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Nokia has Windows Phone "contingency plan"

Nokia has Windows Phone

Many have speculated that if Windows Phone 8 should somehow flop, then Nokia's goose is cooked. Not so says Nokia board chairman, Risto Siilasmaa. In his first television interview on Thursday, Siilasmaa said that Nokia has a "contingency plan" in place just in case Microsoft's mobile OS "fails to live up to expectations." That being said, he stressed that the company was confident that it would be a success, describing Windows Phone 8 as "a technological first, providing users with a seamless user experience across multiple platforms, from PCs to tablets and smartphones."

He defended Nokia's decision to ditch their own operating system after “Symbian’s market share has come down close to zero,” since it began to decline in 2008. Siilasmaa also stood by CEO, Stephen Elop, who "came in at a tough time." Nokia's stock has plummeted since making the move to Windows Phone and the Finnish manufacturer has announced that it will be cutting 10,000 jobs.

Contingency plan or not, Nokia's fate seems to be closely tied to the success of Windows Phone. They took a huge hit after the change in strategy, and it's hard to believe that they could survive a second one in such a short time.

Source: Yle Uutiset; Via: CNET; Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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WP Central

Microsoft, Nokia & AT&T had high hopes for the Lumia 900 back in January

Microsoft with the help of Nokia has stemmed the bleeding of market share over the last two years as the new comScore number just published reveal.

The number of mobile subscribers is up 0.1% to 4.0% ending at the end of May, 2012. That means those numbers include the launch of Nokia’s much hyped Lumia 900 on AT&T and softer launches of the admirable Samsung Focus 2 and HTC Titan 2.

That’s the good news because Microsoft has been losing market share to Android and the iPhone for a very long time now. If we look back to the same period in May 2011, you can see Microsoft had 5.8% of the market and continued to slide up until the end of May this year.

The bad news is multifaceted. For one, these numbers include Microsoft’s legacy Windows Mobile devices, which presumably have now mostly died off. Number two should be obvious. Although stopping the hemorrhage and gaining some market share for the first time in years, a 0.1% increase is hardly anything to be excited about—especially if you’re Nokia.

WP Central

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WP Central

While it is very rare for any Windows Phone to crash or freeze, we have on a few occasions seen it happen. It's rare because 3rd party apps don't have access to the core of the OS and therefore it's very difficult to cause the system to become unstable. Still, the problem may pop up and we figured we would cover you for the Lumia 800 & 900.

Why these two Nokia devices? With their unibody design, there's no physical way to access and therefore pull the battery. That puts users in a pickle if they need to soft-reset a stuck device. So without further ado, here's how you do it:

Lumia 900

  • Press and hold the volume keys, power button and camera together for 3-5 seconds
  • The phone should soft-reset (although some say you should feel 3 vibrations, ours never has)

Lumia 800

  • Press and hold the volume keys and power button together for 3-5 seconds
  • The phone should soft-reset

That's it. So although you will probably never need this it's good to know if you're in a pinch.

Edit: Some are saying in comments that just holding the power button for 10 seconds works too.

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WP Central

Are you into absorbing knowledge and facts? Would you like 80,000 articles in your Windows Phone to browse at your leisure? Well you can, with Encyclopaedia which is a Encyclopedia Britannica application now available in the Windows Marketplace.

The only downside I can see here is its price. At $4.99 and without a trial it isn't the cheapest app but it would appear you do get a lot for your money.

Features of the application include:

  • 80,000 articles in a fully searchable database
  • Tens of thousands of images, diagrams and charts
  • Ability to download articles for offline viewing, store your favorites and access your search history
  • Research noteworthy events and birthdates from 'This day' in history
  • An A-Z browse allows users to browse the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica

You can pick up the official Encyclopedia Britannica app for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace.

via: WPSauce

QR: Britannica

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WP Central

Update: As pointed out in comments, these could be Nokia's Asha phones (305 and 306) which are just hitting the market. The smaller battery and dual-SIMs give credence to that notion, although Nokia often recycles a lot, including battery types to reduce costs.

Despite Windows Phone 7.x devices looking all but DOA for new launches, a few phones have popped up on the FCC that has caught our attention. At this point, we can’t really believe that (a) these are still WP7.x devices or (b) they will launch anytime soon. That means we may be looking at some Windows Phone 8 devices or these are formalities for other reasons (lots of phones get FCC certs without ever being picked up).

