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It's time for another 'From the Forums' where we bring you only the latest and greatest threads from the Windows Phone Central community forums. If you have been absent for the past few days, this round-up will provide you with everything you need to know.

Kicking us off is rsuter who poses the question "Will WP8 beat this?", where he asked the community if they thought the next Microsoft mobile upgrade could compete with Google and Apple when it comes to voice recognition and assistance. We've already got commands that can be performed by a Windows Phone when speech is detected, but how will it evolve?

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Mush is probably the most charming platformer in the mobile Xbox Live lineup – and it’s an exclusive to boot. Developer Angry Mango has kindly provided Windows Phone Central with some exclusive goodies to share with you.

First off, Mush is a generally easy game. Like ilomilo you can’t die, so the challenge comes entirely from the puzzles. It does get harder as you progress though – take the puzzle at the end of Level 5: Catfish Capers, for example. Getting the ball where it needs to go in order to activate a switch and open the door might just stump some gamers. Fear not; the above video shows exactly what to do. Whichever lovable writer got stuck on this puzzle was most certainly overthinking things.

Next up we have a bevy of beautiful Windows Phone-sized wallpapers. Check ‘em out after the break.

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WP Central

Still in beta, Pulse is now at Version 0.95.7

Looks like Nokia is putting some renewed vigor into their Pulse social app which is still in beta form. Version 0.95.7 just went live in the Marketplace and brings some cool new additions with it:

  • Conversation live tile – pin a specific conversation to your Start screen
  • Pulse from landing page – tap in the “Send a message” box and go directly to the Compose screen
  • Recognize multiple email addresses for an individual user
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WP Central

Nokia has reportedly shipped 6.9 million Lumias

Sales numbers and estimates are always a tricky thing, especially when you don’t have concrete numbers to work with. We also tend to boast the good news and downplay the bad so with that caveat we’ll provide you the latest in “market analysis”. Don’t worry, this one is mostly good.

Strategy Analytics is making quite the name for themselves this day if only because they tend to buck the trend when it comes to Nokia and Windows Phone. In their latest report (available here to subscribers), they claim that Nokia shipped (not necessarily sold) 6.9 million Lumia Windows Phone since its launch in Q4 2011 and up through Q2 2012. 

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Birdsong for Windows Phone

Birdsong, a Windows Phone Twitter app, experienced a little technical difficulties with Live Tile and push notifications. The developers have worked diligently over the past few weeks and the new push notification service went online just a little while ago.

Birdsong is a nicely laid out Twitter app for your Windows Phone that supports multiple accounts, threaded conversations, geo-tagged tweets, off line viewing and much more.

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WP Central Mark Osborn Interview

Mark Osborn, creator of the Windows Phone app Articles for Instapaper, is just in the process of uprooting from the UK and moving to the the US. We had been in touch with Mark for a while as he had shouted me on twitter to tell us about his Instapaper Client for Windows Phone.  For those not familiar, Instapaper is a free web service that lets you save web pages and articles to read later.  With Articles for Instapaper, you can tap into your Instapaper account from your Windows Phone to read your articles.

We were just in time to catch him before he headed off to frolic in Europe one more time before he left and had the opportunity to sit down, drink too much coffee and chat about the old, the now and the next.

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WP Central

Zite for Windows Phone - now available

We haven’t heard much about Zite (zite.com), a news service that’s owned by CNN, but we should start paying attention to it. Zite is not just a news-app but rather a service that finds stories based on your likes and interests which gets you away from the “information overload” that many of us experience today.

The app has been on iOS since late last year and is also on Android too but now the service is coming to Windows Phone and the CEO is quite excited—mostly because he uses a Lumia 710.

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Podcast Lounge Nokia Lumia 800 Cyan

During last night’s WPUG meet in central London, we got a chance to catch up with Richard from Igneous Software. BBC Podcast lounge is a must-have app for those that want to catch up on all the amazing and free content from Auntie Beeb. Richard was able to give me a quick walkthrough of the latest update that is currently in testing.

The current app is great but with this update, Richard looks to be taking a logical and very welcome next step. From 1.4 onwards users will be able to subscribe to podcasts. Great news, even better is that it offers options to keep up to 3 podcasts of each. That is very similar to the options presented on the Zune desktop client. Whilst the Zune music hub in Windows Phone is great, it’s not possible to subscribe to podcasts or even browse and download manually. The only way to get podcasts on your device through Zune is to first connect to the computer, subscribe to the podcast and then sync with your phone, once that’s done it will grab them. It’s a far from convenient solution, something better needed to be found.

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WPCentral Podcast

We're back for another exciting week in Windows Phone news. Jay and Daniel take on the headlines and your questions, including some Windows Phone 8 discussion.

Head past the break for the show notes and HD video. (Our apologies on the video as it's fairly laggy--you can do what we do and blame Canada)...

