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WP Central

Nokia is back to updating a lot of their core apps one of which we completely forgot about: Pulse.

We last covered Nokia Pulse when it was announced at Nokia World back in fall 2011. It’s Nokia’s social-app and at the time we had little use for it—there were no Lumias on the market and Nokia’s service wasn’t exactly all that feature-rich.

Today, Nokia announced that Pulse Beta (yup, it’s still not ready for official release) is going to version 0.9 within in the next day or two (ours is still at 0.8 in the Marketplace). The good news is there are plenty of new features coming with 0.9 that are making us reconsider using this app:

  • You can now sign-in on Nokia Pulse with your Facebook account
  • You can start a new conversation as soon as you open Nokia Pulse
  • The Nokia Pulse live tile now shows more information about unread messages
  • The overall performance of Nokia Pulse has been improved
  • You can now consolidate multiple email addresses for a person…
  • …and more easily correct a misspelled email address
  • Your friend who aren’t using Nokia Pulse just yet will get a direct link to the mobile client for their specific phone for a mobile Nokia Pulse experience

Nokia Pulse is kind of powerful. It’s basically a messaging app on steroids. For instance it allows you to send mapping information (via Nokia Maps) to a contact for a meet-up, you can create groups for mass messaging, add in notes, reviews, phone numbers all with a few taps.

WP Central

Back last year, Nokia introducing a messaging service was akin to when Samsung announced ChatOn—it’s kind of cool but there are alternatives out there.  Flash-forward today though and it’s a bit different—Nokia now means something and we’re much more inclined to jump on their ship as opposed to Samsung’s (then again, ChatOn is multi-platform, Pulse currently is not. However, Nokia Pulse is going to Android and iOS presumably after it is feature-complete on Windows Phone).

You can download Nokia’s Pulse here in the Marketplace. Being a beta, it is not yet restricted to Lumia phones. Let’s repeat that: currently ALL Windows Phones users can try this out but our bet is with v1.0 it will land in the Nokia Collection, so grab it and try it now. Also remember, you're looking for version 0.9 as the latest which may show up in 12-48 hours (we're still on the old v0.8).

Take a look at the video demo and announcement after the break along with the QR code...

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WP Central

The overwhelming majority of Lumia 900 users are loving their phone

We know from personal experience that owners of the Lumia 900 (review) have a lot of pride in their device and that feeling has now been quantified in a new study commissioned by Nokia. Nokia hired Nielsen’s back in April to survey US buyers of their flagship Windows Phone to see how happy they were with their purchase decision. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 96 per cent of owners are extremely satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their Lumia 900
  • 95 per cent of owners are willing to recommend the Lumia 900
  • 83 per cent say that their expectations are better or much better than expected
  • 85 per cent say they would repurchase the Lumia 900
  • 91 per cent think their phone is better than other mobiles out on the market
  • 95 per cent thought downloading an app from the Marketplace was easy to do

The survey was the online one we reported back in May and consisted of 810 people averaging 18 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Of course we wonder now how many of you skewed the results lending a sampling bias to Nielsen by not necessarily representing the average consumer (as opposed to “enthusiasts”). Ahem.

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Xbox and Nexus Q

In last decade there have been many great rivaleries: Tyson Vs. Hollifield, Baggy pants vs Skinny Jeans, Alien VS. Predator - the list just goes on and on. Now a new fight is brewing: Google's Nexus Q and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Google has recently announced their new form of media consumption for their users. It's small, round, glows like Tron, and  looks a bit like the Death Star. This sphere will go head to head with the Xbox 360. Microsoft has been rebranding the Xbox 360 for the last few years, turning it from an exclusive gaming system to your main media device. More and more people have been using the console to watch movies, stream music, and to video chat. With Smart Glass coming out hopefully in the fall, Microsoft will be integrating your phone or tablet as both a second screen and remote control.

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19

ARMED! Preview now available for free on Windows 8

ARMED Preview

Just before summer started, Dallas-based Sickhead Games announced they would be porting their popular indie strategy title ARMED! to Windows 8 and iOS. They weren’t lying, as ARMED! Preview is now available on the Windows 8 store.

Why the ‘Preview’ moniker? As most PC users know, Windows 8 hasn’t been officially released yet. Lots of people are running preview builds in the wild though, and ARMED! Preview is meant for them. The build is free and basically functions as a public beta; you can submit feedback through the Sickhead website. Not a bad move, as it’s best to test online multiplayer games as much as possible before you start charging for them. Also note that the promised cross-platform multiplayer between ARMED! on Windows 8 and Windows Phone has not gone live yet, but it’s still in the works.

