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Have some questions regarding the Lumia 900 (both U.S. and international)? Perhaps this fairly brief FAQ will help you out when deciding whether or not the Lumia 900 is the best Windows Phone for you. Questions range from the design and availability to battery and volume / speaker improvements.

This FAQ wont answer every burning question you may have on your mind, but at least some will be taken care of. It's interesting to note that the 900 is destined for Australia too (confirming the pre-order at MobiCity), something that will certainly please local Nokia Windows Phone fans who desire a more advanced device than the Lumia 800.

Source: Nokia Connects; thanks damthman for the tip!

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According to Marko Ahtisaari, Design Chief at Nokia, the company is looking at the possibility of introducing a tablet running Windows 8. Ahtisaari has said in an interview with Finnish magazine Kauppalehti Optio that he spends a third of his time at the company on tablet development and that they "are working on it". Though a spokesperson is less publicly optimistic (as usual):

"We continue to eye the tablet space with interest, but have made no specific announcements."

In other words: they have some ideas, but nothing to show the world just yet. For now we'll have plod along with the Lumia family of Windows Phones and keep hopes up that the Finnish manufacturer brings something to the table when Microsoft launches the next version of Windows.

What would you like to see from a Nokia Windows 8 tablet?

Via: Reuters

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We last took a look at the mysterious Samsung SGH i667 "Mandel" back in January where it passed BT certification, but not much was known about the handset. Fast forward three months later and FCC certification paperwork has been spotted by PocketNow, which shows the SGH i667 passing with LTE connectivity listed and confirmed.

The "Mandel" is set to be one of three new 4G handsets heading to AT&T, the other two being the Lumia 900 and HTC TITAN II. Unfortunately, this does not provide any further details specifications wise, but we'll continue to speculate that it's going to be a more advanced brother of the Focus S.

Via: PocketNow

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Amazon is now offering the Lumia 800 bundle that features not only the Windows Phone, but the Purity HD Headset by Monster, a Nokia Play 360 portable speaker, and a Nokia Luna Bluetooth headset (our review). Microsoft recently announced the bundle on the official store.

The bundle, which will set the buyer back by $899, is available in both black and magenta. The Lumia 800 included is unlocked and works on GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and HSPA 850/1900/2100 networks. While the price tag may put off some potential purchasers, the bundle does come packed with the right kit for those who are on the move and enjoy staying connected to both contacts and music.

Should you be interested in ordering the bundle from Amazon, be quick about it as there are only a few left in stock (re-stock for both colours on the way).

Source: Amazon - Black, Magenta

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No official word on any Lumia 900 release yet for AT&T (though there are mints floating around), but that hasn't stopped some new rumors from springing up. This one comes from a poster at the Verge forums who claims to work for AT&T. The latest date? Sunday, April 8th aka Easter:

"I'm an assistant manager with an att store in California. We are gearing up for the Nokia lumia launch and were going all out. cant say much more but its tentative for April 8 as far as I understand. I And other sales reps are having mandatory trainings on the Nokia 900 soon and that usually means its launching shortly after. You don't have to believe me but just giving you a heads up. I think early reports said April 18th so its a little earlier than that. Cant wait! we got the demo in last week and I've been very impressed with the phone. Its a sexy b---. As far as colors go we are only getting black and cyan. the white one will come when the phone performs well, like we did with the sky rocket "

Interestingly, we also have a comment from Jess82 responding to our post who says nearly the same thing:

"I work for att and were training for the 900. I've been told its April 8th."

Coincidence? The same person? Who knows but April 8th is an odd date only because we imagine many AT&T stores would be closed that day, being a holiday and all, although perhaps you could still order it by phone. Another comment comes from GB330033 who notes that Nokia is close lipped about the 900 release date on AT&T but they did reveal that it's "very soon" and we "won't be disappointed" by the release date.

For what it's worth, we have it from our verified source that the finalized software for the AT&T Lumia 900 goes out tomorrow, meaning AT&T needs to re-flash all their stock.

Of course this is the internet and anyone can say anything, so lets not put too much faith in these. Hopefully AT&T can save us from silly-season around these parts and shed some light on the issue, officially.

Update: As noted in comments by Jess82 (who also posted at the Verge), the 8th is for online/phone orders and the 9th is when stores will sell it. Interestingly, the site Nokia For Us ran a story last week noting that they heard the 8th as well. 

