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Nokia is the first to bring Kaliki to a mobile platform

Nokia is back at it again, giving customers the most bang for their buck by releasing two more exclusive apps today in the Nokia Collection for Lumia Windows Phones. Today’s apps include the Batman Origins comic and the truly unique Kaliki.

Batman Origins is a straight up prequel comic to the new movie Batman: The Dark Knight Rises due in a few weeks. There’s not much to the app as it’s just a straight up digital comic featuring two sides—Batman or Bane—and you can just go through and read it. The gorgeous artwork is provided by DC Comics of course and it’s a fun little read, especially for you fans.

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What’s more, under “Links” for the app there is evidently another app coming called “The Dark Knight Rises: Prologue”. That app is not yet available but we imagine it’s just a matter of time. This marks the third app from Nokia featuring Batman with the other being the TDKR App, now this origins-comic and soon a Prologue.

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Metrotube to return to the Marketplace as free app

Metrotube is coming back soon as free app

Happy news for those of you who are fans of LazyWorm's Metrotube app. After announcing that it would no longer be available after the first of the year, the developer has decided to bring it back to the Marketplace, this time, as a free app. In a letter to users,  the company explained that they faced a challenge with YouTube's API when trying to obtain high-quality videos from the Google-owned site. They were forced to use a workaround, but found it to be unsustainable in the long term. LazyWorm tried to get support in an official capacity from both Microsoft and Google, but just couldn't work it out, so they originally decided to pull what was widely considered to be the best YouTube app out there.

Since an officially-supported solution could not be found, LazyWorm decided to re-offer Metrotube for free using the workaround.  LazyWorm's announcement was short and to the point.

Our goal from the very beginning was to deliver a rich YouTube experience that could be officially promoted by Microsoft (or Google). It was for this reason that we never supported features such as video download or the playback of non-mobile content and why we have spent the past 7 months investigating alternative avenues of delivering the same rich experience via official means.

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Lenovo is in negotiations with MS

It seems as though Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) is generating interest from manufacturers who only previously dipped their toes in the Windows Phone waters. WPDang reports that executives from Lenovo's Research and Development division visited Microsoft's headquarters to discuss the possibility of making WP8 devices. What's more, Lenovo has reportedly requested that they be allowed to customize the UI to include their own apps and app store, much like they did with their Android-powered LePhone and not unlike Nokia has done with their Lumia line of phones.

Lenovo had developed a Windows Phone 7 device to be released in China, but not much came of it. Whether or not they will be allowed the UI customization that they seek remains to be seen. Either way, it would be great to see another OEM added to Windows Phone family.

Source: WPDang (Google translation); Via: WPSauce

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WP Central

Fans of game developers Ubisoft, who are known for Assassin’s Creed, Fitness Evolved, Just Dance and many other popular titles on Xbox 360, will be pleased to check out their new companion app simply called Uplay.

If you use Ubisoft’s games, you probably already know what Uplay is for but for those who don’t, it's is their system to provide a “wide range of exclusive services and free content" to their customers.  Basically you create an account and they give you “points” for purchasing things, keeping track of new games, getting extra weapons or features for your games, etc.

WP Central

We were already registered since we use Fitness Evolved for Xbox Kinect and use their other companion app, Your Shape. Heck, we just had a birthday recently and Ubisoft sent us a $10 coupon for any of their games, so yeah there are some benefits.  Here’s the feature list:

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WP Central

UK Windows Phone users should be pretty happy with this new application. VirginTrain Tickets arrived in the Marketplace today and looks to be a superb tool for commuters. With the app comes paperless tickets as your e-ticket will be sent straight to your Windows Phone. That means no queuing too!

WP Central

There are a vast array of options within the app which you can see below:

  • Search times and fares for any train to any destination in the UK.
  • Buy tickets up to 10 minutes before you want to depart.
  • Book for up to 8 people at once.
  • Totally secure booking.
  • Absolutely no hidden booking or credit card fees (we hate those!)
  • Get tickets sent straight to your mobile or collect from our FastTicket machines.
  • Log-in to your account so you only need to enter your details once.
  • Check live departures/arrivals info to see how your train is running, before you even get on it.
  • And you get all this for the one-off payment of... nothing! Free things are always the best things in life

Sounds pretty good doesn't it? Even better news is that the app is free.