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Pink Lumia 900

Nokia has today announced the pink Lumia 900 exclusively for AT&T in the US. The device is identical to the Lumia 900 we know and love, which is already stocked by the carrier in white, black and cyan. We've continuously looked at hints of a possible pink / magenta Lumia 900, and this announcement will please those who wish to stand out from the crowd.

As with all Lumia devices, customers will be able to take advantage of the app collection, which is exclusive to Nokia Windows Phones. Unfortunately there's no word on availability outside the states, though we'd imagine the manufacturer will launch the colour globally.

With Windows Phone 8 just around the corner, we expect many to hold onto their hard-earned cash for more advanced and future proof hardware. But should you choose to go for the magenta Lumia 900, then fear not as Windows Phone 7.8 will be on its way later this year.

Source: Nokia; Thanks, Bailey and Joe, for the tip!

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Samsung to release a Windows RT Tablet?

The word on the street today (according to Bloomberg) is that Samsung is set to launch their own Windows RT tablet in just a few months time. The tip has apparently come from someone with inside knowledge and they have stated that the tablet will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

I am sitting on the fence in terms of whether this is on the cards or not. On the one hand Samsung have the hardware capabilities to build a great tablet but on the other hand they are so well established within the Android tablet market would they now feel the need to consider an alternative OS? Or could this be a reaction to the recent Google Nexus 7 Android tablet which is in direct competition with Samsung and coming in at a much lower price point than the South Korean manufacturer can offer?

With the recent news that Hewlett-Packard (HP) won't initially be backing Windows RT anything is possible. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised to see Samsung jumping on the Windows tablet market. I say watch this space.  Curious though...would such a tablet entice you away from Microsoft's Surface tablets?

Source: Bloomberg

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2

Love Clean Streets for Windows Phone updated to 2.1

WP Central

The Love Clean Streets app for Windows Phone (as well as the network for other smartphones) enables members of public to report environmental issues with their mobile device by simply uploading a report with a photo. The app is much like the Love Clean London, which was previously featured by the BBC in a news report.

The apps share similar functionality and help tackle the severe problems our towns and cities face on a daily basis. Love Clean Streets has recently been update to version 2.1, which introduces the following:

  • The ability to upload images direct from the photo gallery, if you have location services switched on for pictures it automatically puts the pin at the location in the picture.
  • Inspired by logo
  • Keyboard when entering report details, now has the auto complete
  • You can switch off the use of the GPS from within the application (Marketplace requirement).

As well as the above features, a number of bug fixes were also bundled with the release. Should you find yourself wanting to help clean up your area, then be sure to check out Love Clean Streets. It's now more convenient than ever to report environmental problems using your Windows Phone.

You can download Love Clean Streets from the Marketplace for free.

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Hi guys! We're gonna switch up the normal Monday Brief this week to bring you all something special. I'm so excited to celebrate my one-year birthday with the Mobile Nations team, and with the help of every site in the network, I want to hook a lucky winner up with their dream device. Have you been lusting after the Samsung Galaxy S III? How about the new iPad? Or perhaps you've been anxiously awaiting the next round of Windows Phone 8 devices or are holding out for BlackBerry 10?

Over the years we've seen some pretty crazy entries for video contests here at Mobile Nations (Kevin often brings up a certain Pudding Wrestling in Time Square CrackBerry video), but I want to top them all, so we're gonna make this the best video contest Mobile Nations has ever had! Seriously, I want to you see you all get creative, get crazy and show me your passion to help, let's have a look at what you could win:

  • GRAND PRIZE: One (1) phone, tablet, or gadget you've read about on Mobile Nations websites, valued at up to $600 USD
  • Runners Up: We'll hook you up with some awesome stuff. Either a coupon to one of the stores, some swag or something else you'll love. Don't worry, if we use your intro on a Monday Brief, we'll give you recognition and a nice little reward.

Once again, this is a video contest -- you'll have to get creative and assemble your most creative, funny, or just plain insane version of my weekly introduction to the Monday Brief. If you're not sure what part that is, watch the beginning of the show. Jump below to get the full details on how to enter and check out the rules, you'll need to follow them accordingly.