Thanks, Theo, for the heads up

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WPCentral broke the news that Pencel Games’ Gerbil Physics would be coming to Xbox Live this week a little early. So it’s only fair that we should also reveal that the game has hit the Marketplace a few hours ahead of time as well. That’s right, you can get Gerbil Physics right now.

Gerbil Physics is a physics-based puzzle game that’s overflowing with cute and dripping with adorable. Each level presents stacks of adorable, well drawn gerbils which players must then knock over with well-placed bombs. The Windows Phone version includes 72 levels (three times as many levels as the original Xbox 360 game), lots of new animations, music, and some entertaining story sequences, too.

We’ve spent some time with the Windows Phone port and come away impressed. Since Xbox Live is drowning in physics puzzlers, it takes something extra to stand out from the crowd – namely personality! And anyone whose heart hasn’t been hardened by the rampant cynicism of the internet will find it warmed by these cuddly gerbils. The opening levels ease you into the gameplay mechanics and feature some nice new tutorial text. I do wish you had the option to replay a level immediately upon completing it (for a higher score) rather than automatically going on to the next level though.

For more information, check out our full preview – or download these fun papercraft designs.

Gerbil Physics costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace. Thanks, Donald B., for the heads up!

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Press Start Studio’s Xbox Live hack-and-slash game Twin Blades has had a rough time of things. Last year it was pulled from the Marketplace over concerns about its violent content, only to return four months later with the zombie blood replaced by harmless green goo.  But even then, the game proved to be incompatible with the Windows Phone Mango update, which wasn’t rectified for another three months.

Fast-forward to March of this year, and Twin Blades is once again gone from the Marketplace. Not only that, but the Xbox 360 indie and iOS versions, as well as Press Start’s other Windows Phone title, Butterfly, are also gone. As usual, they all disappeared without warning.

We contacted Microsoft about the delistings and received this response:

Due to unforeseen circumstances both Microsoft and the developer are unable to make these games available in the Mobile Marketplace going forward.  We have appreciated the opportunity to share these games with our customers.”

Basically, the titles have been permanently removed. They didn’t say why, but in situations like this that don’t involve licensed games, a mass delisting usually means that the developer has gone out of business. Press Start Studio, a small French developer, did not return requests for comment. Further signs that their doors may have closed: they haven’t updated their website since October, and they actually failed to respond to an interview that we had arranged a short while before that. Too bad, it would have been good!

It’s always sad to see the passing of a game from existence. Twin Blades had a vocal little fan base who loved its stylish art and action. In our review I lamented its extreme repetitiveness and poor level design though. As for Butterfly, another game I reviewed – well, that one was just terrible. You’re not missing much from its absence but some easy Achievements.

If we learn anything more about Press Start Studio’s fate, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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We covered the app Speak to Play at the end of January as being one of the first voice-controlled music apps for Windows Phone. In short, you tap the button, tell it to play <artist>, <song>, <playlist> or <genre> and the app will start up whatever matches in your music collection.

From our opinion, the app worked quite flawlessly but we lamented that you still had to find the app, launch it then hit the microphone button--a few too many steps in our mind. Luckily, the app has under-gone a little makeover since we last reported on it and it has the following new features:

  • Renamed - the app is now called "Hey DJ!" instead of "Speak to Play"
  • Pin 'Speak now' to the start screen - Like Soundhound and Shazam, you can now put a virtual button on your Start screen. Tapping it launches the app and it automatically goes to "listen" mode, enabling 1-touch listening/playback
  • Price drop: The app was $1.99 but has now dropped to $0.99 with a free trial

The app still works well from our end and we really do like the ability to play music with a single-tap now. If you haven't paid for it yet, the new $0.99 price is much more fair and reasonable. So if you're a music fan, we have to give this a recommendation.

Pick up Hey DJ here in the Marketplace for $0.99

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It's been awhile since we looked at iHeartRadio, the popular radio app available across devices and for the web. It was in October that the app went to v3.0 and received Mango support and a few days ago, version 4.1 hit the Marketplace bringing a nice make over with some bonus features on board.

Gone is the grey photo background and instead we have just pure black with red text. The UI now is much more minimalist and Metro, giving the app a fresh new bold look which we really like.

But the biggest feature is the addition of "custom radio" which is very similar to Pandora. You choose a station to create based on a song, artist or genre and iHeartRadio will select tunes based off of that criteria. You can then thumbs up/down songs and from that, refine your musical selection. Likewise you can still pull down lyrics, pin the station to your start screen and purchase/download tracks from the Zune Marketplace.

