Articles

NAB Banking

NAB (National Australia Bank) and Microsoft have been collaborating on an official mobile banking app, which is soon to be released to the Windows Phone Marketplace. According to data compiled in a report over at WPDownUnder, NAB customers are into not only mobile banking, but they prefer to use developed apps for supported platforms. 80% of those who use Internet banking while on the move, do so with official apps from the Australian bank.

After calls and cries for an app since late 2010, NAB has officially announced an app is currently working its way through the Windows Phone Marketplace approval process and WPDownUnder expects the app to be available by August 8th. Should you be a customer and own a Windows Phone, be prepared to get highly excited at what's on the horizon regarding features and functionality to enhance your mobile banking experience.

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Matchy takes MTN 'Windows Phone App of the Year' award

Matchy MTN Award

Matchy is a Windows Phone indie puzzle game developed by our own RogueCode at a previous Nokia Lumia hackathon in Durban, South Africa. Attending developers had just 48 hours to create a brand new Windows Phone app from scratch. While this may not sound overly difficult to the average consumer, it can prove difficult for the individual who has to go from concept in the mind to working prototype in a prompt fashion. Luckily he pulled through and created Matchy before the time was up.

We last looked at Matchy when it was released on the Marketplace for everyone to enjoy. Now we're pleased to announce that it has won "Windows Phone App of the Year" at the recent MTN (website) mobile app awards. To recap on the game itself - the gist of Matchy is to rotate objects into position on the screen to match the provided shadow. Four game modes are available for the player to enjoy, which are 1 minute sprint, 3 minute rush, 6 minute run and Continuous. The last option gives the player just six seconds to solve each puzzle, consider it the challenge mode for those with speedy reactions and a sharp mind.

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WP Central

We last saw Skype for Windows Phone get an update back in June so it's nice to see another one being pushed to our devices this week. Such is the case with version 1.3 which has just landed in the Marketplace.

That’s the good news. The bad news is if you are looking for any new features, push notifications, less memory (512MB) to run it for Tango phones, you’ll be slightly disappointed. The official changelog for Skype v1.3 is simply “bug fixes” which is not that exciting.

Still, we suppose fixing bugs in the app is something positive as it means the app and service will hopefully work better (for those of you who have had issues in the past). If any of you notice anything mentionable in the app, hit us up in comments.

Pick up v1.3 of Skype for Windows Phone here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Via: WindowsPhoneApps.es (QR code after the break)

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Photo Lock now a freebie on the Marketplace

Photo Lock for Windows Phone

If you need a way to password protect the images and videos on your Windows Phone, take a gander at Photo Lock. Now is a great time to give the app a try because it's now a free app.  The price reduction (the app is normally $.99) is in celebration of Photo Lock reaching 65,000 downloads.  The free offer is good through August 10, 2012.

What is Photo Lock you ask?  It is an app that will let you securely store images and videos on your Windows Phone.  Photo Lock also includes basic editing tools and the ability to record video footage from the app.

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ABN AMRO Bankieren app now available for Windows Phone

ABN Bankieren

The Dutch state-owned bank ABN AMRO has released an official mobile banking solution for Windows Phone. Much like other offerings currently available on the Marketplace, the Bankieren app enables customers of ABN AMRO to access their accounts and perform tasks they'd normally do in-branch or in front of a PC.

Before we crack into what's included in the app, and why you should definitely check it out should you be a customer of the bank, we have to highlight just how good looking the app itself is. The developers have done a superb job keeping to Metro guidelines and have really produced some excellent work here. We'd like to see how this would look as an app in Windows 8. Anyway, on with the show.

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Lumia 900 Pink Makeover

Nokia is marketing the recently launched magenta Lumia 900 Windows Phone by launching nail polish to match the unique smartphone colour. Designed by Duality Cosmetics, the "Nokia Lumia Pink" is an exclusive nail polish that's only available at one-day salons Nokia is hosting in Dallas, Denver, and Los Angeles. Nicki Minaj nail stylist Kandi Banks will be on-hand to offer pink manicures and pedicures for those who pop on down when the salons are hosted nearby.

Much like the previous Nicki Minaj concert, as well as the London 4D light show with Deadmau5, this isn't going to boost sales of the Lumia 900, but is more to do with pushing the device and Windows Phone brand beyond those who follow tech news and know enough about mobile phones. There's a fairly sizeable world out there, which Nokia has intended to tackle. With these one-day events, instead of targeting solely women, Nokia invited everyone to come play with the Lumia handsets (as can be witnessed by the hairy faces in the Dallas Lumia Lounge photo gallery).

