Articles

ZTE

The Samsung Focus or ZTE Orbit?

The US Congressional Intelligence Committee has labeled Huawei and ZTE as security threat to the US and is advising firms to not do business with them. This follows after an 11-month investigation into both companies where their cooperation on certain matters was, according to the committee, sufficiently lacking.

The charges (at least for Huawei) go back a few years here in the US where they were accused of high-level espionage of Nortel, with some even alleging that their IP theft helped destroy the company (see the excellent CNBC documentary on it here).

Cisco and Motorola have also accused Huawei of either stealing IP or their own employees to gain knowledge of those companies. In addition, charges of bribery, corruption and discriminatory behavior have been alleged too.

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Lumia 920

Lumia 920 reveals Windows Phone 8 features

Windows Phone Central forum member Blackwood504 noticed some interesting potential improvements / features in a Lumia 920 hands-on video that could well be in Windows Phone 8, so he decided to take screenshots and publish his interpretations of what's being shown in our forums. French website Test-Mobile.fr got their hands on a yellow Lumia 920 and decided to take it for a spin.

We're able to see functionality and features in their video that aren't present in the latest builds of Windows Phone 7.5. So what do we believe has been revealed in the hands-on action?

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Take it for what it's worth but Rovio has announced a new Angry Birds game for our Windows Phone. Angry Birds Star Wars combines the gaming action of Angry Birds with the settings of the Star Wars movies.

According to Peter Vesterbacka, CMO of Rovio,

"This is the best Angry Birds game we’ve ever done. It’s the best parts of Angry Birds with all new cutting-edge gameplay set in in a galaxy far, far away. As a big Star Wars fan myself, I’m really excited about this new universe. The Force is definitely strong with this one."

Angry Birds Star Wars is expected to become available worldwide on November 8th and was developed for iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, OSX, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.  The wording of the presser leaves us uncommitted to a Windows Phone date. While November 8th is revealed as the launch of the game, the official wording does not connect that date to all platforms, which we would find difficult to believe as launching simultaneously. 

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MS Store App

We’ve been talking a lot about Microsoft’s Retail Store efforts lately and with the shopping season kicking off soon, those temporary “Holiday stores” are gearing up to open too. But what if you don't know where those are yet?

The official Microsoft Store App for Windows Phone received a nice update over the weekend whereby it now lists those holiday stores. By simply swiping under Store Locations and Coming Soon you can see all the stores across the US that are opening on the 26th just in time for Windows 8 (and Windows Phone 8).

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Xbox Extras

Released too early to the Store?

We’re not sure what’s going with the Windows Phone Store, but there sure are some oddities occurring. Last week we reported that the amazing Adobe Reader update to version 10.1 was being downgraded in a follow up update—that is still the case with version 9.0 being the only version in the Store for some regions, including the US.

Now, Xbox Extras, which we had reported as being refreshed to remove the “LIVE” branding is now also either being reverted in a second update or is gone altogether from the Store. When we try to search for the app we have found it’s been de-listed/hidden from public view. Trying the direct link display the old version but it is unable to be downloaded just yet.

We’re starting to suspect that these were actually Windows Phone 8 app refreshes to coincide with the big launch at the end of the month—after all, they were both major makeovers or re-brands—but maybe they were set loose a little too early in the Store and now Microsoft is trying to put the genie back in the bottle.

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Broken HTC

HTC continues on its downward spiral

HTC has published its financial results for Q3 2012, showing a continuous fall in revenues that we've witnessed through previous reports. The company braced itself for a tough Q3 and revenues were expected to be in the region of NT$70-80 billion for this quarter. Hitting the nail on the head in the estimation, HTC's net revenue was $2.397 (NT$70.2 billion) for the months July through September, down from $3 billion (NT$91.04 billion) in Q2.

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Nokia Lumias

Nokia's Windows Phone 8 line-up

We've seen Nokia poke fun at Samsung in the past by welcoming the company back to Windows Phone, as well as attacking its Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5 marketing campaign. Nokia has failed to show signs of ceasing, and now the Finnish manufacturer has taken to Twitter in Italy to slam competing manufacturers and boast the specifications of the Lumia 920. The flagship Windows Phone is the company's bottled hopes and dreams running Microsoft's next generation mobile operating system.