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Baby Genius Sing & play

Nokia continues to strengthen partnerships with software providers to bring more compelling content to the Windows Phone platform. This time they are working with Genius Brands International to bring their *Award Winning* Baby Genius products exclusively to Lumia devices. 

Baby Genius apps aim to help children transition from preschool to kindergarten. The first two apps from the series Sing ‘n Play Pals will arrive this summer as Nokia exclusive content. The apps are said to contain both free and premium content that can be unlocked by a parent at their discretion.

Sing & play Screens

CEO of Genius Brands Klaus Moeller had this to say about the announcement...

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WP8 Start Screen Now with Adverts
96

Will Windows Phone 8 have an Advert Tile?

There is still a lot we do not know about Windows Phone 8. What we do know is that it will share many things in common with the slightly newer Metro inspired UI’s of the Xbox 360 and Windows 8. Let us discuss the recent trend with Microsoft inserting advertising into its products using metro tiles. These adverts are already present in Windows 8 and the Xbox 360. Will those advert tiles be making an appearance in Windows Phone 8 too? 

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WP Central

The official Seattle Pi app does a nice job of bringing the latest news from Washington State

For those who follow Microsoft or live in Seattle, you’ll want to check out the official Seattle Pi news (SeattlePi.com) app just recently released.

Seattle PI is a fairly large online paper for those living in Washington State and we know a lot of Microsofties who frequent this site would be interested in the official app. We know about the site because they tend to have fairly decent articles written about the state’s most well-known employer, Microsoft.

The app is laid out nicely with a very customizable interface. You can choose how many stories appear on the front page (default is two but we much prefer four or higher), which sections are listed and their order and you can pin separate sections of the paper to your Start screen as a Live Tile for quick access.

There are some parsing errors with titles (we think it’s because of that darn ampersand) but the photos, smooth scrolling, sharing options and ability to save articles make it worth it. Plus it’s free with no ads which is always a nice bonus.

We’re using it just for the MS articles but if you live in Washington, you’ll probably want to give it a go. Pick up SeattlePi.com here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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WP Central

Tech2 India has reported that Nokia are kicking off a new campaign in the country titled "Amazing Money Back Challenge". This enables consumers who purchase the Lumia 710 or 800 Windows Phones to return the device within seven days for a full refund if not satisfied. That's some fairly heavy commitment.

The campaign is active on the Nokia India Facebook page, where consumers can enter contact details, select nearest stores and wait for that store to contact the participant. We presume a trip to a supporting store will also yield the same results. Of course, to return the device, you'll need to have it in almost-perfect condition with the original packaging, manuals and accessories. As well as this, the Windows Phone can only be returned to the store it was purchased from.

While many may see this as a desperate move by the manufacturer, we see it as an interesting challenge for consumers. Potential Windows Phone adopters can now fully own a Lumia smartphone for seven days on a free trial of sorts. Should they somehow not enjoy the experience provided by Nokia, there's peace of mind that a refund is readily available.

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Interview – Phonos Developer Andy Pennell

Robert Brand Developer Interview

As a companion piece to my review of the Phonos app, I thought it would be interesting to check in with Andy and get some background on his experiences whilst developing for Windows Phone. Originally, on the team that built the ill-fated Kin devices he has since been working on Windows Phone 8.0 Apollo. Andy shares his experiences with bringing his app to market. He tells us about hurdles hes overcome with the platform, thoughts on WinRT development and much much more... For these insights you’ll need to keep on reading past the break..

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WP Central Lumia 800 Sonos

The Sonos multi-room streaming music system is probably my favourite piece of musical gadgetry right now. I listen to a lot of music and it's often a pain to keep plugging in my phone or mp3 player into a system in each room. It took me plenty of deliberation, but eventually I succumbed to buying a few bits of the Sonos kit. Now I could have music playing throughout my small apartment. "Wonderful," I thought, until I realised there isn’t an official Sonos app for Windows Phone. Luckily, I found Phonos in the marketplace. How well does it stack up against the competition and of course the official offering from Sonos? Read on to find out..

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WP Central

Browsing Bild.de can be hazardous to Tango's health

With Windows Phone Tango rolling out it is perhaps not a surprise that some isolated bugs may be discovered along the way. So far, not too many have cropped up but there is one that is interesting though seemingly rare.

