Microsoft has added a new perk for Xbox LIVE Rewards Gold members. MyAchievements, as it is called, offers benefits for players who have achieved certain Gamerscores. The program is live and has already unlocked the different tiers for players who have reached each milestone, of which there are three.
We’ve had lots to say about Rocket Riot lately. A few weeks ago it received an update that added Avatar Awards and asynchronous multiplayer, and not long after that we published our exclusive preview of the Windows 8 version – Rocket Riot 3D. Now that the phone games has all that fancy multiplayer challenge stuff going on, it needs people to play it. Luckily it’s going to be this week’s Xbox Deal of the Week, going dropping to $2.99 (down from $4.99) when the sale goes live tomorrow.
Last week’s Xbox release, Extraction: Project Outbreak (review coming tomorrow!) was a surprising strategy title mixed with elements of action. This week, we get another strategy title, but otherwise it couldn’t be more different. Babel Rising 3D will soon be on the Windows Phone Store, courtesy of developer Mando Productions with Ubisoft publishing. Yes, this is Ubisoft’s first Windows Phone title (Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell came from Gameloft under license from Ubisoft).
The much anticipated launch of the Microsoft Surface tablets is less than 20 days away. So far, word is that the product will only be sold through Microsoft's own retail stores. Alternative retailers remains largely guesswork. If that's the only destined distribution channel, it means relatively limited availability for Americans, and a big red "no way" to everyone elsewhere.
According to latest leaks from Chinese site WPDang though, the situation will not be that bad. At least in China, Surfaces will be sold through Suning (reads "soo-ning"), one of the country's leading consumer gadget retail chains.
Microsoft appears to be pushing out the golden envelopes for the final reveal-all of Windows Phone 8. The event is scant on actual details but the data is locked in for 5pm GMT on October 29th, London. This matches the upcoming event in San Francisco.
The events held so far have seen journalists physically restricted from properly playing with the OS, so aside from videos and SDKs precious few have any idea how well it works on a real device.
UK retailer Clove has announced on its official blog the listing of the upcoming Samsung ATIV S. The Windows Phone is now ready to pre-order for £442.80, including VAT. Samsung unveiled the Apollo smartphone at the company's presentation at IFA 2012 in Berlin. Featuring a metallic hairline finish, as well as a minimal deisgn, the ATIV S is a unique device being only 8.7mm thick.
The beast of a handset sports a 4.8" S-AMOLED display (720x1280), dual-core 1.5 CPU, 16GB (plus expandable SD support up to 32GB), 1GB RAM, 8MP camera (1.9MP FFC), 2300mAh battery and comes with NFC and DLNA support.
The Windows Phone User Group is back, and in full force it seems. To be held on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM, WPUG will once again be catering for developers to network, show off Windows Phone projects and to discuss aspects of the platform.
The WPGeek Developer Marketplace will be covered next Wednesday, as well as the possibility of some Windows Phone 8 hardware being present. We've previously been to WPUG meet-ups where Nokia has not only shown a friendly face, but has also sponsored the event itself, so there's certainly a chance of a device or two being present.
Our Rob Brand, Jay Bennett and myself will be heading along, so be sure to sign up for next week's event if you believe you'll be able to attend and we'll see you there.
Phones4u has been spotted advertising an enticing offer currently ongoing at one of its stores. The HTC Radar has had a further £20 taken off to drop it down from £99 (online store price) to just £79.95 for upgraders. It's great value for a sturdy Windows Phone that will be upgraded to Windows Phone 7.8 when the update is made available.
Released back in 2011 with the HTC TITAN, the Radar sports a 3.8" display, 1GHz chip, 8GB storage, 5MP shooter (with FFC), and a 1520mAh battery.
The HTC Radar (both silver and white) is currently priced at £99 on the Phones4u website, so be sure to check with your local store should you wish to make a purchase, just in case the same deal is offered in your location.
Thanks, Richard, for sending in the photo!
An Alcatel-Lucent Windows Phone running what appears to be version 7.5 of Microsoft's operating system has been spotted in the wild. According to a report over at Hi-Tech.Mail.ru, the device will be loaded with Windows Phone 7.8 and be available by the end of 2012. Alcatel will have likely chosen to support Windows Phone 7.8 to keep costs down on hardware and to sell less advanced hardware in bulk.
