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Nokia SmartStart

By now Nokia’s commitment to the Windows Phone OS should be well established. What has made their role so vital to Microsoft is not just the hardware they’ve created (4 phones in 12 months) but the support they’re providing to the platform from all directions.

Whether it’s original OEM apps, exclusive titles, developer support tools, mapping data, dispersing thousands of free Lumias to devs or their promotions, Nokia has gone beyond their competitors in many ways.

One of those is one that may not be too familiar with Windows Phone Central readers but is just as impressive: Nokia’s SmartStart program.

What’s SmartStart? We get a behind the scenes glimpse of Nokia’s growing support system for new Lumia owners and share what’s coming next…

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WP Central

Whether you're a heavy stock stalker, or are a simple human being who purchased Facebook shares for fun, you'll want to check out Markets & Me for Windows Phone. So what is Markets & Me all about? It's primarily a stock portfolio management and tracking app that keeps the user up-to-date with alterations in a number of markets.

Markets & Me packs some unique functionality, which compliments the usual stock checking and management. Latest financial headlines are pulled down from Reuters and company events are available in an intuitive view. Specific regions can be selected for this calendar, which will alter what economic events available.

Positions of the user can be imported / exported to the cloud (via SkyDrive), existing Google portfolios can be integrated, and there's a personal interactive chart of stock performances to boot. It's a fairly feature-rich experience with everything the average Joe needs while on the move.

WP Central

The app boasts a rich Metro interface, which reminds us of Weather Flow and the like. As one can tell with the above shots, Markets & Me isn't an ugly duckling. The app is completely free for the time being, with future versions possibly introducing a premium experience. Version 1.1 is already heading through the Marketplace checks, which will apply a number of bug fixes and improvements.

Check out a quick demonstration of the app in action below.

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9

Mobilicity Nokia Lumia 710 Photo Contest Winners!

Mobilicity and WP Central Photo Contest

First, Windows Phone Central and Mobilicity would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry to the Nokia Lumia 710 Photo Contest. We had well over sixty entries and they all were worthy of selection.

Unfortunately, we had to narrow down the entries to three. First prize is a Nokia Lumia 710 with six months of service from Mobilicity. The runner up prizes are a $100 and $50 gift certificate to the WPCentral Accessory Store. It was a difficult decision but if you hit the break you can see all three winning entries.

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WP Central

We last covered a Windows Phone version of the BBC iPlayer back in August last year, where we brought the unfortunate news that the corporation was waiting for the platform to support Flash before they'd attempt to bring the on-demand service to Windows Phone owners. Nokia has now informed The Inquirer that the BBC iPlayer will be coming to Lumia owners in the coming weeks.

Now, first question that springs to mind is how has the team at the BBC got round the no-Flash capability? Second, how long is the exclusivity going to be (if at all) with Lumia handsets? Nokia has been busy building relations with developers and companies to bring across apps to the platform and improve the selection of big brand names available. It would make sense for an iPlayer solution to be made available to all Windows Phone consumers, especially since Microsoft has also managed to get the service live on the Xbox.

That's the good news, and we'll look to update you all with more information on dates of availability, as well as any details on a potential Lumia exclusivity. The bad news in this article, and from the Nokia source, is that a Sky Go app is not looking likely for another few months. The service is a popular add-on for Sky customers and will prove to be an issue until a solution is available for Windows Phone with apps already in the iOS and Android app markets. Unfortunately, no details were revealed for 4OD, ITV Player and 5 on Demand.

Source: The Inquirer

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13

Lumia 900 in white coming to O2 Germany early June

WP Central

The Lumia 900 Windows Phone is making its way across Europe and beyond, after unexpected demand in the U.S. crippled production which subsequently led to delays for other markets. We've now got word of O2 Germany looking to pack the international version of the flagship Nokia smartphone with the website stating its "coming soon". ETA? Early June.

The Lumia 900 sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 4.3" AMOLED display, 16GB storage, and a 8MP rear camera with a 1MP front-facing camera. Note that you'll be required to have a micro-SIM to use the Lumia 900, which O2 will be able to supply (you can also get your normal sized SIM cut at retailers that offer this service). Be sure to register your interest on O2's website, unfortunately there's no word on pricing just yet.

