zombies will be battling it out once again for dominion over your front lawn. PopCap Games, makers of the wildly popular first installment of  Plants vs. Zombies, announced today in a press release that a sequel to the tower defense-style game will be slated for a "late spring" release in 2013. Though no specifics were mentioned, PopCap indicated that the sequel will "include a bevy of new features, settings, and situations, designed to delight the franchise's tens of millions of fans around the world."

An unidentified spokesperson connected to game had this to say:

"Spring is crullest curlie ungood time, and plantz grow dull roots. So, we are meating you for brainz at yore house. No worry to skedule schedlue plan... we're freee anytime. We'll find you."

The Seattle-based maker of such hit games as Bejeweled and Peggle was acquired by entertainment powerhouse, EA Games, last year. Plants vs. Zombies was a huge success, spanning multiple platforms including, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, PC and Windows Phone. We expect the same kind of widespread availability for the sequel as well although no platform-specifics were given at this time.

Looking at the close relationship between PopCap, EA, Microsoft and Nokia, we do expect a Windows Phone 8 tie-in.

See the entire press release after the break.

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GSIII WP8 MOCKUP White

We knew a while back about the proposed Odyssey and Marco handsets from Samsung. Well it looks like some more detailed specs and pricing has emerged. With Windows Phone 8 only a whisper away from being launched it seems as if the leaks just keeps on coming.

Samsung are one of Microsoft’s launch partners and it looks like we can expect some impressive hardware for this round of devices. One device is reported to have a 4” screen and the other a whopping 4.8” HD AMOLED display.. Rumour caution is advised in lieu of an official announcement.

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WP Central

Before the movie...

Nokia and the Dark Knight Batman franchise have been buddy-buddy for the last few months and with the movie finally winding down in theaters, it’s about time to add a prologue, no?

We mentioned the existence of the Prologue app when the companion Origins comic was released as it was specifically referenced within that app. The app itself is just a mini-comic dealing with some events before the movie.  Actually, it’s a bit more than that as it’s called a “motion comic”.

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Oxford OALD

For those that are looking to advance their skills in English, Oxford has recently launched their best seller for Windows Phone.  The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary app contains a full A-Z dictionary and samples of British and North American speakers to help tailor your desired skill set. We certainly love to see more official apps filling in those blanks, and this looks like a good one.

A word of note here to those with razor thin amounts of space on their handsets, this app is going to require a 450MB download after you grab the initial app.

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34

HTC to book loss of $40 million US with OnLive

HTC Loss Image

Financial news for HTC continues to get worse with the company now chalking up another $40m (US) loss. From underperforming on smartphone sales to “restructuring” its investment in Beats audio, HTC is not having a good time of it. The hit this time comes from the cloud gaming service OnLive.

HTC’s hope, was that cloud gaming could help bring high end games to those without the beefy hardware to pull it off. Other big players such as AT&T, Autodesk and Warner Bros also had a stake. OnLive almost went bankrupt due to the huge investment it needed to make on infrastructure to power their gaming service.

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Howdy folks, your grouchy but occasionally lovable editor here for our new segment, appropriately titled From the Editor’s Desk. (Truth be told, it’s more of a couch-n-laptop kind of setup rather than a desk, because that’s how I roll).

Here at Mobile Nations, all the site editors are doing these posts on Sundays as a way to recap the week’s news, our opinions on things and anything coming up. I encourage you to check out iMore, Android Central and CrackBerry for their often hilarious insight. As usual, I’m a bit behind them but I’m slowly catching up.

This past week we had an odd combo of August-slowness combined with breaking leaks of new Nokia phones. There was also that Metro-controversy, which turned out to be nothing and of course Nokia and Microsoft announcing that they’re going steady…err...having a press conference.

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WP Central

O iPlayer, Where Art Thou?

The on again, off again saga of iPlayer for the BBC and Windows Phone has been toying with anxious readers for months now. At first the Inquirer said it was coming and then Pocket-lint effectively squashed that rumor just three days later, leaving consumers with little hope for an effective media solution.