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Fairway Solitaire Windows Phone 8 interview, Part One

Patrick Wylie of Big Fish Games

Remember that Windows Phone Summit that took place in San Francisco last month? It centered around Windows Phone 8, aka Apollo. Microsoft chose to reveal a new Apollo-specific Xbox Live game on-stage during the event: Fairway Solitaire from Big Fish Games. Big Fish is a major producer of casual games on PC and other mobile platforms, so the developer’s signing on to support Windows Phone is a great thing.

As it happens, Big Fish was on-hand at Casual Connect Seattle last week to reveal their new cloud gaming service, Big Fish Unlimited. Of course we took advantage of their presence to set up an exclusive interview with Patrick Wylie, VP of Big Fish Games Studios. Head past the break to learn just what Patrick’s team has in store for Windows Phone and Windows 8!

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HTC Trophy

Just as we reported two days ago, Verizon has opened the flood gates for the Windows Phone Tango update. Customers who own the HTC Trophy will be able to update their device(s) once the notification of updateable-goodness has appeared on-screen or through Zune. We've already received word from a number of Windows Phone Central readers confirming the update is indeed rolling out.

To recap what's included:-

  • WiFi Hotspot / Internet sharing now available
  • Enhanced multimedia messaging capabilities (multiple photos, videos, ringtones)

The Tango update will push Windows Phone owners to 8773 and will set the path for Windows Phone 7.8. Be sure to plug in your Trophy when possible to receive the update and inform us when you do in the comments below.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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Sony Surface Tablet

Images of a Sony Android tablet have been leaked on German news website Mobiflip. According to the slides, if they're anything to go by, the Sony tablet looks incredibly familiar, almost as if we've seen such a design previously. The Microsoft Surface range of Windows 8 tablets were unveiled earlier this year and sport the same look with a keyboard built into the cover. This Sony tablet, branded as "Xperia Sony Tablet", will sport a number of improvements over the current Sony Tablet S.

There is one noticeable difference between the cover seen on the Surface tablets and on this possible Sony product. The cover -- while sporting a similar keyboard -- appears to wrap around the device, as opposed to clipping on the side. Also, Sony's cover will fold back to form a kickstand, eliminating the requirement for an extra accessory. Think a Microsoft-Apple hybrid.

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Windows 8 RTM

Microsoft has announced on the Windows 8 blog that the next major version of its operating system, Windows 8, has reached the RTM milestone. What does this mean for consumers? Not an awful lot if you're not particularly interested, but it does mean manufacturers are now set to start preparing products in time for when Windows 8 is released to the world (including Microsoft with its Surface tablets).

We previously covered Windows 8 when the release preview was made available to those who wished test Microsoft's latest desktop platform. The Windows team has completed product development and testing, and have now started to hand the code onto OEM partners. The release date for Windows 8 to the general public is still October 26th, so we all still have a slight wait to get through, but we're certain it'll be worth every second.

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SuperTube

Just as we covered an update rolling out for MetroTube, SuperTube -- another YouTube app for Windows Phone -- also has an update hitting the shores. SuperTube, previously known as YouTube Pro before rebranding earlier this year, was one of the first YouTube Windows Phone apps to feature HD and high quality streaming.

Upon returning to the Marketplace, the developers made the paid version free for all to download due to the situation which required them to take down the app and slap on a new name. Today we're pleased to relay the announcement of version 2.5 being pushed through to consumers. This is the first update we've seen for SuperTube since May, which is a good sign of support from the developer.

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Xbox Live news - An interview with Beth Goza of Microsoft

Paul Acevedo and Beth Goza

During our recent visit to Microsoft headquarters, we had the pleasure of meeting with Beth Goza, Sr. Community Manager at Microsoft. Beth is one of the people in charge of PR for first-party Xbox Live titles on both Windows Phone and Windows 8, you see. She kindly agreed to an interview in which we discuss her favorite Windows Phone games, the ratio of casual to core games in the mobile lineup, Wordament, and other gaming topics. Check it out after the break!

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Lenovo ThinkPad Windows 8 tablet specifications leaked

Lenovo Tablet

We're ready for more leaked information surrounding Windows 8 tablets to flow with the upcoming release of Microsoft's next major release of its desktop operating system drawing closer. Microsoft recently unveiled their Surface family of tablets, which would be built to force manufacturers to product unique and high quality hardware for Windows 8.

Lenovo is planning to launch Windows 8 tablet to rival Microsoft's Surface, as well as other OEMs building hardware for the platform (not to mention the iPad and Android tablets). According to Techin5, which got hold of leaked slides showcasing the proposed tablet, Lenovo will be launching the tablet under its ThinkPad brand and will be packing a punch with included features for business customers.