First up is of course Nokia (you can read about ZTE’s phone here). They have two devices, RM-844 and RM-852, which are making their way through the FCC. Both devices look to be the same model but RM-852 appears to be destined for Canada with dual-SIMs while RM-844 looks to be for, wait for it, T-Mobile. We're assuming they are Windows Phones due to Nokia's commitment to the platform but there's nothing conclusive in the documents.

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ZTE N859 passes FCC running Mango

Recent FCC documentation shows that a new Windows Phone device made by Chinese manufacturer ZTE has passed certification. There are not many details on the N859, as it is called, other than that it is CDMA-only and will be running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). One N859 has popped up on Occasional Gamer's gaming stats page, so we know there is at least one out there being tested in the wild.

It's a little odd that ZTE would be looking to release a WP7.5 device so close to the launch of Windows Phone 8 (Apollo), as many consumers will likely just hold off on buying a new phone so they can get the latest and greatest. However, ZTE tends to target emerging markets and cost-conscious consumers, so perhaps they are betting on demand for a more economical device with fewer bells and whistles.

Source: FCC, OccasionalGamer; Via: WindowsPhoneDaily, Engadget

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68

A curved 'Arc' keyboard for Windows Phone?

Arc Keyboard for Windows Phone

I must say I am not overly keen on the above. It just looks weird to me but that maybe just because it is a new concept. WMPoweruser has managed to get hold of the image of the Arc keyboard and it is suggested that this may well be something that Microsoft are looking to introduce to Windows Phone in the future.

Apparantly this picture has come from a leaked Microsoft Research presentation. Will we see this in the future? Who knows, but what we can be certain of is that all operating system providers will experiment with altenative keyboards from time to time.

In my opinion I am not sure this one is needed and if it will even be a selling point for Windows Phone. If we are given a choice of which keyboard we use on a device could work. That wouldnt do any harm for sure.

What do you think? Please let us have your opinions in the comments.

Source: WMPoweruser; Thanks, Gordon, for the tip!

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WP Central

As many of you may have noticed, two somewhat major apps for Windows Phone received updates in the last 24 hours, so we’ll pass on the news in case you missed it.

First up is Facebook, which has been receiving quite a few updates lately, generally a good sign…unless you consider everything so broke that it needs even more fixing. The last update was just a week ago for version 2.6 and now version 2.7  has landed in the Marketplace bringing with it some new fixes though no new features:

  • Notifications now show updated time instead of created time
  • Corrected thumbnail display on likes
  • Now respecting except clause on posts with custom privacy settings

That’s nothing terribly exciting though if you were experiencing any of those issues, hopefully you’ll be a bit pleased with the update.

WP Central

Next up is Amazon’s Kindle ebook app. That app is now on version 1.2 which shows you how often that one gets updated (seriously, it has had one update in the last year). The good news here is this update is more significant:

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WP Central

Windows Phone 8773 still has a few hidden things in it

While users around the world are slowly getting the Windows Phone Tango 8773 update, a few under-the-hood changes are being noticed by users. We forced manually installed the update onto our Focus 2, Titan II and Lumia 900 with the Focus 2 (review) being our main device these days. As a result, we have had some experience running Tango and noticed a few little nuggets which we'll share below.

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WP Central

Should you be an avid Sainsbury's supermarket shopper and love earning the ol' Nectar points, you'll want to check out the Sainsbury's app for Windows Phone. The app, which is available for free, is a portal of information accompanied by quick access to the mobile version of the online store.

Unfortunately you'll not be able to do the weekly shop through the app, but Nectar details, special (and some exclusive) offers and a store locator is included. While more functionality would complete the experience, it's good to have such an app available on the platform.

Should you wish to order groceries online, you'll be taken to the mobile version of the supermarket's website in Internet Explorer, which will require a separate store login.

WP Central

You can download the Sainsbury's app from the Marketplace for free. Thanks, Dan J., for the tip!

WP Central

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Today, Nokia has released their official Six Flags app exclusively for Lumia Windows Phones. The app was announced back at the beginning of May and it is now available. Six Flags is one of the largest US operators of amusement parks and is the go-to place for riding roller coasters, rides and general entertainment. The timing is perfect too as the July 4th week/weekend is the busiest time for such parks and Nokia has nailed it with this app.

The app features an interactive map of your local Six Flags, where you can tap on an icon to grab more info. What’s more, you can use the augmented-reality feature to find specific rides, bathrooms, restaurants, events or just shopping. The map has layers where you can filter specific rides (mild, moderate or maximum) etc. so you only see what you want. In addition, you have a satellite view and a general augmented-reality view to as well,

Six Flags

Park shows and their schedules are also listed including a calendar of events, which makes planning a snap and videos of various rides gives you a sneak peek of what to expect. Finally, you have Foursquare and Twitter feeds built in so you can checkin and or follow any local trends going on with the Six Flags hash-tag.