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WP Central

The Nokia Lumia 800: Trend setter

We’ve had discussions before, sometimes heated, about what should be the proper name for Windows Phone and whether it’s catchy, unique enough or even hampered by the “Windows” name. But one thing is for sure, Nokia seems to have a hit with the 'Lumia' brand.

Using Google’s Trends function to compare searches for 'Windows Phones' against 'Lumia' you get an interesting result. Since about November 2011, 'Lumia' has been searched for much more often than 'Windows Phone' which is curious only because Nokia’s handsets are a subset of Windows Phone, yet they’re clearly leading in terms of brand awareness and consumer curiosity.

WP Central

Last 12 months of Google searches for 'Lumia' vs 'Windows Phone' vs 'Windows Mobile'

Going further, looking at “news reference volume” which details how often Lumia is cited in the media, we can see that although it trails Windows Phone, it often follows the same pattern of interest and is near the same level.

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36

An HTC Titan gets white-washed, looks good

WP Central

Nights in white Titan

If there was one really cool thing about the HTC Titan (review), it was the combo back cover-case for the device which wrapped around to the front. (We’ve always thought it to be like Darth Vader’s helmet).

But if there was a bad thing about the HTC Titan (and its sequel, the Titan II) it was the fact it was a bit bland looking. Specifically that whole gun-metal grey color scheme is very 2009 which is why you’re seeing such a push for white phones these days.

What you see above and below is a Titan whose back cover has presumably been spray painted white (we're not sure on the exact process). The photos come via some of the members from Winphoneviet.com and we have to say, it looks pretty good.

WP Central

Of course looking good in photos and not feeling like a garage-lab project is another, so we’re not too sure if we’d recommend doing this. Then again, we’re positive some of you must have some good shop skills for this kind of thing, so consider this inspiration.

And HTC, can we try some different colors next time? 

Source: Winphoneviet; Thanks, Tung, for the pics

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WP Central

Rage against the train

The European Union has launched its own app for air and rail passengers stranded in the EU due to cancelations or delays to check their legal rights about refunds and rebates.

The app, simply titled Your Rights, is nothing extraordinary but what is neat is just how wide its coverage reaches. The app’s contents is available in 22 languages, uses local storage for data so no internet is needed and it’s available on Windows Phone, iOS, Android and Blackberry. It’s one of the first times we’ve seen such a massive simultaneous release and it’s nice to see Windows Phone right up there.

WP Central

From the app description:

“The Your Passenger Rights application provides users with clear and concise information on their travel rights within the European Union. Presented in a question/answer format, it allows users to easily identify the problem which they are experiencing and be provided with a clear explanation of their rights and the options available to them.”

Currently, the app only covers air and rail but it will extend to bus/coach and marine travel in 2013.

Sure, the EU as a concept and execution catches a lot of flak at times but it’s actually nice to see some pro-consumer legislation turn to technology for everyday use.

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Cyan Lumia 900 now available on Rogers in Canada

WP Central

Good news for folks up in Canada who’ve been pining for that Cyan Lumia 900. Evidently Rogers didn’t have the Cyan version, for whatever reason, and that has now been rectified. We’re not sure why Cyan took so long to get up there; our bet is the blame lies with Rogers just not requesting it.

WP Central

Well you can now grab the famous blue colored one for $29.99 on a 3-year contract or $524.99 off. We’re not here to tell you how to spend your money, but committing to a 3-year contract just seems crazy to us, especially with the non-update situation. But hey, for a loved one, this could be a great gift.

Source: Rogers; via Mobile Syrup; Thanks, Evan K., for the heads up

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Mush for Windows Phone

Care for a fine Windows Phone-exclusive Xbox Live release this week? You’re in luck then, because Mush from indie British developer Angry Mango is finally available after a whopping two years of development.

Mush

Mush is a bright and original platformer that plays a bit differently from the norm. The titular character Mush gains unique abilities based on his emotions. Draw a smile and becomes so elated that he floats; make him frown and he sinks way down low. Using 12 different emotions, you’ll help Mush solve puzzles and rescue his friends who’ve been trapped inside of Matroska dolls. Besides the creative emotion mechanic, Mush also boasts a beautiful and appealing art style. You can see it in action in our E3 hands-on video.

Mush costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Don’t get too mushy on us; just get it here from the Marketplace.