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Need for Speed: Undercover

It’s a great week for Windows Phone gamers. Not only do we get a terrific new release, but the Deal of the Week is a game that’s never been on sale before. Need for Speed: Undercover, a launch title from Electronic Arts is finally on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99.

Now, I wasn’t much impressed with the more recent NFS title, Hot Pursuit – see my review. But Undercover isn’t bogged down with endless grinding or absurd difficulty. It’s just fast racing in beautiful licensed cars, as you’d expect from the series. Just look at our review; it’s pretty glowing.

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WP Central Atoms Walkthrough

Whilst at the Windows Phone Dev Day in Bournemouth we got a chance to meet Ross Gouldthorpe, who has been developing for Windows Phone for two years. Ross was kind enough to give us a walkthrough of his upcoming Windows phone game, Atoms.

The game is also currently in development for the Xbox 360 and has a Nintendo DS homebrew counterpart. The game Atoms has roots as an old Amiga game of the same name. It started life as freebie on the cover of a magazine, which is where Ross first discovered it.  Ross tells me he still has his Amiga machines but these days they are locked up in storage, he does still have the Amiga CD32 connected to his TV though.

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MetroTube

The Lazyworm team has released an update to the highly rated YouTube Windows Phone app, MetroTube. Featuring a heavily Metro-influenced design and feel, the app really is the unofficial home of YouTube on the mobile platform. It disappeared for a number of months at the beginning of the year due to API issues with Google, which couldn't be resolved even after consulting with Microsoft.

Luckily the third-party YouTube app is back in action, and returned to the Marketplace earlier this month. Today version 3.3 of MetroTube passed certification so it should be with us shortly. So, what's new in this release? 

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Pool Pro Online 3 now available

As we promised yesterday, Namco Bandai’s Pool Pro Online 3 is now on the Marketplace. And guess what? It’s surprisingly good!

Pool Pro Online 3 offers a realistic simulation of three pool games: 8-ball, 9-ball, and snooker. Foggy on the rules (like me) or new to pool? The built-in tutorial and reference section make learning a snap. Seriously, I have no real-life aptitude for pool but I’ve still managed to win several games so far.

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Nokia Lumia 710 available through MTS Canada

Nokia Lumia 710 to MTS Canada

The Nokia Lumia 710 is being offered through the Canadian wireless provider MTS for $29.99 after a three year contract and a minimum $24.99 voice plan. The 3.7" screened Windows Phone can also be had outright through MTS for $279.99.

MTS is a local carrier servicing Manitoba and the pricing point is a little on the high side. Rogers Wireless, who also services the Manitoba region, is offering the Lumia 710 for a penny on a three year contract.

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WP Central

There's a risk to changing your LiveID on Windows Phone

With today’s announcement of Outlook.com many of you have noticed that if you were logged into Hotmail with your old account and navigated to Outlook.com you were automatically logged in to the new “preview” of Microsoft’s new email service.

What’s more, you actually have the option—even on an old Hotmail address—to change it to @outlook.com. But there is a catch for Windows Phone users…

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SplashID dives into the Windows Phone Marketplace

SplashID for Windows Phone

SplashID is a Windows Phone app that is a carry over from the Windows Mobile days and has had a fair amount of success on iOS, Android and Blackberry systems. What is SplashID you ask? It is a handy Windows Phone app to help you manage, backup and remember all your usernames and passwords.

SplashID can be used to store credit card numbers, registration codes, PINs, bank account information, birthdays, serial numbers, website usernames, passwords, and more. The app covers twenty two types of data that can be filed under business or personal categories. All of which can be edited.

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Outlook.com

Microsoft has today unveiled the Outlook.com preview to the public, which is essentially a Hotmail upgrade. The successor is completely metrofied, and is feature rich taking elements and functionality from both Hotmail and Exchange. Outlook.com is integrated into Windows and Office, while being able to connect to social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and LinkedIn for contact synchronisation.

Microsoft is offering 7GB of free storage through SkyDrive for those signing up to the new email service, and is attempting to turn users away from email attachements to cloud storage. Outlook.com will become a supported option when setting up email on Windows 8, Windows Phone (as well as other smartphones that support Exchange ActiveSync). From the video below, we can see Skype integration being present for video calls to be made without launching the app. Exciting stuff.

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WP Central

Boring phone with outrageous price?

We’ve reported on Samsung’s Omnia M phone in the past noting that their latest phone is a low-end, borderline Tango entry meant for new and developing markets. That translates into ho-hum specs (4” display, 1GHz CPU, 4GB storage, 5MP camera) and in theory, a low-entry price.

For whatever reason though, we’re not seeing Samsung place nice with local markets with their pricing of the Omnia M borderline unreasonably high for such a mediocre device...

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