All in all it has been working great on our end and considering it's free, we see no reason not to try it if you like your music on the go. Grab it here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Ronald V., for the heads up Edit: Turns out this isn't available to those in the UK, for whatever reason.

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It's Sunday, so what time is it? It's time for the Windows Phone Summary of the Week! This is where we bring you all you a digestible list of everything you need to know from the past week, should you have been lost or absent. Kicking us off, as always, are WPCentral announcements. 

We've selected selected our winner (and runner-up) for the WPCentral Nokia 710 Photo Contest! Our Dave is back with the forum roundup for the recently held Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, as well as a number of top threads that contain hot discussion. That's all on the website front, let's head on into the summary. 

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Microsoft has updated their free Weather app for Windows Phone, finally bringing Mango support in version 2.0. We first reported on this looming refresh a few weeks ago and now the app upgrade is available in the Marketplace.

New in version 2.0 is the ability for fast app switching, multiple city support and the ability to pin each city to your Start screen with (get this) Live Tiles. Yes, now each city will display the current temperature and icon for current weather conditions right on your Start screen. While it lacks anything more advanced e.g. written forecast, radar maps, cams, etc. for many such a simple, minimalist weather program is all they want and need. In that regard, this app is pretty great for its "too the point" brevity.

So if you want simple, free and no ads, this is your app. Pick up Microsoft's Weather right here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Joseph K., for the tip!

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Not minutes after we teased about the Lumia 900 coming to AT&T soon, BGR is now reporting from their "source" that flagship device has been delayed by over a month till April 22nd. In a way, this explains why things have been so quiet around the stores e.g. no SKU leaks, product shipments, internal emails, etc.

While no official date was ever given for the AT&T Lumia 900, Paul Thurrot and Mary Jo Foley both claimed "March" for a release month with Thurrott getting more specific with the 18th. Later, BGR "confirmed" the date as well.

The price point of $99 on contract remains but if accurate, this is surely some bad news for those hoping for an exciting weekend next week.

Source: BGR

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For those of you who remember Warrio's Jewels (WJ7), a sideloaded/homebrew Gameboy emulator, you'll be pleased to know that it has been renamed to 'Purple Cherry' and is on its way to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Yes this is from the same developer who brought us the Sega Gamegear emulator, Sonic's Jewels which was later renamed to 'Blue Tomato' (due to copyright infringement). In trying to avoid the same legal issues, the developer has opted for a renaming and rebranding before submission this time and the emulator is expected to pass.

New images show that Purple Cherry is using the same design as Blue Tomato, something we're all for as it has an excellent layout with bold, clear fonts and UI elements. What's more, many fixes and improvements have gone into this updated emulator with more games running smoothly now e.g. Kid Icarus, WarioLand 2 and better Pokemon playability. In addition, SkyDrive support is there too allowing easy loading of ROMs to the emulator.

No word on pricing but we bet the same $1.49 price range can be expected. We'll follow up more as we get closer to release.

Source: Facebook

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Yesterday we showed you how to get the latest firmware for your Lumia 710, version 12070, on your device early but those in Singapore won't have to. As promised earlier, Nokia has started rolling out this update officially for that device in that region meaning all you need to do is plug in your phone to your Zune Desktop.

Singapore is also getting the 12070 firmware update for the Lumia 800 as well.

The update addresses an annoying issue where some users can't end  call once initiated, instead they have to pull the battery or shutdown the phone. Further, this update brings other "performance enhancements" to the table e.g. we notice our phone turns on faster now when we hit the power button.

This is also a good sign that Nokia will begin rolling this update out more globally in the next few weeks, dependent on carrier request.

Source: Nokia, Facebook; Thanks, Ramesh T, for the heads up

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Two weeks back Mobile Nations ran a survey asking all of you to tell us a few things about your computing and mobile device ownership and buying plans.  I’ve been digging into the data which is especially pertinent given today's iPad announcement.

Admittedly, those of us who fill out these surveys in the first 48 hours are often the most enthusiastic tech people of the bunch.  So we can’t go too crazy drawing conclusions.  But still, the data is interesting.

We had just over 1100 Windows Phone users fill out the survey.  The percentage of those people who use a Mac versus a PC is quite small, at only 5.1%

Across the entire survey population (over 7500 results), Mac has 17.7% market share. Without doing the math, this sure looks like a statistically significant result to me.