QR: Mush

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WP Central

The human race enjoys shoving plastic and metal into (or around) the ear, but a new patent shows just what Microsoft had in mind to make this more enjoyable for those who listen to music while on the go. Think headphones, think Zune, now think of both of those connected as one, slapped on top of your skull.

As one can see in the above image, the headphones enable the user to connect a Zune music player to the side, while the opposite connector is free for rechargeable battery packs, storage extensions, WiFi adapters, and more. The Zune device looks to be a fairly minute music player, presumably along the dimensions of the Apple iPod Nano.

WP Central

According to the documentation, the headphones could also house controls to operate peripherals, not to mention an optional microphone and even USB ports. It's an interesting concept that allows the consumer to personalise the headphones to suit the individual needs.

The only downside is this patent was filled back in 2008 and we know that Zune hardware is no longer with us. Who knows, perhaps Microsoft also planned to include voice control - "Beam me up Ballmer!"

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WP Central

According to a press release sent out by Nokia for a press event in New Delhi on July 6th, we could well be seeing the Dark Knight Windows Phones heading to India. BGR India reports that multiple sources have confirmed Nokia could be looking to launch the Lumia 900 in the country, which could sport a Dark Knight version if the above invite is anything to go by. 

BGR also reports that Nokia could also be releasing the Lumia 610, the low-end Windows Phone "Tango" smartphone. As well as new hardware, the manufacturer is expected to be unveiling the Nokia Music Store in India for Lumia Windows Phones, including the already available Lumia 710 and 800. To finish off, speculation also suggest a Mix Radio app could well be on the way.

Source: BGR, via: WMPU

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Jewel of the Nile

Yes, our DOTW images are getting more and more obscure.

Last week Gerbil Physics - a game that had never been on sale before - became the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. That must’ve been an aberration, as this week we get another repeat deal. Bejeweled Live is on sale again for $2.99, down from $4.99.Bejeweled Live

Bejeweled is the classic match-3 puzzle game that has enchanted casual gamers across a variety of platforms. If you’re hungry for a simple puzzle game to play whenever a spare moment pops up, Bejeweled is a good place to look. As our review indicates, the Windows Phone version has three ways to play: Classic, Race the Clock, and Endless. It’s also got some tough and grindy Achievements despite being a casual title, but that’s PopCap games for you.

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WP Central

For the last few years, Mozilla, makers of the king of indie browsers Firefox, have been working on a new mobile OS called Boot2Gekko. The OS was built around HTML5 and CSS coding tools and it tended to look very much like Android and iOS—that is it was a collection of icons laid out in a grid with some notifications.

Today, in a somewhat surprising move they announced the re-naming of the OS to Firefox OS and they intend to put it on phones next year. In a press release, the company noted that it had deals with TCL Communication Technology (Alcatel) and ZTE to make the hardware for new devices with carrier partners Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor are all backing the initiative.

What caught our eye though was Sprint. The company who has the HTC Arrive, who claimed sales are miserable and were “thinking about” Windows Phone 8 but who were the only major US carrier to not publicly endorse it after the recent Summit.  This is the same company now throwing their hat in with Firefox OS which no one has even seen yet let alone knows what’s unique about it. Yet they can’t sign on with Microsoft and their one-two punch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8? Yeesh

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Microsoft wins "Xbox 8" domain names in dispute

MS obtains

Microsoft has obtained a handful of Xbox-related domain names after filing two disputes with the National Arbitration Forum. The domains were originally held by a Chinese resident by the name of Cheng Juan and included XboxPhone.com, XboxTablet.com, XboxLiveTV.com, XboxCompanion.com, Xbox8.us and Xbox8.org.

What's most notable here is are the two "Xbox 8" domain names. It's been known (speculated) for some time that the newest iteration of Xbox would be called Xbox 720. This was confirmed in a recently-leaked roadmap. However, that roadmap was 2 years old. Despite the fact that the latest Xbox will not be the eighth version Microsoft has put out, it's completely plausible that Microsoft would re-brand the new gaming console to fall in step with its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems, with whom it shares the same basic kernel. Keep in mind that the name "Xbox 720" really doesn't hold much significance either, nor does it have a nice ring to it.

Microsoft issued a statement to Kotaku addressing (to use the word loosely) the recent domain name acquisitions:

"Microsoft often acquires various domain names as part of its ongoing business strategy, but beyond that we have no comment."