Update: Amazon.de has the phone listed for May 31st as well for EUR 575,00.

Source: O2 DE; thanks Dirk  and Mark T., for the heads up!

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WP Central

The Smoked by Windows Phone challenge, the popular marketing campaign that was born back at CES 2012, has made its way to Toronto, Canada. The public are challenged by the Windows Phone team to see if their smartphone can beat Microsoft's mobile OS and pocket $100. As usual, these challenges include common tasks such as uploading a photo to Facebook.

Windows Phone has been steadily growing in reach when it comes to Canada. The 4G Radar and Lumia 900 are both available to take advantage of faster network speeds, and carriers are supporting the platform with stocking a number of devices. But we've yet to see a strong push by Nokia or Microsoft so it's good to see such marketing ongoing.

If you wish to check out the Windows Phone challenge, here are the event locations for the next few days:

  • May 25: Yonge and Eglington - 12pm-8pm
  • May 26: The Danforth - 10am-6pm
  • May 27: Yonge and Dundas - 11am-5pm

Toronto Smoked 2

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10

Nokia adds Soundtracker to their Collection

Soundtracker

We're not too sure of what to make of this one but Nokia now has the Soundtracker app listed in their Collection for their Lumia line.

For those of you who don't know, Soundtracker lets you stream music to your device and then adds some social stuff to the mix, allowing you to see what your friends and neighbors are listening too and vice versa. We've really never used the service but heck, we'll give it another go as it seems to have some solid ratings and nice features.

Now before anyone gets into a huff, Soundtracker is still available for all other Windows Phones too. In fact, the one in the Nokia Collection is even the same version as that one so consider this more of an "app highlight" rather than any kind of exclusive deal with special features.

For those of you who want the Nokia version and have access to the Nokia Collection on your Lumia, you can grab Soundtracker here for free. Thanks, Jose, for the tip

QR: Nokia Soundtracker

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WP Central

Flo Rida is no stranger to Nokia Windows Phones. Back in February in the video for 'Wild Ones' the popular artist was seen using the Lumia 710 and Twitter. Though it was just in passing, it was a nice nod for Nokia's newest phone.

In Mr. Rida's new video (can we call him that?) for 'Whistle' the shiny and sexy glossy-white Lumia 900 is the star. While the 900 actually doesn't shake its booty (creative license, sorry), it does get some screen time.

WP Central

Starting at about 1:47 and a few seconds later you can see the popular Windows Phone being used for some photos and sending an MMS. Not a bad plug for the phone, we suppose.

Check out the video after the break... Warning: NSFW [lots of badonkadonks]. Thanks, Daniel, for the tip!

Edit: There looks to be a copyright issue where playing it on mobile phones, ironcially, is not supported. You can try through your web browser instead.

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WP Central

Today Nokia has announced that their mapping data, specifically traffic info and geocoding ability (more on that in a bit) is powering Microsoft's Bing Mapping services. While this collaboration has been in the works since the Nokia-Microsoft partnership was announced, we're now seeing the results of it.

In short, if you launch your Bing Maps (either on the web or your Windows Phone) and enable Traffic, you'll notice two things right away:

  1. New color codes - green, yellow and red (maybe black?)
  2. More detail - Where once only major roads have it, now we're seeing our local streets with live traffic data

Nokia is now offering what was before only available in their Nokia Maps app to everyone who uses Bing. What's more, that info is available in 24 countries including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, UK and US.

Besides traffic, there's also geocoding which is something that's very important and here's why: geocoding algorithms take latitude and longitude information and connect them to a "readable address"--basically that whole ability to translate your GPS coordinates into a usable street number and name. Many apps use it, including what powers Foursquare or any app that sends your location e.g. WhatsApp. In theory now, it should be more accurate and help with directions too.

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Samsung Focus 2 for a penny at Amazon Wireless

Amazon Wireless is offering AT&T's Samsung Focus 2 (here's our review) for only a penny.  The one cent cost covers both new accounts and upgrades for individual accounts after contractual and Amazon Wireless discounts.  The off-contract pricing is $399.99.  Whichever option you chose, free two day shipping is included.