The app is fast, fluid and very well designed. We don’t go to Six Flags very often but if we had a season pass or we were heading to one, grabbing our Lumia Windows Phone would be a must.

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3

Windows Phone Apps Magazine #3 readily available

WP Apps Magazine 3

The Windows Phone UK team have released two editions of the Apps Magazine so far that is focused on helping new adopters get started with their new Windows Phones. Edition #3 is readily available should you find yourself in the dark and haven't quite yet got round to checking it out for the rich content available.

The edition follows #2, which was released back in November. As well as running through a number of apps (160 to be exact) available on the Marketplace, the magazine does feature highlights of Windows Phone itself, from Live Tiles to Bing and local services. Whether you're an experienced fan or have just jumped from a competitor platform, it's well worth a read.

Be sure to check out the Windows Phone Apps Magazine on Facebook.

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Fixing Background Task problems

Recently here at Windows Phone Central we've received a few help requests through our app from users whose live tiles all appear to have stopped updating, including our own. Previously there have been bugs in our app that would cause its tile to fail, but when all live tiles on a device that rely on Background tasks get stuck, there's a bigger problem.

Up until this point I have been unable to reproduce the issue myself so I've been struggling to assist those of you asking us for a solution. In a stroke of luck though my Lumia 800's tiles recently stopped updating at all (excluding those updated through push notifications), and after a simple restart of the phone didn't help I have a solution to share with you all.

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WP Central

With the announcement of Windows Phone 7.8 and the parallel announcement that current devices won’t get Windows Phone 8 Apollo, many have wondered if the new Start screen with customizable Live Tiles is all it will contain.

In essence, there are two camps on the matter—those who say Microsoft have only promised the new Start screen and those who pin their hopes on the “all we’ve announced so far...” line often touted by Microsoft when asked about the update.

Microsoft recently and directly told a few of us who cover tech media that Windows Phone 7.8 will only be the new Start screen with nothing else hinted at or mentioned. This is why we find many of the big players who cover Microsoft news taking this more conservative position because they are reporting, correctly, what they have been told.

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WP Central

This week we've had the pleasure of being joined by Fisayo Adeleke from Exnesys. He's the brains behind Markets & Me, a financial Windows Phone app for those who enjoy keeping up with stock levels and reports for personal interest. 

We think highly of Adeleke's app, which follows Metro to the letter. Be sure to check out what he has to say about Windows Phone as a platform, as well as the development process. Head on past the break for the full interview.

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7

Windows Phone UK Dare to Live challenge tackles Brighton

WP Central

We've been following the Windows Phone UK Dare to Live tour, which is challenging the public in a number of major city across the UK. Previously, we looked at how the campaign was progressing with the win / loss ratio, and it was revealed that Windows Phone certainly was the leading platform with a considerable lead.

Now the Dare to Live challenge has made its way to Brighton in the south of England. Should you find yourself in and around the area this week, be sure to pop down and check out the event. If you're reading this and use a competitor smartphone, why not try your luck and potentially pocket £20 by beating Windows Phone? Should you lose, well, you know what happens by now.

Thanks, Neil, for the tip and photo!

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WP Central

In a somewhat surprising move, Nokia and Vodafone New Zealand have released the Lumia 610 for $449 (off-contract) and it is now available on that carrier for purchase.

The somewhat low-cost Lumia 610 features a 3.7” non-ClearBlack LCD display, 256MB of RAM and a 800Mhz CPU with 8GB of storage. While not the most exciting device in terms of specs, the build quality is quite high—at least higher than anything LG has put out recently (Quantum being the exception).

We say "somewhat low-cost" only because while the Lumia 610 is affordable (we bought ours unlocked for less than $300 US), some would argue that it’s still not cheap enough when up against some Android devices or even up against the superior Lumia 710.

WP Central

But at least according to Nokia ANZ's sales director, Steve Lewis, the company was seeing "real momentum" with their Lumia phones. Of course Steve may be a little biased here and it’s certainly not enough to boost Nokia’s stock but hey, we kind of like the 610 and what Nokia is doing, so let’s hope it sells in New Zealand.

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SkyManager from JDB Pocketware

JDB Pocketware has a nice selection of Windows Phone apps over at the Marketplace including Handyscan, SkyManager and 7Dialer. To celebrate reaching 1,000 likes over on Facebook, the Windows Phone developer has decided to share the joy by offering all their titles for just $.99 this weekend.

