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Which Windows Phone are you getting on April 8th?

With today's announcement of both the HTC TITAN II ($199 on contract, $549 off) and the Nokia Lumia 900 ($99 on contract, $449 off) being available on April 8th (online) and April 9th (stores), the question naturally arises: Which one are you getting?

We have a feeling that due to the hype, the Nokia will win here (and by a large margin) but the HTC TITAN II is no slouch either what with its 4.7" screen, 16MP camera and 4G LTE--heck, the original TITAN is one of our favorite phones -- ever -- so all of those "new" features look to make it a winner.

Anyways, you know the drill: Vote up above and tell us your reasons below. Go!

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While we still haven't heard anything official from AT&T, CNET is reporting this morning that AT&T has told them that the new Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone will hit shelves on April 8th. The Lumia 900 will sell for $99 after two-year contractual discounts.

Earlier rumors had the Lumia 900 possibly launching on March 18th but then the rumored release date was pushed back. The $99 price tag might have been the only constant in all the speculation.

You will be able to pre-order the black and blue versions of the Lumia 900 beginning March 30th in stores and online. The white version will be available on April 22nd.

Still no word on the out-of-contract pricing and should we hear anything, we will definitely pass it on.

source: CNET

Update:  The official press release from AT&T just hit the wire confirming the above.  Beginning March 30th you can pre-order the Lumia 900 in stores or online at AT&T's Lumia 900 webpage.  The two year contract does require a minimum monthly voice package of $39.99 and a data plan of at least $20 a month.  Oh, and don't forget the activation fees are now $36.  You can catch the full presser after the break.

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With the latest info from AT&T regarding the 8107 update (specifically that they don't have plans to offer it) and news that the HTC Titan and Samsung Focus S are reportedly going to be discontinued soon, the issue about force-updating the OS has been brought up as an alternative.

Indeed, there is a relatively easy way to force any Windows Phone to 8107 in about 15 minutes (after you get all the right files in place) and in fact, we just did it to our Samsung Focus S, mostly because we have a crap-ton of Windows Phones here and can take risks.

We're going to assume you don't have extra phones and therefore we can't really endorse this because:

  1. You may "Walsh" your phone, meaning you'll bugger your chances for future updates (if they ever happen, ahem)
  2. It is a bit stressful
  3. You really shouldn't have to do this, amirite?

Having said that, if you still want to go down this path we can say it does work and if you follow the directions to the letter, you'll have 8107 on your Windows Phone (you just won't have any "tweaked" OEM firmware to go with it).

Once again, we must stress that we're not endorsing this method and we would much rather see AT&T just deliver an update. Should you screw up your phone, this is all on you.

So against our better judgement (and Rafael's ire), we're going to post our tutorial on the subject.  Read on, if you dare...

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Yup, good news for those who are waiting to get the Nokia Lumia 900 (and presumably the HTC TITAN II), Visual Voicemail on AT&T is finally supported with these new phones.

As you can see above, it's the same visual goodness that many of you have come to expected (and yet is evidently difficult for carriers to instantiate). Regardless, for such a flagship phone, it's a darn good thing that this feature is on board as Windows Phone can't have any more holes in the OS, especially with the stiff competition out there.

Oh and word of warning: you'll need a 4G LTE plan to have this feature enabled. We're told by Jeffrey B. who is using the device:

"...Make sure u get an LTE data plan w/visual vm feature or you won't get it. The LTE SIM comes in box with tool so no worry there but a clerk in a hurry could miss the LTE data plan w/vis vm feature. Check."

The "tool" he's referring to is for opening the micro-SIM drawer on the phone and indeed, make sure you get that 4G LTE plan (it doesn't cost extra, but it is a technical change that needs to be fixed on your account).

No word if or when other Windows Phone on AT&T will get this feature.

Thanks, Jeff, for the pic!

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We've been waiting for a long time for an Audible client for Windows Phone and that day is finally almost upon us. Currently the popular audio-book app is in limited beta testing but we managed to get our hands on a copy and to be honest, we're impressed. The folks at Audible have given time and consideration when making this app as opposed to rushing some basic player to the market and it shows.