The downside to the offer is that the Focus 2 is on backorder but expected to ship within 8 to 9 days.

Amazon Wireless

 

Just to recap, the Samsung Focus 2 is a compact, base line WIndows Phone that sports a 4" Super AMOLED screen, 5mp rear camera, VGA front facing camera, 8 gigabytes of storage, is 4G LTE compatible, and has a glossy white finish.  You can find all the details here at Amazon Wireless.

Thanks, Corepc, for the tip!

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Windows Phone 8?

Oh dear...

A few days ago we were tipped on a story by blog Insideris who received alleged diagrams of what Windows Phone 8 was suppose to look like in terms of UI layout.

We didn't run the story because we personally thought they were crap, pardon our French. With no source named or vouched for by the originating site, there was no compelling reason to believe they're real. So into the trash the story went.

Now WinSource has done us the favor of taking those sketches and making them "real" by adding color and filling it in with actual material to better visualize what it'd be like The result can be seen above.

Original

We still doubt the authenticity of the original mockups and now that we see what it would like like "in real life" boy are we hoping, nay praying that they are fake. To us this looks way, way too cluttered. Sure, it's the power users dream but for those of us who enjoy simplicity and minimalism, it's nothing but a UI nightmare akin to something we'd get on Android. (At least some of it is terrible, other aspects could be useful...)

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WP Central

Do you own a Windows Phone that's connected on a AT&T account? You might not be aware of this, but you can restrict the use of personal data, should you have any privacy concerns or simply do not wish for the carrier to contact you. Customer Proprietary Network Information (or CPNI) is personal information obtained by the telecommunications company through providing a service to the customer. 

So what is this all about, and should you be bothered? AT&T collects information from you based on the services you have on your account. All carriers (and many companies) carry out the same actions to offer similar services / products to customers. If you've received a call from a company you use often who are attempting to sell you a related product, this is exactly what we're talking about.

Majority of the time the offers are exclusive to that call and may not be available online or in-stores. A mobile carrier may offer the latest Windows Phone at a discounted price, or on a plan that has 6 months subtracted from the contract. In this case, AT&T will contact you and provide said offers, but according to the privacy policy the carrier will not sell / disclose CPNI to third-parties without customer consent. You'll need to check the policies of other carriers and companies to be sure they don't sell on your information.

To keep everything in check and restrict AT&T's use of your CPNI, be sure to give the carrier a call. Should you feel the need to do so with any other company, you can also enquire to request exclusion from future marketing and promotional offers where possible.

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BoxFiles gets updated to v3.1

BoxFiles, the unofficial DropBox app for Windows Phone, received a minor update today, offering some bug fixes and overall faster launch time. The update also addresses performance issues specific to the Nokia Lumia 610, making it run faster on the lower-memory economy handset.

BoxFiles was recently overhauled in version 3.0, which saw a new look and the addition of auto-uploading from camera to DropBox. BoxFiles is a favorite of ours over at Windows Phone Central, as it offers a ton of functionality. While the ad-supported free version is near fully-functional, it does not include SkyDrive integration, nor does it allow background transfers. These features alone make it worth the $1.29.

Get the full version of BoxFiles here or try it for free first.

QR: BoxFiles

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Skype's warning...

As you may or may not recall, Skype for Windows Phone officially does not run on Windows Phone "Tango" hardware--devices with 256MB of RAM or less--like the Lumia 610 and ZTE Orbit. But Justin Angel from Nokia called up our podcast from his Lumia 610 using Skype and it sounded great, what's more Nokia themselves seemed okay with it too.

Then two days ago, word came out that Nokia with withdrawing support for Skype and the Lumia 610, causing even more confusion i.e. so is it available at least for those who want to run it?

Truth be told it's not available to download. As can be seen in the image above, users are given a notice that they cannot download the app. However, if we sideload version 1.1 of Skype onto our 610, it works just fine as you can see in our video below.

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Good for Enterprise gets increased calendar functionality in v1.3

Good for Enterprise for Windows Phone, which was released in April, has been updated to version 1.3, and with it comes a significant bump in calendar functionality. First and foremost, users can now create and edit calendar appointments right from their phone. Version 1.3 also brings with it the ability view free/busy time of meeting attendees. Events can now be deleted or set as recurring from the handset as well.