Just head on over to JDB Pocketware's Facebook page and "like" them. You'll then be sent to a page that has the link to JDB Pocketware's software sales page where you can send the app links to your Windows Phone.  The sale covers JDB Pocketware's entire app catalog including the latest title Fat You (a photo morphing app) and their financial app, MoBudget.

JDB Pocketware Software Sale

For many of the Windows Phone apps, this is a $2.00 savings. So if you were thinking about moving from Handyscan Free to the paid version, now's your chance to save a few bucks.

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WP Central

While Samsung has not exactly wowed many with the Omnia M announcement a few weeks ago, the low-end Tango phone is important for the company and the platform as it allows them to compete with Android. Such is the reason why their launching of the device China Mobile and China Unicom is quite inspiring (China Telecom is supposed to get one too, but it was not yet announced).

The phones are slightly different due to the radio difference and they also vary on memory, with the Unicom version have 8GB of storage while Mobile gets 4GB. Other than that we're talking about 1GHz CPUs, 4" 800x480, 5MP rear and 0.3MP front facing cameras and everything else we expect from a Windows Phone these days. Interestingly, these are not technically Tango phones as they have 384MB of available RAM though they will run the Tango OS.

No pricing or release dates were revealed by either carrier, which is unfortunate. It should be interesting to see how Samsung prices their device against the even more low-end Nokia Lumia 610.

Source: MyDrivers; via Unwired View

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104

RIM said thanks, but no thanks, to Windows Phone

WP Central

Reuters reports what we kind of knew back in December, that Microsoft boss, Steve Ballmer approached RIM about making a Nokia-style deal to scrap its own operating system in favor of adopting Windows Phone. Unlike Nokia, however, RIM decided it would sink or swim on its own, declining an infusion of cash from Microsoft, in exchange for a stake in the company. During a conference call yesterday, RIM CEO, Thorsten Heins, shot down the idea of moving to another company's OS, be it Android or Windows Phone:

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US Cellular throws its support behind Windows Phone 8

WP Central

US Cellular has informed PCMag that they are looking forward to Windows Phone 8, which will play a major part of the carrier's lineup. The carrier currently holds a single Windows Phone - the HTC 7 Pro. It's a positive sign to see the smaller US carriers positive announce their support for Microsoft's mobile platform.

"We believe in giving our customers the latest technology and device options and we are excited about the Windows 8 phone. It will be an important part of our device lineup going forward."

It's going to be exciting to see which Windows Phone 8 devices go where, and how the carriers play their part in the marketing and promotion of the platform. We're yet to hear anything from Sprint, which has the potential to disappoint loyal Sprint Windows Phone owners who are arguably amongst the most dedicated.

Source: PCMag, via: Engadget; thanks, Michael, for the tip!

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WPCentral Ringtone Contest winners!

While we had hoped to announce the winners of the Windows Phone Central Ringtone Contest yesterday, judging proved to be more difficult than expected. We had a lot of quality entries submitted over in our Forums Discussion.  Nonetheless, after listening to all the entries our Ringtone Contest Winners are:

All have won a Nokia Play 360! We are dispatching emails to get everyone's shipping information and will get the Nokia Play headed their way shortly.

We would also like to extend our congratulations to Elvis7 and Kyle H for being randomly selected for our weekly prizes, WPCentral Accessory Store gift card, during the contest period.

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11

Windows Phone Game Round-up: Platformer Games

WPCentral Platform Game Roundup

This week's roundup takes a simple approach on things. We'll take a look at the top platformer games for your Windows Phone. With no rhyme or reason, we tapped half a dozen of the top fifty platformer games. We have a rolling ball, a running dude, ninjas without legs and temples of death.  Most are fast paced, entertaining games that are challenging enough to keep you interested without being too frustrating.

Keep in mind that if an app doesn't make the roundup it should not reflect poorly on things. These are just a collection of apps or games that have stood out to us. If we've missed an app that you think should have been included, sound off in the comments.  With 100K titles, we'd be scrolling for hours to cover them all in one round up.

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WP Central

Todd Brix has announced on the Windows Phone Developer Blog that Windows Phone 8 will support 180 countries at launch. The platform currently covers 63 markets, making this a fairly sizeable improvement. Developers will also be able to make full use of this added support, which will be a bonus for consumers in those markets.

So which countries are being added? Check out the chart after the break for all the juicy details...

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