Late last week we wrote in length about the
unwarranted uproar caused by the AT&T exclusive Nokia announcements. At the centre of the controversy was the notion that there would not be a Nokia Windows Phone 8 device coming to Verizon. [Actually, it was about them not getting the Lumia 920 -Ed.]
We could be seeing the first signs of life from the coming Nokia refresh for Verizon as The Verge reports, via @evkleaks, on this Atlas device.
We’re not sure where GSMArena managed to get a Samsung ATIV S, especially with no obvious handlers interfering, but they did and they have a nice 3-minute video tour of the phone. The video has some excellent production with ample light, allowing us to finally see the long missing Samsung Windows Phone.
The video also highlights what should be obvious: that 4.8” Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 2 is quite massive and not in a bad way. The device is clearly super thin (by comparison to other Windows Phones) but just a monster in terms of how big the view is on it. For some users, that’s clearly a selling point and we could only imagine how nice it must be type on such an ample on-screen keyboard.
If you recall, Note+ is a simple, yet effective, note taking app for your Windows Phone. The developer, Aälejandro Díazs, is based in the Dominican Republic where the Windows Phone Store isn't supported. But with the help of Nokia Developer Ambassador Rich Dunbar, Díazs was able to get the app published.
Well...Díazs took in all the feedback from Note+ users and basically re-wrote the app. The premise of the app is the same in that Note+ allows you jot down quick notes while on the go but it now supports multiple notes and Live Tile support for each note you generate.
Did you know those using Facebook apps on their mobile devices can access your email address even if it's not displayed on your profile when checking the website? Most users of the social network don't.
Headlines have continuously attacked Facebook due to privacy concerns, confusing account settings and other monstrosities, but today we'll look at a quick tip on how to prevent your email address being available to contacts who can view your profile.
Just because your personal email address isn't viewable on the website when checking your profile via a web browser, don't be fooled into believing your friend's Windows Phone won't pull it down to his (or her) contact list. By default, it seems Facebook's settings are configured so email addresses are invisible to the 'timeline' but are still available and accessible by friends. So how does one configure email settings on Facebook to prevent them being accessed?
First off, congratulations to Nokia’s Chanse Arrington who’s Head of Developer & Content Marketing at the company. He was just married and while the addition of a wife to his life must be fulfilling, we’re focused on that Lumia 920.
The picture above is taken with the 920 as posted to his public SkyDrive account (he Tweeted the image yesterday). The picture is obviously very low light though a flash is used this case to brighten the scene.
Flash photography is a finicky subject. A lot of us shoot “natural”, which means big heavy lenses and only on available light. But sometimes you have to use a flash for certain situations. One thing though pros never do is use the “on board” flash—it’s like sacrilege. That’s why they always have giant flash contraptions with diffusers and such to give a much better photo.
Today T-Mobile announced the Lumia 810, a version of the Lumia 820 that'll be heading to the US carrier. While many would simply assume it's a mere codename alteration, don't be fooled into thinking the same. The Lumia 810 does sport some differentiations that space the device out from AT&T's second Lumia Windows Phone 8 offering.
Because the Lumia 810 is set to arrive in a matter of weeks, we figured it would be a perfect opportunity for discussion to spark. A forum has been designated for threads to be created that cover the new Windows Phone.
The Lumia 810 (left) versus Lumia 820 (right)
So we put forth the simple question: which do you think looks nicer? And if you don’t know or have no preference, you can say that too.
Poll closes in 48 hours. Head to m.wpcentral.com to vote on your mobile. Poll after the break...
The T-Mobile-exclusive Lumia 810
At first glance you may think that these are the same phones just with a name change. But they are not.
While the “guts” and main features are overlapping, the physical design of the 810 is more “blocky” than the Lumia 820. In addition, the sizes of the devices are slightly different as well, with the T-Mobile 810 being a tad larger, but weighing 15 grams less.
As we expected, T-Mobile today finally announced the Nokia Lumia 810 is coming to the carrier “within the coming weeks” with of course no pricing given, as it expected these days.
The 4.3” device features an OLED WVGA Clear Black display at 800x480 with an 8MP rear as well as a 1.2-megapixel Skype HD certified front-facing camera. In addition, T-Mobile will offer to interchangeable back overs in black or cyan to add some style.