Good Server is not as prominent as it once was in the the enterprise world, but you'd better believe that it is still alive and kicking. If Microsoft wants Windows Phone to become a big player in the business market, it's important that companies like Good Technologies hop on board and put out a viable product. The functionality that we see added in version 1.3 is big step at a time where line between business and personal use of handsets has become blurred.

You can download Good for Enterprise here.

QR: Good

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5

Lumia 610 Windows Phone heading to Vodafone UK

WP Central

Vodafone has listed the Lumia 610 as "coming soon" in their Mobile Solutions Device Lists for May 2012. As well as listing the Windows Phone alongside the Lumia 800 and HTC Radar, a full-page advert is also included just before the Windows Phone section of the documentation.

Preaching all the features of the platform and the Nokia low-end device, the slide also contains a QR Code that links to the Microsoft ExpertZone. If you're not down for waiting until Vodafone releases the Lumia 610, Clove UK has the device listed at £180 unlocked.

In the meantime, check out our unboxing and hands on with the Lumia 610.

Thanks SilentAssassin for the heads up!

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Official LinkIn app means no more IN+

With the arrival of LinkedIn's official app in the Marketplace, users of the unofficial substitute, IN+ Networking, developed by Skilloo, are beginning to receive notice of IN+'s imminent demise. As of May 31, IN+ Networking will no longer be available for download and will cease to function.

Skilloo founder, and now member of LinkedIn's Mobile Team, Christian Haas, sent out an email to users to let them know that IN+ Networking will be replaced by the official app:

Hi IN+ users,

We're excited to announce the launch of the official LinkedIn app for Windows Phone. Developed in collaboration with Skilloo, LinkedIn, and Microsoft, the  
LinkedIn app for Windows Phone delivers on-the-go access to 160M+ professionals around the world.

IN+ will no longer be available for download or use after May 31, 2012. Please click on the button below to install the new LinkedIn app for Windows Phone.

Thanks again for being such a valued member.

-Christian Haas, Skilloo Founder and the LinkedIn Mobile Team

LinkedIn for Windows Phone was partially developed by Skilloo, in collaboration with LinkedIn and Microsoft. It has a beautiful interface and functionality galore. You can get it here.

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WPCentral Podcast

We're back with myself and Jay Bennett for another exciting recap of Windows Phone news (Rafael is buried in work this week). Join us as we recap and discuss the big stories of the last two weeks and we take your questions!

Full show notes and HD video after the break...

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21

Nokia Lumia 610 unboxing and hands on video

The Nokia Lumia 610 in Cyan

Although we're not expecting too much more in terms of new Windows Phones for the next few months, Nokia is just getting the Lumia 610 into people's hands in various countries or unlocked for those who want it.

The Lumia 610 is Nokia's device for emerging markets and thus features lower specs than most users are accustomed to, in turn they are able to keep the price down, hovering below $300 contract-free.

We just had ours show up on our doorstep so we figured we would give you a quick tour. While plastic throughout the device comes in four colors including black, cyan, magenta and white, giving it quite a nice appeal. Truth be told, while it lacks the ClearBlack screen (but it does have Gorilla Glass), it's a nimble little guy and quite impressive for those who can spring for the higher-end Lumias.

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60

Facebook for Windows Phone bumped to version 2.5

WP Central

Microsoft has released version 2.5 of the official Facebook app for Windows Phone. The update brings many features requested by the community, including threaded messaging (much like messaging on Windows Phone), group messaging and the ability to tag friends in status updates / posts ('with' and 'at' formats supported).

As well as tagging friends, users can now delete posts and comments by tap-and-holding to bring up the context menu for more functionality. Links within published posts can be selected, which will open up the linked content, and the photo comments and likes views have been updated, that now both match the respective post views. When viewing likes and comments on photos, the photo itself is displayed above the lists, which can be pulled down to view.

And if all that wasn't enough, you can now 'like' comments! You can download the Facebook app for free from the Marketplace. 

Source: Facebook; thanks to all who tipped us!