The hope was always that Nokia would some how come in and save the day for Windows Phone users but alas, that does not seem to be the case. One of our readers, Paul A., emailed the BBC asking for information as to their reasons for not supporting Windows Phone. Surprisingly, Daniel Danker who is the General Manager of Programmes & On Demand for the BBC gave a very thorough response to Paul’s question as to why there is no Windows Phone support.

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WP Central

Back at the end of May, Microsoft surprisingly turned off the Windows Phone Marketplace from Zune Desktop. The “update” wasn’t software based but instead just altered a configuration file on the user’s computer, causing the Marketplace to be hidden.

We ended up using a simple hack (more of that below) to bring ours back but now a user in our forum (“rockstarzzz”) is claiming that they’ve received another feature-change notification…

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WP Central

Give us that sweet, sweet native code

Okay, we’re going to be honest here (and snarky) as we’re not that psyched for a landing page, in fact we can’t believe we’re writing this story. But for developers out there itching to get their hands on the new SDK for Windows Phone 8, we do like to throw them a bone every once in awhile to get them excited.

Yes, evidently last night developer Robert McLaws managed to find the elusive page which is now serving as a place-holder until Microsoft gives the green light for its release.  The page can be found at https://dev.windowsphone.com/en-us/featured/windows-phone-8-sdk, which depending on how much of a nerd you are may or may not get your blood pumping (we won’t judge as we stayed up watching anime till 6am last night).

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Pirate Cat

Fly on your way like an eagle , Fly as high as the sun

We last mentioned Pirate Cat back in May when it first launched. The game was initially offered for free as an introductory offer and turned out to be quite the mini-hit. The game is similar to a “jumper” where you need to reach a certain height but instead of leaping, your character (an ambitious feline) flies to the moon. You do this by launching your slingshot at birds, collecting their feathers and grabbing power ups along the way. Featuring catchy music and unique graphics, the game quickly won our hearts.

We’re now happy to report that version 1.1 is available in the Marketplace with the following new features and improvements...

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Football Pro 13 for Windows Phone

Are you ready, for some Football? Well are ya?

An update to Football Pro '12 (formerly known as NFL Pro '12) has been updated over at the Windows Phone Marketplace in preparation for the upcoming season. While the Marketplace title stills reflects the Football Pro '12 name, the version 2.0 update takes the app to Football Pro '13.

Confused? So were we but apparently it takes a while before the Marketplace will reflect the name change for the app. What you're looking for is version 2.0. Once you run the Football Pro, you'll see things setup for the 2013 season within the app itself.  Even though the title is dated '12.

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NAB App for Windows Phone

If you bank in Australia and have a Windows Phone, the National Australian Bank (NAB) has released their Windows Phone app to help you keep track of your banking needs. The NAB App allows you to access services on the go such as:

  • Balance Inquiry
  • Transaction History
  • Transfer funds to linked accounts
  • Pay bills
  • View your NAB online trading portfolio

Your access to the National Australian Bank is secured by a four digit passcode and data is protected with 128 bit encryption.

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Fhotoroom for Windows Phone updated

Fhotoroom is a popular photo editing app for your Windows Phone that not only allows you to edit your images but also has a social networking aspect to it.  Editing includes basic tools such as cropping, exposure edits, and rotating the image as well as filters and frames.  Edited images can be saved to your SkyDrive account, Windows Phone as well as shared on the Fhotoroom Photo Sharing Network (free registration required).  The network will let you show off your images with other Fhotoroom users, get and give feedback and message other members.

Fhotoroom was recently updated to version 2.0 which brings a major overhaul to the photography app.  The update not only brings new features to the editor, social network and in-house camera but also brings a new layout and user interface to the app.  You also have the routine bug fixes and performance tweaks.

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Cyan Mobile Mouse 3500

Microsoft all of a sudden loves cyan & magenta, we wonder why. Oh, right...

Throw this under just observations we’ve noticed in the last few months with some of Microsoft’s new hardware but it looks to us like they are adopting some of Nokia’s more bold design efforts.

The latest being the usage of cyan and magenta for some of their hardware, like the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500, which gained two new Nokia colors this week.

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