The Audible app is fast, nimble and to the point allowing you to purchase your favorite audio books on the go and with ease of listening. Some of the highlights of the app include:

  • Primary Live Tile that flips with recent history on the back
  • Secondary Live Tiles based on book title; enables 1-touch playing of audio; flips to show bookmark history
  • Configurable "jump back" feature to re-hear a section (default is 30 seconds)
  • Button-less playback which uses gestures instead of buttons to control the audio
  • Badges and statistics viewer
  • Sharing of book info and general news via the Windows Phone built in social networks
  • Gorgeous UI

One small downside is that it uses the built in browser/embedded IE9 for book purchasing as opposed to a dedicated native marketplace. The embedded option works well enough but it feels a little jarring to be ejected momentarily from the app-experience.

The design of the app is really striking and in our mind, Audible has done a knock out job here. In addition, there are enough options to keep most users happy but not too much as to overwhelm. While purchasing audio books may not be everyone's cup of tea (gosh, they're expensive!) we know many of you really insist on this service and for you , we have just a few words: you won't be disappointed.

Look for the official Auidble app to hit the Marketplace in the next few weeks. We'll of course keep you abreast of when it finally is released here at WPCentral. Thanks to Jack K., for the assitance!

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We've heard numerous times that the Nokia Lumia 900 will be a "hero" device for AT&T, a term that is unfamiliar for many who are not in the business of smartphones. Here, the usage refers to AT&T promoting the Lumia 900 on the level of the Apple iPhone meaning we should expect a very intensive media campaign for the flagship Nokia device and it taking center stage on one of the largest carriers in the US.

One way to do that is to put the phone in the hands of those on the front lines -- the sales reps at the AT&T stores. More information has rolled in over the last few hours since we broke the April 9th street date for the 900. First, we know that the phones started arriving at AT&T stores over the last two days and that employee training on the Windows Phone OS (and this specific hardware) will take place on March 26th, April 6th and 7th at those outlets.

Next is the big news: AT&T has designated the Nokia Lumia 900 for 'Company Use' meaning all Front Seller employees are eligible to receive the phone at no cost. The trade off is though is that employees have to turn in their current 'Company Use' phones, namely the iPhone and certain Android devices.

You read that right: Nokia is paying, we hear up to $25 million, for AT&T employees to exclusively use the Lumia 900 instead of the iPhone and Android. Nokia is expecting more than 80% of employees to be using their flagship Windows Phone for participation in the CU program (employees can opt to use any phone they want at a discount, but CU phones are provided for free), which should go a long way in convincing those employees the merits of the OS, resulting in positive word of mouth and high sales.

So why is AT&T so keen on promoting Windows Phone, specifically the Nokia Lumia 900? Sure, there is money involved but in addition but we're told that the feeling at AT&T is that the company is trying to get away from being "the iPhone carrier" and are looking to differentiate their lineup from their competition. The Lumia 900 is a device they can get behind to do that -- not just because of the financial incentive, but because this phone represents a real chance for the fledgling OS to shine. That should sit well with many of you who are worried about the fate of Microsoft's mobile OS.

Oh and before we close out, we're also told that the HTC TITAN and Samsung Focus S are to be put on the End of Life (EOL) list, meaning their future availability will be phased out from current inventory without being replenished. (Well, there had to be some bad news, right?)

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We first told you that AT&T was planning on an April 8th (online) and 9th (stores) release for the Lumia 900 and sure enough, it's accurate. Since that report we've had numerous tips from store employees on the matter all stating the same dates, so we think it's safe to call it now.

Reader David just returned from an AT&T store where an employee had both phones (black and cyan, see above) to toy with. Here are his thoughts:

"Also, the matte finish on the back cover makes the phone feel SUPER nice in hand and you only notice the 4.3" screen with one-handed use.  Also, with its' rectangular corners and flat front/back panels, the pocket is a really nice place for it to go about the day with you. Nokia did a really awesome job with this one and I can't wait for April 9 to get here!"

Indeed. From our hands on experience (see here), the Lumia 900 is set to impress and with the April 9th launch date confirmed, it should be an exciting Easter for many of you, so long as you start saving your pennies now.

The Nokia Lumia 900 features a 4.3" AMOLED screen, 1.4GHz CPU, 1830mAh battery (non-replacable), 16GB of storage, 8MP rear and 1.3MP front cameras with 4G LTE support. It is expected to sell for $99 on contract. Online orders should start Sunday, April 8th with in-store availability April 9th. No word on full-price yet.