It's an interesting name change from Lumia 820 to 810 but we strongly hinted at this in our editorial last week on the matter of "exclusivity". Here, T-Mobile is claiming exclusive to the Lumia 810.
Read the whole press release after the break…
It appears that the HTC 8X Windows Phone will be available in the Netherlands on November 1st. This is according to Mark Moons, HTC's representative to the Benelux (which is basically an economic union that includes Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg). If November 1st holds true, it will be hot on the heels of the October 29th Microsoft Event to unveil Windows Phone 8.
Cost for the HTC 8X was noted at being around €549 (about $712 U.S.). Moons added that the HTC 8S Windows Phone will hit store shelves shortly after the 8X. No pricing information was made available on the 8S.
The Samsung Focus or ZTE Orbit?
The US Congressional Intelligence Committee has labeled Huawei and ZTE as security threat to the US and is advising firms to not do business with them. This follows after an 11-month investigation into both companies where their cooperation on certain matters was, according to the committee, sufficiently lacking.
The charges (at least for Huawei) go back a few years here in the US where they were accused of high-level espionage of Nortel, with some even alleging that their IP theft helped destroy the company (see the excellent CNBC documentary on it here).
Cisco and Motorola have also accused Huawei of either stealing IP or their own employees to gain knowledge of those companies. In addition, charges of bribery, corruption and discriminatory behavior have been alleged too.
Lumia 920 reveals Windows Phone 8 features
Windows Phone Central forum member Blackwood504 noticed some interesting potential improvements / features in a Lumia 920 hands-on video that could well be in Windows Phone 8, so he decided to take screenshots and publish his interpretations of what's being shown in our forums. French website Test-Mobile.fr got their hands on a yellow Lumia 920 and decided to take it for a spin.
We're able to see functionality and features in their video that aren't present in the latest builds of Windows Phone 7.5. So what do we believe has been revealed in the hands-on action?
Take it for what it's worth but Rovio has announced a new Angry Birds game for our Windows Phone. Angry Birds Star Wars combines the gaming action of Angry Birds with the settings of the Star Wars movies.
According to Peter Vesterbacka, CMO of Rovio,
"This is the best Angry Birds game we’ve ever done. It’s the best parts of Angry Birds with all new cutting-edge gameplay set in in a galaxy far, far away. As a big Star Wars fan myself, I’m really excited about this new universe. The Force is definitely strong with this one."
Angry Birds Star Wars is expected to become available worldwide on November 8th and was developed for iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, OSX, Windows 8 and Windows Phone. The wording of the presser leaves us uncommitted to a Windows Phone date. While November 8th is revealed as the launch of the game, the official wording does not connect that date to all platforms, which we would find difficult to believe as launching simultaneously.
We’ve been talking a lot about Microsoft’s Retail Store efforts lately and with the shopping season kicking off soon, those temporary “Holiday stores” are gearing up to open too. But what if you don't know where those are yet?
The official Microsoft Store App for Windows Phone received a nice update over the weekend whereby it now lists those holiday stores. By simply swiping under Store Locations and Coming Soon you can see all the stores across the US that are opening on the 26th just in time for Windows 8 (and Windows Phone 8).
Released too early to the Store?
We’re not sure what’s going with the Windows Phone Store, but there sure are some oddities occurring. Last week we reported that the amazing Adobe Reader update to version 10.1 was being downgraded in a follow up update—that is still the case with version 9.0 being the only version in the Store for some regions, including the US.
Now, Xbox Extras, which we had reported as being refreshed to remove the “LIVE” branding is now also either being reverted in a second update or is gone altogether from the Store. When we try to search for the app we have found it’s been de-listed/hidden from public view. Trying the direct link display the old version but it is unable to be downloaded just yet.
We’re starting to suspect that these were actually Windows Phone 8 app refreshes to coincide with the big launch at the end of the month—after all, they were both major makeovers or re-brands—but maybe they were set loose a little too early in the Store and now Microsoft is trying to put the genie back in the bottle.
HTC continues on its downward spiral
HTC has published its financial results for Q3 2012, showing a continuous fall in revenues that we've witnessed through previous reports. The company braced itself for a tough Q3 and revenues were expected to be in the region of NT$70-80 billion for this quarter. Hitting the nail on the head in the estimation, HTC's net revenue was $2.397 (NT$70.2 billion) for the months July through September, down from $3 billion (NT$91.04 billion) in Q2.