Users have found that navigating to the German news site Bild.de on their phone, with “Desktop” enabled can result in the browser locking up the device. The site Bild.de does default to a mobile WAP version and there is a Windows Phone app too but users are free to use their IE9 in desktop mode to view the site “as is”.

We’ve tested the scenario on our Tango phone (Focus 2) and sure enough, upon loading the page the second time it does lock up the device. Since Internet Explorer is a native app, native apps can crash the OS whereas third-party apps should not be able to do so.

The theory seems to revolve around the idea that Bild.de is very graphic intensive with a lot of photos being pushed to the browser. Combined with Tango's low-overhead for 256MB devices and it seems to zap all of the available memory on the phone (of course we can’t rule out javascript errors or something else, either). You can replicate the crash yourself by following these directions:

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WP Central

Yesterday we reported that the Lumia 910 had popped up on Nokia’s own remote device access (RDA) system. The Lumia 910 was proposed to be a variant of the Lumia 900, possibly sporting a 12MP camera and at one time may have been destined for T-Mobile.

This morning another device showed up called Nokia Lumia 1001.

It is fair to speculate whereas the 910 was a Windows Phone 7.x device, the Lumia 1001 is a next-gen Windows Phone 8 one.  (However, the 910 may have been re-categorized for WP8 since its initial rumor, making it a "follow up" to the 900). Clearly the “1000” mark is directly related to the series system that Nokia has in place where the higher the number (by 100’s) the more high-end e.g. compare the Lumia 610 to the Lumia 900.

Nokia’s RDA software lets developers try out and test software remotely via a web browser. Once in, you can send commands to allow you to pull down info from Nokia’s servers which is how TechCrunch was able to spot the device.

No information or details are listed about the Lumia 1001 which means it could be a spoof, albeit one internal to Nokia since users cannot create data. The timing, especially with the 910 incident yesterday, is suspicious. On the other hand, a “Lumia 1001” is not exactly out of the bounds of reality as presumably Nokia would have such a device label reserved for a super high, perhaps PureView Windows Phone.

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WP Central

How low can it go?

Although Nokia has been catching headlines for their downturn in market performance, HTC too has also been feeling the pinch of poor profits.

Nokia yesterday finished the week off at $1.92 a share, falling below the $2 mark for the first time since September 1994. A lot can be made of that $2 number which is more of a psychological barrier than anything real but make no mistake, Nokia is feeling the financial pinch.

The drop seems to correlate with new rumors that Amazon may be making a go at its own phone which results in fears of tougher competition down the road.  Combined with the Mozilla news earlier this week, the Eurozone financial crisis, lagging sales of the Lumia line and no confidences from investors and you have a plummeting stock price. It’s a vicious cycle and often one not hinged on reality.

Seeking Alpha actually has a nice summary of the Nokia situation.  In short, they are still optimistic as Nokia should be fine for the next 12 months and they don’t foresee any more bad news for Nokia i.e. the worst may finally be out of the way. Nokia is poised to cut 10,000 jobs by 2013 and continue to restructure, reducing overhead costs in the long term. The question for would be investors is should you buy Nokia yet? At least for one contributor at Seeking Alpha, the answer is “almost” as the stock may still dip lower but a return to profitability status is expected sooner than later...

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WP Central

Nokia Music has been updated to version 3.0, and we've got some information regarding what's included in this release. According to the changelog provided in the Marketplace description, which we believe to be slightly off, the following has been included: 

  • Download all types of mixes to listen to offline
  • 'Pin to start' any mix so you can quickly play your favorites
  • See what mixes and songs you've previously listened to by tapping 'recent mixes'
  • Search for gigs by artist, venue and city
  • Share details of the song you are playing to social networks, over email and messaging
  • Fixed disappearing menu options

As well as the Music app update, Nokia also pushed out a new version of  Play To, but no changelog has been published, though we have received word that connectivity within the app is much quicker. Both apps are well worth checking out, especially if you're either into music while on the go, or wish to make use of DLNA functionality.

You can download both Nokia Music and Play To from the Nokia Collection.

Thanks, TallPaul86, for the heads up!

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36

Orange UK rolling out updates for Lumia 800

WP Central

We've been informed by a reader that Orange UK is currently rolling out a number of updates, including 8112, for the Lumia 800 Windows Phone. Included in this update is Internet tethering support, which has been absent from the device since launch late last year. 

This follows the 8107 software update, which the UK carrier released back in March. 8112 is also the build that was being shipped with the AT&T Lumia 900. This is number one of three.