Other similar complaints have been filed with the National Arbitration Forum for Xboxliverewards.com, Xboxsports.com, Xboxsmartglass.com, and Xboxmusic.com.

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WP Central

What's in version 1.2? Only the Shadow knows...

Although it has taken a very long time to get Audible on Windows Phone, the app has received two updates since its initial release just a few weeks ago. That’s some fast response time to what are presumably bug fixes and optimizations.

Version 1.2 just hit the Marketplace for Windows Phone with v1.1 happening sometime last week when it also popped up in the UK.

Unfortunately, the Audible folks don’t seem too keen on sharing release notes, so we’ll have to wing this one and just say “it got better, somehow”. We don’t use the app enough to figure out ourselves (we fall asleep to story narrations, we blame it on childhood) so we’ll rely on you to point out any new features or bug fixes.

Grab the free official Audible app for Windows Phone, now on mysterious version 1.2, here in the Marketplace. Thanks,  James M., for the heads up

Update: Reader Jack let us know that the app was also made available in Germany last week and this latest update fixes some translations issues for their language.

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LockWidgets 2

We've previously looked at the Locked Screen Widgets concept over at Windows Phone Hacker throughout it's development. We're now excited to report that LockWidgets 2 has been released and is now available to all (should you own an eligible Windows Phone of course).

What's all the fuss about? LockWidgets 2 is a complete rewrite of the original LockWidgets app, which enabled users to add widgets to their lock screen. The successor adds more functionality to the list with more opportunities present in the framework. Some highlighted features:

  • SMS widget
  • Weather widget
  • Battery widget
  • Runs in the background
  • Should run side-by-side with other homebrew apps, such as Folders, Battery Status, etc.

Features that are still in development, but are well on their way include an RSS widget, improved forecast info, more notification data, and a RAM widget. Check out the following video for more information and a quick run through.

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WP Central

Senior product manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan

Since the announcement of Windows Phone 8 and some its new functionality, it's been unclear whether or not we would see some budget devices (256MB of RAM) sporting the new OS, or if the 7.8 update would be the only option (currently, Microsoft's answer to this problem are Tango phones like the Lumia 610). The question was posed by KnowYourMobile to senior product manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan, who hinted that economical Apollo devices are a distinct possibility:

"I would argue those are not mutually exclusive strategies and that is in fact is our approach. We will continue to support the current platform with the 256MB footprint in devices like the Lumia 610. And one of the points about the new architecture is that it will scale both up and down," and then added, 'In fact, having support for removable SD storage will enable OEMs to build devices with less storage initially that is user expandable, so the bill of materials is potentially even lower for the handsets."

Sullivan also went on to explain Microsoft's reasoning on limiting earlier Windows Phone devices to the 7.8 update, despite major disappointment amongst consumers.

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WP Central

The Lumia 900 - Winner of the 2012 IDEA Award for Design

At this point, it’s little surprise to see Nokia continuing to win awards for its Lumia line of smartphones, specifically the Lumia 800 and its offshoot the 900. Earlier this year it won 4 awards at CES 2012.  But it’s still nice to see them getting the recognition and let’s face it they’re the only Windows Phone OEM in town winning design awards. Heck, they’re pretty much the only smartphone maker to win design awards, regardless of platform.

This year they won gold at the International Design Excellence Awards, sponsored by the Henry Ford Museum, official home of American ideas and innovation. The jury had some fairly nice words for Nokia:

“In a market in which it is difficult to stand out, the Nokia Lumia brings a fresh perspective. The iconic form is personal and inviting without sacrificing precision, and the construction is modern, efficient and well-crafted down to the smallest details. It’s a bold, gold-worthy effort, and I’m glad to see Nokia reclaim its design swagger.” Jonah Becker, Principal and Creative Director, One & Co.

From the Lumia 900 page:

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Yesterday we saw the release of the official Encyclopedia Britannica app for Windows Phone. The issue we had with the app was twofold: it fetches for $4.99 and there is no trial. On top of that, it looks like you have to pay that $4.99 a year to renew the app.

The question for many would be Is it worth it? Well, we ponied up for the app and show you what we think.