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Xbox on Windows Phone Achievement Guide: Extraction

Extraction: Project Outbreak Achievement Guide

Extraction: Project Outbreak differs from what we’ve come to expect from Chillingo games on Windows Phone. Besides a complete lack of cuteness, it’s also pretty tough! At first players will have to come to grips with the game’s unique controls. Then they’ll encounter a steep rise in difficulty that seems designed to encourage spending money on PDLC and/or pad the length of the game more than anything else.

Thankfully your favorite Windows Phone Central game reviewer/ninja has unlocked all 20 of Extraction’s Achievements and will now help you do the same.

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This Week: Buy a Seidio ACTIVE Case (with Metal Kickstand) for Nokia Lumia 900 and save $16.00!

Created for those that have and want to maintain their active lifestyle in mind, the Seidio ACTIVE Case provides great shock and impact absorption while adding minimal bulk to your Lumia 900. This two-layer case features a compact and lightweight rubber polymer with a precisely positioned hard skeleton for added protection. Comes in black, blue, red, purple, white and features a fold-out kickstand.

List Price: $34.95     This Week: $18.95

Learn More and Buy Now

Never miss a deal. Sign up for Weekly Deal alerts!

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Nokia Transport

Nokia has released a beta update to its Transport solution for Windows Phone. The app is now available as version 2.3 at Nokia Beta Labs for consumers to download and test out available new features. Nokia Transport is a useful tool at a Lumia owner's disposal that enables the user to plan a journey in a covered location using public transport.

Supporting trains, buses, walking, Nokia Transport can also relay what stations and stops are nearby using the location of the device. But the service doesn't simply halt at providing detailed information about public transport. When journeys are planned, Nokia Transport details the road / station of interchange, as well as the total estimated duration of the journey.

And of course, POI (Points Of Interest) are included. So, what's new in the 2.3 beta?

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Track My Life updated, time machine feature added

Track My Life updated

We took a look the Windows Phone app Track My Life a while ago and found it to be a decent GPS tracking app for your Windows Phone. Track My Life charts your travels to give you an idea of where you've been and where you spend the most time at. The developers have been busy updating the app to improve things and incorporate suggestions from users. The latest version is 3.0 and adds a Time Machine feature to the app.

What is the Time Machine you ask? The Time Machine feature lets you select what data range you want to display on Track My Life. You have options to look at the past week, past month or a custom setting where you can go back months.

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Lumia 920

Swisscom, a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland, has announced via Twitter the carrier will be looking to launch the Lumia 920 late-November, which has been pushed back from earlier reported dates. According to WParea.de, the Nokia Windows Phone was originally slated for mid-November availability with December being the month when the smartphone hits the Swisscom stores.

Unfortunately the tweet that was published earlier today doesn't contain any further information on ordering or pricing.

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Windows Phone Hacker as returned to an earlier project called Dynamic Background with some significant updates previewed in his latest video.

The app brings a feature that will be present in Windows Phone 8—the ability to automatically change and update the Lock Screen wallpaper via at least two sources: your own arsenal or Bing’s daily image. The new version now has an update interval selector and quite a nice UI, ensuring that users should get the most out of such an app.

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MS Store

Microsoft Store at the Plaza Las Americas 

Speaking of Windows Phone retail promotions, Microsoft is now set to open its first store in Puerto Rico on Thursday, November 1st at the Plaza Las Americas shopping center.

That’s a very opportune time as the Microsoft Surface will have gone on sale just a few days earlier and new Windows Phone 8 devices should be available in that store that very weekend (or soon thereafter).

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WP Central

Nokia has done direct marketing and sales in Europe but never in the US

From a new job posting that was sent in to Windows Phone Central, it appears that Nokia will be hiring folks from November 12th through December 31st to work in direct retail situations in mall kiosks and shops in the US.

The job requests are smartly being targeted at colleges where students could surely use the extra money and who would be more familiar with the nomenclature. We’re actually a bit excited to see this as it ties in nicely with Microsoft’s own Holiday stores and kiosks that are appearing in malls across the country.

The jobs are part-time or full-time, pay between $15-17 an hour with a completion bonus on hand. Candidates are to have past retail experience, a knowledge of technology and of course passion for the job.

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Verizon's HTC 8X passing through FCC and beyond

HTC 8X

The HTC 8X is well on its way to Verizon

We're aware that Verizon is most probably going to stock the HTC 8X - in fact, it's pretty much a certainty. Not only has the Windows Phone been confirmed to be heading to the US carrier by its own roadmap, but HTC also hinted in one of its press releases.

