Articles

If there is one thing Windows Phone users like it’s weather apps. And it’s even better, when they are sale.

Such is the case with Amazing Weather HD, which normally goes for $1.99 (though it was at $1.49 recently) but for at least the next week it can be had for a more reasonable $0.99. The sale only applies to US, UK, France, Spain, Finland and Germany marketplaces.

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Yesterday we brought you the story about Instagram reportedly already in the Windows Phone Store. The app is hidden, presumably for Microsoft eyes only, and we argued that if Microsoft had built the app they could be waiting on some last minute negotiations with Instagram to use their APIs legally.

Now, the same source, @anontechleaks, has a few more tidbits including images of Real Racing 3 and Temple Run—two huge titles that Windows Phone desperately needs. Real Racing 3 evidently requires 1.7GB of free space, putting it probably in 800MB range.

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It’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft’s semi-regular time to push out OS and software updates to our computers. Today is no different, and if you’re on Windows 8 you’ll get at least 13 important updates (83MB) and if you’re on Surface, you’re looking at 14 patches (38-118MB) and a firmware update. (Some of that will vary for you as different Office 2010 and Office 2013 updates are included.)

So what’s new? Well, the biggest news is that Microsoft has enabled Flash to work now in Internet Explorer 10 for RT. If you recall, Microsoft only allowed a few, specific websites with Flash to work on Internet Explorer 10 citing performance and battery life reasons. There was even a neat little work around that you could do yourself to bypass this. Now, Microsoft have reversed that decision, which they say is due to more sites becoming IE10 compatible.

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HTC looking to get into the mapping business?

HTC, much like Samsung, has been targeted by not only ourselves, but consumers too. The companies have been in the heat of complaints when it comes to lack of support for Windows Phone, when compared to Nokia. We'll attempt to not sound like a broken record, but it's long been the case where Nokia has pushed the platform forward, with Samsung and HTC (as well as other manufacturers) taking more of a back seat approach. 

Despite what we all may think of HTC, the company may yet show consumers that the towel hasn't been thrown in when it comes to Windows Phone. The news website Windows Phone Italy has contacted sources familiar with HTC plans in Taiwan and have learnt that the company is looking at a navigation solution for its family of Windows Phones. Could we see the first sign of the company looking to match its unique hardware with software?

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We’re one of the few lucky ones who don’t have to do a daily commute anymore (something for which we’re grateful) but on the occasion we need to venture against a sea of cars INRIX TRAFFIC comes to mind as a great planner tool.

For those of you who aren’t aware, INRIX monitors traffic around you in real-time but perhaps more importantly, it predicts traffic hours ahead based on current conditions. That means you can better plan by entering in routes and getting a deeper sense if you’ll be angry or happy during your commute.  Using that information, INRIX can give you an estimated time that you should leave, making it quite a unique app.

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Microsoft hasn't pushed gaming enough on Windows Phone, which has been adequately covered in our series of editorials by Paul Acevedo. We've gone into some detail as to who Microsoft can save Xbox Games for Windows Phone, but it seems the company does have plans to tackle the issue. Still aiming for the "Three Screens" goal, Microsoft is looking to release some titles in the future to take advantage of cross-platform support.

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Things are starting to heat for Verizon users as more and more information is coming out about the ‘Laser’ Lumia 928, an updated version of the Lumia 920. In our forums, an employee of Verizon (‘Honestabebread’) posted that “Easter time” was the release window for this phone, and now the Verge is claiming that the phone is coming in April.

The phone will reportedly feature an aluminum body (versus the current polycarbonate) and as a result be thinner and lighter than the current 920. In addition, the flash will be upgrade to a xenon-LED flash combo. Other features include a 4.5-inch OLED display and support for simultaneous voice and LTE (SVLTE) with a look more resembling a Lumia 720 (squared) than the current 920.

The Lumia 928 passed through the FCC way back in February, meaning the device should be cleared for release soon.

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When Nokia started their campaign to help let the Instagram know the dedication of Windows Phone users, many were quick to point out that Lumia owners did not represent the whole community. Indeed if such a campaign is to be effective, we would need to enlist presumably everyone to help post photos with the #2InstaWithLove hashtag on Twitter and other social networks.

Nokia has evidently seen the light as that app is now available for all Windows Phones, including our Samsung ATIV S and HTC Radar.  Of course, there was nothing unique to Lumia hardware that prevented the app from running on other OEMs so this was a simple change in the Store for Nokia.

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Go treasure hunting with xatcher for Windows Phone

If you're not familiar with Geocaching, it's an activity many participate in to locate and find hidden geocaches (containers), which may contain an item and logs to jot down names when found. The treasure hunt can take the individual (or group) through a trail to locate the hidden cache, but that's part of the fun, utilising clues and location-based features to reach the goal. We've covered a few geocaching apps for Windows Phone, but there's another worth noting, called xatcher.

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Nokia has published a new article on its Conversations Blog that goes into detail about the water resistant Lumia 620 case we looked at a few days ago. While it was considered a case, the team has confirmed that it is in fact a new shell that will replace the current cover on the Lumia 620. This will mean it will integrate well with the design of the Windows Phone. Best of all, it's grey.

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George Monbiot of The Guardian has crafted an interesting piece on smartphones (and general electronics) that are constructed in the blood of people from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten have been fought over by rival armies and militias for years. The war has killed millions through displacement, disease and malnutrition.

But which of the smartphone companies today are making sure their hardware is built using minerals that are gathered through legit and conflict-free? It's believed that Nokia has done more than most manufacturers with its Windows Phone and Asha line of products, but there's still room for improvement across the board, according to Monboit's report.