In essence, the official Encyclopedia Britannica app is well done. It’s fast, smooth and has a lot of features. In short, if you pay the $4.99 for this app you’ll get a fairly solid and reliable encyclopedia with offline saving abilities, pinnable entries to your Start screen, sharing options and a well done (but not totally Metro) UI.

WP Central

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Verious partnering with Deutsche Telekom

It wasn't long ago that Verious Inc., a leader in connecting developers with components and services for mobile app development, partnered with Microsoft to add Windows Phone development to their catalog. Verious already had a strong presence in the iOS and Android development community and the addition of the Windows Phone platform was seen as a plus. Verious is able to provide hundreds of pre-built mobile app components, open source projects, SDKs, and other tools to Windows Phone developers.

Today, Verious has announced a new partnership with Deutsche Telekom which enables Deutsche Telekom to launch the Developer Garden Component Marketplace for developers across Europe. This partnership will add significantly to the number of developer tools available for mobile application development. Deutsche Telekom previously announced plans to develop and promote tools that will help developers using Microsoft Visual Studio to mash up Deutsche Telekom's world-class network services with applications built for Microsoft Corp.'s device and cloud technology platforms. The partnership between Verious and Deutsche Telekom, coupled with the Deutsche Telekom partnership with Microsoft is expected to boost Windows Phone development significantly...

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A few weeks ago we reported on Aviary releasing their SDK for Windows Phone, allowing developers with little effort to plug in the company’s photo editing suite into any application out there. Rowi was one of the first to do this, allowing its users to quickly do sophisticated photo edits without ever leaving the popular Twitter app.

Today, Aviary has released Photo Genius, a standalone version of those tools for all Windows Phone users. The app is a “demonstration” one meaning it’s meant to show off what Aviary can do but for you all that means is you get an awesome, full featured photo editing program for your phone.

The app behaves like the “Auto Fix” feature built into Windows Phone. It analyzes a selected photo and then recommends a sweeping set of changes which you can enable with a quick “checkmark”. You can then compare the before and after images with a simple toggle, allowing you to see if you like the modifications.

WP Central

If you don’t like the alterations or want to do more, you can hit the “Edit” button and load up Aviary’s full set of photo manipulation tools. Such tools include controls for brightness, contrast, sharpness, cropping, rotation, red-eye fix, filters, stickers and more—it really has it all.

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Xbox Live - Pool Pro Online 3 exclusive preview

Pool Pro Online 3

Namco Bandai may be best known for their Pac-Man and Katamari Damacy titles on Windows Phone, but the publisher does dip into other genres from time to time. Case in point, their next game centers on the sport of pool. Pool Pro Online 3 comes to Xbox Live very soon, and Windows Phone Central has exclusive first screenshots to prove it.

Head past the break for our full preview and more screens!

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WP Central

Not great news today from the Windows Phone camp. It would appear that CNET have been chatting with Greg Sullivan from Microsoft and what he has said isn't what Windows Phone users wanted to hear.

It seems that Microsoft has know for a long time that Windows Phone 7 would be replaced by Windows Phone 8.

"It was right after Windows Phone 7," Sullivan said, speaking in an interview with CNET UK. The team that developed the 7.5 release actually was working in parallel with the core team that was already beginning [Windows Phone 8]. In fact some of that work was already initiated before Windows Phone 7 was even available -- so this goes back a little bit."

"It is true that this is a generational shift -- that is a rare occurrence, but it's something we don't expect to have happen again in the foreseeable future because of the headspace that the new architecture gives us."

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WP Central

With all the Windows Phone "Tango" update madness that's currently underway, whether you're forcing the upgrade or receiving it from the carrier, there's a number of networks pushing out the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. Vodafone Germany has joined this list with Windows Phone Central reader EvilEls sending in a screenshot of the Zune update process.

The updates are for the first generation Samsung Omnia 7 smartphone. The first being a firmware update, with the follow-up presumably the Tango upgrade. Device changes reported are as follows:

  • OS: 7.10.7720.68 => 7.10.8773.98
  • Firmware: 2424.11.8.5 => 2424.11.11.2
  • Radio Software: 2424.11.7.2 => 2424.11.9.1
  • Bootloader: 5.8.1.9 => 5.11.1.8

Omnia 7 Tango

Have you been Tango'd yet? Let us know in the comments if you've received the update or have forced it through Zune.

Thanks EvilEls for the tip!

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