Thanks, David, M., for the tip

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Looking for a basic weather forecast app? Take a look at the Windows Phone app Weather Flow. The app is from the developers of AppFlow and Cocktail Flow and is a visually appealing app that presents you with current conditions and a five day forecast.

Throw in an hourly forecast, two design layouts and an interesting live tile and Weather Flow is a basic, very nice looking weather app worth considering.

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You know what type of game we need on Xbox Live for Windows Phone? RPGs! Sigh. But another hole in the lineup is snowboarding games, which will soon be filled by iStunt 2 from Miniclip. It’s next week’s Xbox Live release.

iStunt 2 is a simple game in which players navigate a snowboarder around 2D courses, collecting stars and trying to earn high scores. The courses have crazy loops, buzzsaws, gravity portals, and stuff to make things interesting. Control should be a snap on Windows Phone. You just tilt to adjust the board rotation, and that’s it.

In addition to hunting down stars in the game’s 88 levels, players can unlock new boards and riders in the game’s shop. As this is a Miniclip game there will probably be optional PDLC to make things easier. The PDLC was sort of annoying in Gravity Guy but rather innocuous in Fragger, so it’ll likely be fine here.

iStunt 2 comes to Xbox Live on Wednesday, March 28 for $2.99. If you’d like to try it out before hand, the Flash version is free to play (and fun) on MiniClip’s website.

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If you're not aware of the positive news this week surrounding our Windows Phone app, we've been nominated for Nokia Conversations' March Madness contest. The WPCentral app is in the "news & entertainment" category, and you guys requested an update as to when you'll be able to vote. The time is now, fellow WPCentralites!

Be sure to head on over to the Nokia Conversations' article to vote for the WPCentral app, should you wish to do so, as we're up against All About Windows Phone. While we're flattered that our work has been considered for the contest, we do have a secret desire to win with flying colours. On a serious note - we thank our readers for continued support and wish every app the very best in this contest.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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As a follow up to Monday's story regarding Windows Phone Tango and the reported increase in the number of apps for fast-app switching, the story has proven to be false.

What was seen was a custom Tango ROM for an HD2 where the ROM-chef (HD2Owner) had increased the number of apps in the taskswitcher from five to eight -- but alas, in the official Tango ROM this is not the case and five, sadly is still the limit. From XDA:

"more tasks in taskswitcher is not a tango feature

it's just another useful tweak i implemented into my rom"

Certainly this explains why Microsoft did not convey this information earlier but at least on the bright side, it's one thing to be less excited about regarding Tango.

via: Windows Phone Daily

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Today is March 21st which means Microsoft took the big step in growing the Windows Phone ecosystem by releasing the mobile OS in mainland China.

Launching on numerous devices, including the HTC Triumph (aka TITAN), the Nokia Lumia 800c and offerings from ZTE (including the Orbit/Mimosa), Microsoft looks to regain some ground in the smartphone war by offering a variety of hardware running the refresh of Windows Phone 7.5 "Tango" (build 8773) in one of the largest emerging markets in the world.

The press conference was held in Beijing in a makeshift warehouse with HTC, Nokia, ZTE, Qualcomm and Samsung all in attendance. In addition, Simon Leung Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region was also there to introduce the operating system to the audience. The press conference involved a demonstration of the OS, new hardware, Skydrive, Office as well as mention the more than 2,000 Chinese applications already in the Marketplace, including 50 top tier apps.

Overall, it looks to have been a successful launch though of course, it remains to be seen how keen on Windows Phone China is in the next few months as these devices go on sale around the massive country.

See more photos and coverage at WinP.cn; Thanks, Lucas, for the tip!

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Last week Gerbil Physics went up on the Marketplace a bit early, and it’s happened again this week. Somebody at the big MS is on the ball! Anyway, you can now buy this week’s Xbox Live release, Pro Evolution Soccer 2012.