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Today in Germany, the District Court of Mannheim ruled that HTC was not guilty of infringing on two patents owned by Nokia, including one involving the use of Google Play on HTC Android devices. The patent (EP0812120), which nebulously covers a "method for using services offered by a telecommunication network, a telecommunication system and a terminal for it," was one that HTC called the "flagship patent" in the suit that alleges over 45 intellectual property violations by HTC.

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Burton and Nokia have always had a cozy relationship. They’ve teamed up in the past with accessories, sponsorships and more. Some recently notable activity between the two include sponsoring Roope Toneri, an insulator case, and the Burton app for Windows Phone. The app just got a new update that helps make it even better.

We’ve already showed you some of the cool camera features you’ll get with this lens app, but now you can do so much more. If you update to version 1.1.1 you’ll get two main features: the ability to track slope side data and track friends on the mountain.

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Microsoft Research is both an amazing establishment and frustrating one. It’s amazing because of the work they do - the future of technology being built today! It’s frustrating though because it can take years before we see the effects of such projects in commercial applications. With that understanding, it’s curious to see what Bing Now brings to the table.

Bing Now is a demonstration app by Microsoft Research that utilizes your phone’s microphones to gauge how crowded a particular restaurant or bar is at the moment. The idea behind it is that a user will check-in via Foursquare and during that process, a 6-10 seconds audio clip is recorded and analyzed for information. With 80% accuracy, the Bing Now app was able to predictably estimate the amount of people at the establishment and more. Users can also listen to the sample on their phones to hear it themselves.

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One of the big advantages for developers on Windows Phone 8 is the ability to use new gaming engines to drive the graphics. Unity is such an example, and it’s used by many gaming houses for development. The problem previously was that developers would have to rewrite their games specifically for Windows Phone with degradation in performance and appearance. Between the time and the final product, most developers walked away.

We’ve been anticipating the first Unity-driven game for Windows Phone 8 for some time and that day is evidently upon us. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore tweeted today that Drift Mania Championship 2 is the first game on Windows Phone to feature the Unity engine. The game runs for $1.99 with no trial and weighs in at 200MB.

The game itself is your typical racer game, complete with car customizations and head to head battles, but it also features the whole ‘drifting’ sub-genre where through controlled skids, you drift through turns. Doing so will get you points and doing it with flare even more so.

Peep our hands on video after the break...

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This Week: Purchase the Incipio Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case for HTC 8X and save $8.99!

Measuring less than 1mm thin, Incipio's Ultra Light Feather Case is ideal for the HTC 8X user seeking inconspicuous, first-class protection. Feather is made of an ultra light, ultra strong polymer for light as a feather, form-fitting durable protection without the added bulk. The case is so thin that it allows the HTC 8X to be used with many of the docks on the market. Comes in black, pink, blue and gray.

List Price: $24.99     This Week: $16.00

Learn More and Buy Now

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

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For those who are interested in the Nokia Lumia 520 or the more mid-range Lumia 720, there’s some good news around the corner. Both phones are now available for pre-order at Unlocked Mobiles (UK) for an April 1st release date with the 520 fetching for £159.98 (inc VAT) and £294.98 (inc VAT) for the Lumia 720. Multiple colors will be in stock, including Black, White, Red, Magenta, and Yellow for the 520 and Black, Red, Yellow for the svelte 720.

Likewise, according to Nokia Power User, both devices have just passed thru Bluetooth and Wi-Fi certification and hare headed for China Mobile. Much like the Lumia 920T, the 520 and 720 will be modified to run on China Mobile’s unique network setup. Both devices should sell well in China due to their lower price point and easy accessibility.

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Updated with new screenshot (12:30PM ET)

We’re just going to leave this here for now as we’re not 100% sure to do with it. The image above reportedly reveals the official Instagram app for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 on the Windows Phone Store page. But images can be faked and this one has a few issues with it.

For one, the first sentence states: “100 million users love Instagram! It’s a free, fun, and simple way to make and share gorgeous photos on your Android.”

Ahem, Android?

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Of all the Nokia devices to have been graced by custom ROMs, the Lumia 900 to our knowledge remains an exception. Before one applies a custom ROM, the so-called bootloader needs to be “unlocked” (and that’s very different from SIM unlocking). We won’t get into the messy details, but that’s the gist of it and so far, the 900 has not been unlocked  for loading some sweet custom work.

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Defend against the alien horde in Boom Brigade 2

Get the guns ready, sound the alarm, throw some headphones on and prepare to whip some alien ass in the latest title from developer 10tons. Boom Brigade 2, sequel to the popular iOS game, puts the player in control of troops and the overall defense, while waves of aliens attempt to seek and destroy. Think turret defense with more action and elements from line drawing. The result is an action-packed experience on Windows Phone.

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Lync 2013 now available for Windows Phone 8

Lync 2013 has been made available for Windows Phone 8 smartphones. The app from Microsoft enables those who have a Lync 2013 account to utilise the service on Windows Phone. Voice and video is supported with instant messaging, conferencing and extra call features to help provide an effective platform for business and enterprise to take advantage of.

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The popular Windows Phone RSS reader Feed Me has vanished from the Windows Phone Store. Nothing nefarious or sinister in the works, just likely removed for damage control.

It is our understanding from the developer that the last update caused a few unforeseen problems and it was likely pulled to avoid further issues. An updated version has been submitted to the Windows Phone Store for certification and should be published shortly.

If you are currently using Feed Me without issues, be careful to not delete the app for it may take a few days before it becomes available again.

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