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WP Central

Market research firm IDC has released Q1 2012 data that shows fairly large growth for both Android and iOS, while Symbian and BlackBerry continue to fall into gloomy depths. Android stole the show with a Year-on-Year change in terms of shipping volume of 145%, with iOS in tow at 88%. RIM and Symbian, on the other hand, were hitting -29.7% and -60.6% respectively. Some fairly steep recordings.

But what about Windows Phone? It's sat on a respectable 26.9% increase, which is the point to take away here. While the marketshare has dipped slightly from 2.8 to 2.2 (includes Windows Mobile), the shipping volumes for the platform have seen a boost. We can see clearly the effect Nokia is having on Windows Phone.

"Windows Phone has yet to make significant inroads in the worldwide smartphone market, but 2012 should be considered a ramp-up year for Nokia and Microsoft to boost volumes. Until Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones, IDC anticipates slow growth for the operating system."

This is exactly what Chris highlighted in his report on Gartner's Q1 2012 data. Without repeating ourselves, check out the chart below for more details on how the platforms have progressed between Q1 2011 and 2012.

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The ad in question

Two days ago we ran a fun little piece on a Nokia Lumia 900 ad showing up on some sites. The ad featured a rendered 900, spinning around with Live Tiles in motion. Nothing odd there except that two of the Live Tiles had new and very specific behavior:

  1. Contacts - The tiles flip and it says "Meet up with Sarah"
  2. Photo Hub - Flips and splits into two tiles, one with the latest photo, the other with a count

The contacts/People Hub behavior was a tad redundant but also not a bad idea. The Photo Hub count confused people as knowing how many pictures you had didn't seem very useful. We guessed at the time that instead that count was for non-viewed photos from contacts i.e. new Facebook uploads, etc which seemed plausible.

Of course the ad was Photoshopped--in fact the whole thing was. The question wasn't the means but rather the intent (if there was any).

Nokia PR got back to us yesterday on the matter though and perhaps not too surprisingly, deny that what we see is anything more than a marketing error:

"Just to clarify and remove any questions, I want to let you know that this was a change that was made in in the advertisement process and is not an indication of what may or may not come in future iterations of the Windows Phone software. Perhaps someone got a little carried away tinkering in the photo and video editing process, as it did not come from engineering or product management in any way.

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WP Central

Competition winners from a Windows Phone Developer Camp have been announced. The Dev Camp, sponsored by T-Mobile, saw a "huge" amount apps being submitted to win smartphones running Microsoft's OS. Much like we've seen elsewhere, these sessions aid developers who are new to the platform, who'd like to network and pick up on some skills and knowledge from more experienced personnel.

So what are the seven winning apps we speak of?

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WP Central

If you required any further proof that the magenta Lumia 900 exists and will be available in magenta / pink, then feast your eyes on the above. This image was published on Nokia Australia's Facebook page a handful of hours ago. With the Lumia 900 heading to Australia next month, we could well see the magenta version of the Windows Phone going down under.

The Lumia 900 has taken the market by storm (compared to any other launched Windows Phone) and also later caused serious delay issues for the rest of the world with unexpected demand for the AT&T version. Sporting a 1.4Ghz chip, 4.3" AMOLED display and a 8MP rear camera with a 1MP front-facing camera, as well as HSPDA+ speeds (on Australia's version), the Lumia 900 is a speedy old chap.

Source: Nokia AU (Facebook); thanks Jack for the heads up!

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WP Central

The Nokia-like Smoked by Windows Phone campaign, Blown Away by Lumia, has gone to Bulgaria with public heading through popular shopping malls in Sofia being challenged to beat the Lumia 800. Already witnessed in other countries, including India which produced some interesting (yet humorous) results, the challenge is successful at pulling in the punters to show off Microsoft's platform powering Nokia products.

Popular Bulgarian artist Deo took to the helm and led the team through the challenges. These included uploading photos to Facebook, opening web pages and posting status updates to social networks - basic smartphone tasks. Should the participant beat the Lumia 800, they'd pocket 50 lev, but if they failed they'd have to publicly admit defeat.

Check out some more shots after the break.

Source: MobileBulgaria; thanks Eirenach for the tip!

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