We were also informed that Windows Phone Tango build 8773 was then downloaded and installed. Following the Tango upgrade was a 12220 firmware notification.

WP Central

Let us know if you've received any update notifications in the comments.

Thanks, James, for the heads up!

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Mel Kirk

Welcome to an Xbox Live Developer Interview long in the making! Seriously, we’ve been promising this one for a while, and at last it’s ready. Today we chat with Mel Kirk, Jack—of-all-trades at Zen Studios. Zen is hard at work porting their XBLA hit Pinball FX2 to Windows Phone. Thankfully they made the time to tell Windows Phone Central all about their love for pinball, potential licensed tables for the future, and of course, their plans for Microsoft's mobile phone platform.

Head past the break for the full interview, tons of behind the scenes photos, and wonderful Marvel concept art!

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WP Central

Co-found of Apple Steve Wozniak thinks Windows Phone is a convergence of "art and technology"

Speaking at a press conference after his talk at the Entel Summit (Entel is Chile's leading telecommunications operator), co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak gave his thoughts on Microsoft, Surface and their new Metro UI. Having previously spoken positively of the Lumia 900 and what Microsoft was up to with their refocus on usability and visual appeal, "the Woz" continues to give praise to the company and what appears to be their new direction, noting that he wants a Surface tablet.

During the Q&A session, Wozniak gave his thoughts on how the Lumia line of smartphones and Windows Phone 7 have such a "...strikingly good visual appearance which is a lot of what Steve Jobs always looked for, the art and technology, the convergence of art and technology." Back in April, the technology guru famously heaped praise on the Lumia 900 and Windows Phone and evidently he continues to like it.

Regarding Surface, Wozniak says he wants to "own one, to use one" so he can see for himself how good it is and not have to rely on what he's read—a fair and respectable stance to have on an un-released product.

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The latest Windows Phone campaign is taking on America's pasttime, one stadium at a time. The Windows Phone team is partnering with the two of the editors (John and Steve) from the lifestyle blog The Roosevelts for the Windows Phone Bucket List Tour.

The tour will visit eleven Major League Baseball stadiums to help spread all the goodness we know as Windows Phone. John and Steve's Windows Phone of choice is the HTC Titan II and plan on sharing apps and features on the Windows Phone as well as capturing some rather impressive panoramas using the Titan II's built in pano feature. The Tour has already visited six ball parks including Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field and has cover 37 of the 67 bucket list items.

Wrigley Field Pano by the Roosevelts

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WP Central

Last night we revealed that Nokia had some 8779 OS updates with presumably some new firmware on their servers for the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. At the time, we didn’t know what the updates included as 8779 is just slightly ahead of the just released 8773. Looks like we got Nokia's attention as they just gave out the details on the forthcoming update.

Technically speaking, we still don’t know what it’s in the OS as far as changes go (they're expected to be minor) but we now know what is coming with the bundled firmware. What’s more, it looks like the Lumia 900 will be getting the update too (although no word about AT&T, specifically). In fact, we’ve heard that the Lumia 900 in Germany already had 8779 on board so this is probably ready to rollout. Also, instead of the Lumia 800 we have info on the Lumia 610 instead.

WP Central

On the Nokia Connects blog, details about the forthcoming updates were posted and it looks to be quite solid:

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T-Mobile happy with Windows Phone

File this under old news but good news but T-Mobile is pleased as punch with the companies selection of Windows Phone. Since adding the HTC Radar 4G and Nokia Lumia 710, T-Mobile has seen sales of Windows Phone double in the past eight months.

Brad Duea, Senior Vice President of Product Development at T-Mobile, comments,

"We continue to see strong sales and adoption of the platform with the Nokia Lumia 710 consistently being one of our top five selling smartphones since it launched in January 2012. Not only that but, as expected, we’ve seen a large number of first-time smartphone users select a Windows Phone as their device of choice with 55% of all upgrades to the Lumia 710 coming from a messaging or feature phone."

According to T-Mobile the Lumia 710 has some of the highest handset satisfaction scores and feedback from customers has been very positive on Windows Phone software. With regards to the future of Windows Phones at T-Mobile Duea notes,

"We’re bullish on the future of Windows Phone. In fact, IDC’s report out earlier this month predicts Windows Phone will surpass iOS by 2016 – and we expect Windows Phone to continue to play a prominent role in our product portfolio and marketing efforts."

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