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W Phone 8 for Windows Phone

A fairly lightweight Windows Phone emulator has made its way onto the Marketplace, which enables the user to see how the upcoming UI refresh would look on their handset. By lightweight we mean that no tiles launch any apps (links to Marketplace listings instead), but it certainly gives you a feel for what's to come with live tiles showing data, flipping around and having fun.

That's pretty much W Phone 8 in a nutshell, and while it may not seem a lot it's very well presented.

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2

Windows Phone Game Roundup: FORE!

WPCentral's Roundup of Golf apps

Windows Phone Central's Roundup of Golf Games

The Open Championship is this week in sunny Lancashire, England. The Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club is hosting the Open and in honor of the Championship, this week's round-up is dialed into golf games for your Windows Phone.

We've got an Xbox Live title, a few miniature golf courses, a pirate and for good measure we toss in a golf app that should be on every duffer's Windows Phone. As always, if a title doesn't make it to the roundup it shouldn't reflect poorly on things. If we missed one, chime in below in the comments and let us know.

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WP Central

$6.9 Billion profit? Not bad, not bad at all

Tonight Microsoft announced its Q4 results for fiscal 2012.  Everywhere you turn, the media is writing about how the Redmond giant just reported its first loss ever.  People writing these headlines are either clueless as to financial reporting, or in search of headline bait.  But since everyone is doing it, it’s pretty crap headline bait.

So here’s the simple truth:  Microsoft reported an extremely profitable quarter with respect to its regular operations.  On top of this it also made the decision to write down the value of assets pertaining to a company it acquired back in 2007.  The acquisition of aQuantive, a digital advertising company, didn’t contribute to Microsoft’s advertising platform as expected.  When stuff like that happens, you write down the value of those assets on the balance sheet.  The write down is a wave of the accounting magic wand.  It does not represent a cash expense. 

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MetroSpec

You can now enjoy the classics while on the go

Can we have a drum roll? Announcing the upcoming Sinclair ZX Spectrum emulator for Windows Phone - MetroSpec. This current work-in-progress by Starquake Mobile (website) is the first generic ZX Spectrum emulator for Windows Phone which isn't tied to a single title. 

The gist of the app is to enable Windows Phone users to download, load and enjoy Spectrum titles to either bring back memories or to defeat that all-impossible last boss that one could never beat. Head on past the break to see why you should be interested in MetroSpec, as well as some hands-on footage from the recent WPUG meetup.

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SlingPlayer for Windows Phone on sale

If you have a SlingBox and have been putting off buying the SlingPlayer Windows Phone app, now is your chance to same some bucks. The SlingPlayer app normally runs $29.99 but through July 22nd, Sling Media has slashed the price 50% bringing the price down to $14.99.

Compatible with Slingbox SOLO or PRO-HD slingboxes, the app will let you play anything you can watch on your television at home on your Windows Phone. SlingPlayer will let you change channels, control your DVR, view live or recorded shows, control your cable or satellite box, and much more.

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WP Central

There’s been a lot of news today—both for Microsoft and Nokia—so we’re going to just touch on a bit of that and also mention some other Microsoft stories that you may have missed. So here’s your roundup:

  • Microsoft wants you take your Xbox security seriously and posts tips on how to do that
  • Mark Penn, former advisor to President Clinton, will be a VP at Microsoft where he hopes to make Bing cool
  • Microsoft may have lost money this quarter but their consumer division is actually doing well

So head on past the break for today’s wrap up...

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WP Central

If you just tuned in to our latest podcast, you probably heard Jay and myself discussing when we expect Windows Phone 8 to actually come out—especially since we now know that Windows 8 Desktop will be here October 26th.

Going on simple history, the last two release cycles for Windows Phone have occurred in the October/November timeframe and we expect that to repeat again this year. Throw in the October 26th street date for Win 8 and it should be obvious what Microsoft’s overarching strategy will be—a dual launch where two of their main products dominate headlines. Or what lame business folk call “synergy”.

Over at ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley is hearing from a trusted source the following dates for Microsoft:

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WP Central

We're all tuned into the Microsoft financial results for the fiscal quarter ending June 30th, 2012 and there has been some interesting details revealed. Overall, Microsoft posted a record revenue of $18.06 billion but along with that came the news of a net income loss of $492 million, something almost unheard of for Microsoft. The loss itself, Microsoft attributes to something they're calling "goodwill impairment charge" otherwise known as a "writeoff" to the tune $6.2 billion which stems from their acquisition of aQuantive. Overall though, Microsoft's quarter revenue adds up to a 7% increase from around the same time last year and quarterly operating income brought in a total of $6.93 billion. In other simpler words, a 12% increase in operating income.

Total fiscal year income coming in at $73.72 billion in revenue, with operating income at $21.76 billion. Microsoft's entertainment division helped in this area with things such as Xbox 360 having grown by 20 percent to more than $1.7 billion. On the business side of things, Microsoft raked in a 7% increase with nearly $6.3 billion in revenue. Windows and Windows Live Divisions ended up declining this quarter, slipping down by 13% while still earning $4.1 billion. We'll be digging deeper into the numbers here soon, but for now you can check out the full press release via the source link below.