This may not be too shocking of a result to many of you, but I think we can safely say that Windows Phone users dislike Macs more than the average person.  A lot more.

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We showed you the latest version of Ask Ziggy, the Siri-like app knowledge app, last week and we told you it'll be here soon. Sure enough, the app has now been updated in the Marketplace, bringing all that new re-designed goodness free to your phone.

As we remarked and showed in our video, Ask Ziggy v2.0 brings a new Metro look, geolocation localization to answer questions about whereabouts, weather, time and searches. It's also a bit smarter, allowing the developer to update certain features from the backend.

So how much attention is Ask Ziggy getting? A lot. Our first video has 166K views, Microsoft has taken an interest in it. And now we have word that that Nokia has personally invited Ask Ziggy to give a special demo of their voice recognition technology at its 3-domed “Nokia Lab” at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival on March 12th. What's more they've doubled their staff from one to two people, which is quite impressive when you think about what they're up against.

Grab Ask Ziggy in the Marketplace for free right here. Let us know in comments your thoughts. Thanks, zoljac, for the heads up

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It’s been a long time in coming – Japanese developer Cave first announced their exclusive shooting game for Windows Phone way back in July. Many months later, DoDonPachi Maximum has finally debuted on Xbox Live.

DoDonPachi Maximum is a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up that borrows elements from previous games like DoDonPachi Resurrection. The twist is that the entire game is supposed to be a computer simulation, so the backgrounds and enemies have all been given a retro graphics makeover. At the start, you select from two different ships, each with its own weapons and abilities. Tip: the Delta Sword kills bosses much faster. Two more ships are supposedly unlockable, but I shudder to think about the requirements for doing so…

Gameplay is simple – touch anywhere on the screen and drag to move your fighter (which shoots automatically). I find that a centimeter or so below the ship works best. As you kill enemies, your laser bombs will charge up. To fire one, touch the screen with two fingers at once. It’s a fine control system and necessary for weaving between the enemies’ many, many bullets. Check out our preview video to see it in action, or this video to sample the soundtrack.

Warning: DoDonPachi Maximum is hard. In fact, it’s harder than I just said. It will take tons of practice to complete the game – the last level is actually punishment for treason in some countries. The Achievements are even more challenging; I expect only a handful of people in the world will ever get them all.

If that sounds good to you, you’re going to love Cave’s DoDonPachi Maximum. Get it right here on the Marketplace for $4.99.

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Nokia seems to be wrapping up testing of their much anticipated firmware update, 12070. The update brings better battery life through better controlled screen-brightness and ~70 mA discharge when idle.  In addition, the update tweaks the camera's white balance a little and sound is improved via the bass response.

We can testify that 12070 has nearly tripled our battery life since we forced-upgraded from 11401, making this a worthy and important update for Lumia users.

Those in Singapore seem to be the lucky ones tonight as they are now getting 12070 official through Zune Desktop, making them the first group to get the honors. So if you're in Singapore, y'all need to stop reading this and go get your update as it is totally worth the 15 minutes.

We expect the rest of Lumia 800 users to start to get their updates later on this week. Stay tuned.

Thanks, VoodooKing for the heads up; See XDA forums for further confirmation

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We're still expecting the HTC TITAN II to drop in the next few weeks and perhaps in an attempt to clear some stock, AT&T has dropped the behemoth Windows Phone to just one cent with a new contract.

That's pretty amazing for a 4.7" screen device with a 1.5GHz CPU and the best camera yet on a Windows Phone (yeah, we're calling it). The TITAN has been a big success, according to the folks at HTC we spoke with back at CES and we can't argue with that as it has been one of our favorite devices around.

The TITAN though is not being discontinued as far as we know as HTC told us that it will still be sold alongside the TITAN II (which is slightly redesigned, has a 16MP camera and LTE 4G on board), so we think this is more of a sale to push Windows Phone rather than an end-of-life scenario. Either way, it's a great deal.

Source: AT&T; Thanks, Reece, for the heads up

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An unlocked white Lumia 900 is available on eBay with expected shipping dates between April 3rd-9th. The handset joins the black and cyan versions that were previously available on the auction site back in January. The only difference separating the previous listings and this new one is the colour and price tag. The white Lumia 900 4G Windows Phone will set you back $829.

You never know with eBay listings such as this so proceed at your own risk. Check out the auction (and make your purchase) by following the source link to the item listing.

Source: eBay; thanks Cole for the heads up!

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