If that weren't enough, a HTC 8X video sports a Verizon 4G LTE logo on the rear panel of one of the featured models. Just to ensure there's little doubt left. Here's some more good news as today it has been reported that the FCC has cleared the HTC 8X for docking.

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Samsung ATIV S

Rum: 7

Canadian network Rogers is to stock the Samsung ATIV S, according to an unconfirmed source who tipped MobileSyrup. The Samsung Windows Phone was unveiled at the company's event earlier this year at IFA in Berlin. Bell is also reported to be looking to launch the ATIV S, which will provide more affordable choice for Canadians should both carriers compete.

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Three UK HTC 8X Windows Phone pricing leaked

HTC 8X

Three UK's sensible pricing for the HTC 8X is revealed

Three UK has what it will charge customers for the HTC 8X Windows Phone leaked. According to images published by GSMArena, the carrier will be setting a price point of £349 should it be purchased on PAYG (Pay As You Go - locked to the network). If you're up for a new contract, the soon-to-be-released smartphone can be yours from £34/mo with an up-front fee of £29.

The carrier is stocking not only HTC's flagship Windows Phone at launch, but the HTC 8S will as well. While no pricing was revealed for the latter in GSMArena's report, it'll be interesting to see how Three prices the younger sibling with its slightly less advanced specifications. As the HTC 8X is relatively affordable for what's on offer, the 8S should appeal to many smartphone newcomers once pricing is officially announced.

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Artist Biographies Music Hub

Read all about artists in the music hub

It would appear that Microsoft is updating the Music & Video hub with new features. According to a number of Windows Phone Central readers who reside in multiple markets, the hub now pulls down and displays the biography of an artist that's currently being viewed on a Windows Phone. This functionality was restricted to the US.

When selecting an artist a new tab will appear between 'songs' and 'related' that will contain a pane of text for the consumer to read through. It's an interesting addition to the service, and appears to be unrestricted - so should you not have a Zune Pass and load your own tracks, it should still pull down the correct biography per-artist if everything is in order.  

It's good to see Microsoft roll out features and useful functionality such as this in markets outside the US. Be sure to let us know in the comments should you notice biographies now being displayed while browsing through your music collection on the go.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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WPCentral Loondon Lead

Very seldom does an Xbox for Windows Phone game get cancelled after its announcement. In fact, Microsoft hardly even announces new mobile games in advance any more, making practically every game that materializes a surprise (if its Achievements haven’t been discovered first).

It’s hard to imagine nowadays, but back in August of 2010, Microsoft announced a whopping 50 Xbox Live WP7 launch titles, most of which eventually made it to the Windows Phone Store. That said, several games on that list have never been released. A few stragglers like Real Soccer continue to trickle out even now, but we can safely assume that most or all of the rest have been quietly cancelled either by Microsoft or the original developers.

Now that the lengthy introduction is over, head past the break for our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at one such cancelled Xbox game: Loondon, from Indonesian developer Flip-n-Tale.

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Windows 8 laptops already on sale, show up on HSN

Gateway Windows 8 Laptops

The Home Shopping Network (HSN) has two Gateway Windows 8 laptops for sale, and at an attractive price too. One can pick up a 15.6" model for just $649.95, or $699.95 for the 17.3" version. Both laptops sport an Intel Core i5 processor, and come with 4GB RAM accompanied by a 500GB hard drive. While both are identical with regards to specifications, neither sports a touch screen. 

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Accuweather

We’re not sure where Nokia is headed with this one but there is now a second Accuweather app in the Windows Phone Store, but this latest one is for Nokia Lumias only.

Now before every non-Nokia owner out there throws a fit, there is no difference between this version and the open one for all Windows Phone users. In fact, it’s slightly older being at version 2.1 whereas the common app is at version 2.2. This is similar to the Nokia SoundTracker app, where as far as we know there are no differences either.

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Lumia 920

When the Nokia Lumia 920 specifications hit last month, the rather large battery (2000mAh) was touted as one of the main features, resulting in supposed “all day use”. That’s especially important for consumers on such a powerhouse of a phone since it has all of those bells and whistles on board.

The AT&T version has recently been posted on Nokia’s site and it has some updated specifications from the global version, including some new battery times. The bad news is they have been slightly marked down for the massive 4G network, most likely due to some carrier requirements resulting in some firmware changes in addition to that super fast LTE network.

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