Update - See our analysis of today's results here.

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WP Central

The official MSN Messenger app is Chinese-only

In what is an unusual surprise for users on Windows Phone, Microsoft (MSN China) has released an official standalone MSN Messenger app for Windows Phone.

The app is now available in the Marketplace and it seems to have world-wide availability although you’ll be hard pressed to read it since there is no language-localization to be found.

The app is actually very well done—it’s fast and fluid and behaves like how you would expect. You can set your away messages, chat with others and login from different accounts. And really, that’s the big deal here—as many users do have multiple Messenger aliases which they want to use.

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The Dark Knight Rises on your Windows Phone

Dark Knight Rises app from Nokia

The Dark Knight Rises leaves its mark on your Windows Phone

In just a few hours, The Dark Knight Rises movie will begin showing at your local theatre. The movie's influence has already been felt with our Windows Phone especially the Nokia Lumia line.

We have the Dark Knight Rises and Batman: Origins apps available in the Nokia Collection on the Windows Phone Marketplace. T-Mobile is offering The Dark Knight Rises press-on covers for new Nokia Lumia 710's and then there's the limited edition The Dark Knight Rises versions of the Lumia 800 and 900.

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WP Central

Today Nokia revealed its interim financial results for Q2 2012.  Nothing too shocking, really.  Keep in mind that this is a company that was once the largest phone manufacturer in the world, driven by Symbian and feature phones. Nokia now has to find its place in the smartphone market, and this position will really depend upon the market success of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. 

With that in mind, Nokia shipped 4 million Lumia phones during Q2.  It may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to iPhone or Samsung (Android) numbers, but when you compare it against RIM’s latest quarter (the shipped 7.8 million BlackBerry phones), it shows some forward momentum. 

Overall, Nokia sold 73 million phones. That’s 69 million non-Lumia phones. The company’s huge challenge is to hang onto the low end of the feature phone market (under attack from Android) while also converting many of its Symbian smartphone users onto Nokia-branded Windows Phone products in the future.  It’s a tall order, but Nokia has a pretty good fighting chance...

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Nokia Lumia Smoked Australia

Nokia Australia is planning to host two "Smoked by Windows Phone" challenges in Australia this coming weekend. The two marketing events will take place in Sydney and Melbourne but will contain a twist to differentiate from the generic Windows Phone challenge, according to the team. With Nokia UK challenging the general public with common smartphone tasks to see if they survive or are dared to engage in fearful activities, we could be in for some exciting ideas in Australia.

A cash prize ($100) is available should you manage to best the Windows Phone challenge, but should you lose... we'll have to wait and see - though we expect to see some dares. If you have an Android or Symbian device, the iPhone, a BlackBerry, or even a Windows Phone yourself, you will be eligible to participate - though we're not entirely sure how a Windows Phone smartphone can enter against an identical handset. Fastest finger first?

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WP Central

SoundGecko is coming to Windows Phone soon

With today's busy world, sometimes finding time to read you favorite article or keep up with the news can be difficult. Luckily, there may be a solution for some of you on the horizon. 

SoundGecko is a new, amazing service where you find any article, email it to them, and they will send you back an MP3 file of that article. The service can connect up with your SkyDrive or DropBox service to automatically deposit audio files of new articles, allowing to you to pull them down on-the-go. The smartphone app is simply a method to flag articles for the service for conversion.

Currently, the app is only available on the iPhone and Chrome browser (via an extension) but fear not, a Windows Phone version is in the works and we'll have some information on that coming soon...

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7

Deal of the Week - Amzer Skin Case for Nokia Lumia 900

WP CentralWe’re starting a new feature around these parts for you accessory geeks—the Deal of the Week. Every week we’re going to try and bring you the popular and unique deals from our store for your Windows Phone.

We’re in the middle of this week already but you still have plenty of time to pick up the Amzer Skin Case for Nokia Lumia 900. A soft silicone case available in many colors, the Amzer Skin Case is perfect for you 900 users who want to throw a case on for protection—even if just temporary—so that you don’t ding up that polycarbonate shell (we toss one on when we hit the gym or running, but otherwise keep it naked).

The Amzer case is fetching for a low $4.95 (75% off) with our 60-day return policy, fast shipping and friendly support. Grab your case here while you can!

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iplayer radio app exclusive

Igneous Software, not content with making their excellent BBC Podcast Lounge are surely striving for greatness with their upcoming launch of the BBC Radio Player. We had previously reported on their plans but were finally able to get hands on demo of it at last night’s Windows Phone User Group (WPUG).

The new player will improve on the previous version in a number of ways. The UI has been updated to closely follow that of the official apps on other platforms. Igneous have taken great care to replicate the colours and visual cues from the iPlayer whilst taking advantage of Metro’s inherent slick delivery of typography and graphics.

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