What’s new in PES 2012? Well, you can’t tell from the official description, which sounds just about identical. Here it is:

  • Unrivalled realism: Experience incredible gameplay and focus on tactics, goals and winning trophies while competing against the most advanced team and player AI on the market. Striking animations such as referee cut-scenes or goal celebrations and technical moves (diving header, bicycle kick, and more) will make you feel the beauty of the game.
  • Exclusive UEFA Club Competitions: PES 2012 includes many of the best European club teams in the officially licensed UEFA Champions League™ and UEFA Europa League™ modes.
  • Online connectivity: Prove your skills and unlock the various Xbox LIVE achievements, compare yourself to your friends, make it to the top of the leaderboards and become the world’s greatest PES player.
  • Outstanding Accessibility for Beginners and Experts: The uniquely designed true flow™ control system provides instant access for players of all levels by utilising the accelerometer and AI-supported touch controls. More advanced players are presented with unlimited freedom of play by being able to master classic console-style controls with virtual pad and buttons.
  • Stunning graphics: Detailed stadiums, pitches and weather effects provide the perfect visual environment for exciting matches
  • Avatar awards: These aren't listed in the official description, but we have it on good authority that they're coming in the near future.

Hmm... One of those bullet points doesn't add up. Having played both PES 2011 on Windows Phone and PES 2012 on Xbox 360, I can tell you without a doubt that this series is not accessible for beginners. It’s an extremely realistic and challenging depiction of soccer, which is great for people who’ve been playing it for years. Me, I just couldn’t get overcome the learning curve. You might also consider that the PES 2011 was delisted from the Marketplace without warning, which will likely happen to 2012 once next year’s version gets closer to release. Hopefully Microsoft starts allowing users to back up or redownload delisted games between now and then, but I’m not holding my breath.

Enough commentary! Football/soccer fans who want to play their sport on Windows Phone can’t do any better than Pro Evolution Soccer, and that’s what matters. PES 2012 costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Natres for the tip!

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It would appear as though Lumia 800 Windows Phones are receiving new firmware, following the rollout in Singapore. The new firmware, 1600.2487.8107.12070, addresses a number of problems and is the next version up from the previous firmware release that arrived in January.

Quick recap of known improvements / fixes in the update:

  • Enhanced battery standby and talk time performance
  • Battery capacity icon instead of question mark on top right of screen
  • Improved bass in audio performance
  • Soft-key illumination at all brightness levels
  • Fixes for device performance issues including self-reboots, freezes and call-ending

As you can see, it's a fairly sizeable update. Many of our readers have confirmed update notifications (unlocked - U.S. and UK), so be sure to plug your Lumia 800 into your PC to check via Zune. Let us know in the comments should you receive the new firmware.

Thanks to everyone who sent us tips!

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It has been officially announced on the T-Mobile U.S. support forum that the carrier is rolling out the Windows Phone 8107 update out to HTC HD7 owners. The 8107 OS update introduces numerous changes, but the highlight is the fix for the disappearing keyboard bug.

Be sure to check Zune (or the Mac Windows Phone Connector) for the notification. Unfortunately there's still no word on a 8107 rollout date for Lumia 710 owners on the T-Mobile network, though you can hack the handset to receive the update along with new firmware.

This has been confirmed by our readers who have received the update notification on their handsets. Let us know when you get yours in the comments.

Source: T-Mobile, thanks everyone who tipped us!

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Not much is known about the Lumia 719, which passed Bluetooth certification late last month, but now we have visual confirmation of the handset. Taking a different design approach than the other Lumia handsets, the 719 will sport compatibility for both CDMA2000 and GSM networks. The handset is set to sport the same size screen (3.7") as the Lumia 710 as well as having a 5MP shooter, and will reportedly be targeting Asian and American markets.

This news derives from Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter micro-blogging network. We'll look to hear more surrounding the device, so stay tuned.

Source: Weibo, via: LiveSide 

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China is set to finally launch Windows Phone in the coming weeks and while Nokia will be doing that at the end of March, HTC has beat them to the punch with the HTC Triumph.

New HTC phone you say? Not really. The Triumph is just the TITAN with a rebranding and Windows Phone Tango thrown on board (officially launching on the 21st). Still, with it's 4.7" screen, 8MP rear and 1.3MP front cameras and 1.5GHz CPU, China is kicking it off big with this device. The Triumph went on sale yesterday, hence the above unboxing video.

No word on official carrier support though, meaning folks in China may have to pay out of pocket for the full-experience of Windows Phone. Still, it's nice to see the device with localized-Chinese features on board.

via: Unwired View

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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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