Windows Phone News

 

Tomorrow is the semi-kickoff for E3, the big gaming and entertainment expo that's going on here in Los Angeles till Thursday and that means one thing: Microsoft.

Starting at 9am PDT, Microsoft will be showcasing what's coming next for the Xbox 360 including games and perhaps the bigger story, entertainment. Microsoft already launched Amazon Instant Video last week and also teased Smart Glass for Windows Phone. What else is coming? Well our Paul Acevedo speculated on some of that here but we're sure Microsoft also has a few trick up their sleeves.

You can watch the event live on Xbox.com or Spike TV in addition to watching our Liveblog going on during the event--join the chat with us. Afterwards, since we're here in LA covering E3 all week, you can expect us to get some hands on with the latest services and titles coming to Xbox (and Windows Phone) during the day, so stay tuned.

Make sure to check our game-trailers roundup for E3 too to keep you busy in the meantime and join in our forums during the week to discuss all the news.

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E3 2012 Event Forum is now live

E3 2012 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo is coming to the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow and Windows Phone Central will be there. The crew will be Daniel Rubino and Paul Acevedo. These guys will be giving up there week and some sleep in hopes of staying on top of all the breaking gaming news. Poor guys, we really feel sorry for them don’t we?

What is E3? Well E3 is the largest gaming event in the world and is open exclusively to members of the industry. The Windows Phone Central Crew qualifies so off we go. You can get all the information on E3 and what we expect to see and do when we get there in this article: Windows Phone Central comes to E3 2012

The WPCentral Forums is the place to go for all the in depth conversations. With that in mind we have opened up a new events forum just for E3. We positioned this new area right at the top of the forum. Every time we have an event like this WPCentral will open a new events area so we can discuss the affair. When the affair is over all the event exclusive content will be moved to our events sub forum.

Why do we do this? Because we love our community and we want to make sure our community members get all the latest information. 

Things will move quickly next week. We know you don’t want to miss anything. Catch the breaking news on our main page then jump in the WPCentral Forum to get in on the community opinion.

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Campaign Live has reported Nokia signing a product placement deal with UK television soap opera Hollyoaks, that will see Lumia Windows Phones being used and promoted in a number of episodes. The show will have characters using the Lumia 800 and 710 Windows Phones with Monster Purity headphones. The village bus stop will also sport Lumia advertisements, starting from July.

As well as the TV promotion, Lumia Windows Phones will be displayed on other platforms that stream the programme, including the Channel 4 website which will reportedly see the devices come to life with two Hollyoaks characters tweeting their on-screen personality. The deal is set to last for an initial four-month period. John Nichols, head of marketing at Nokia UK, had the following to say on the deal:

"This partnership is another example of how we are pushing the Lumia brand in new innovative ways, with a human approach across multiple platforms."

This is a superb move by Nokia as the show is popular with a strong young audience, something the company has admitted it needs to target to rejuvenate the brand.

Source: Campaign Livethanks, Marco300, for the tip!

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A new video of the Sony Ericsson "Julie" (branded "Jolie" in the video) Windows Phone has been published to the Internet. Unfortunately, the company, now Sony Mobile, has continuously stated that they have no immediate plans for Windows Phone. Which is a shame as the handset itself doesn't look half-bad. Slap Windows Phone "Apollo" 8 on there and you could have a winning next-gen slider.

It's interesting to note that this version gives us the impression there's more than one variant of "Julie", as it's an all-black design unlike the earlier prototype we saw pictured. With "Apollo" itself, the next major Windows Phone upgrade, expected to be released later this year, we could see support from Sony Mobile should the platform maintain this steady increase with regards to market share and positive feedback from carriers.

Source: YouTube; thanks, Daniel, for the heads up!

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The Dark Knight Rises app for Windows Phone is now available to all Lumia handsets. We last looked at the recently released app back when UK retailer Phones 4u announced availability of the limited edition Batman The Dark Knight Rises Lumia 900. Should you not be able to pick up the special Lumia 900, but own a Lumia Windows Phone, don't fear as you can download the app and enjoy the experience.

What's included in the app? Trailers, wallpapers and ringtones, as well as a countdown to when the film is set to premier. Coupled with the counter, the app displays the nearest theatres that will be showing the title, using the location of the user. Directions to theatres are available on-hand so it requires little effort to get planning for the big day.

Should you login and connect to your Foursquare account, you get to choose your side (Batman or Bane) and play a Foursquare-based mini-game titled Claim Gotham City. A map is presented to the user that enables locations to be taken over by either side (checking in), earning points and exclusive content. As well as taking over locations on your own, joint attacks can be performed with other players. It's a fun twist.

You can download The Dark Knight Rises from the Marketplace on your Lumia Windows Phone.

 

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Red Badger has finally released update 1.7 for Birdsong, the Twitter client for Windows Phone that has been left collecting dust on the shelf for a fair few months. We previously looked at version 1.7 when it was announced on the Red Badger blog that the update would be pushed out soon. 

Without repeating ourselves too much, this version fixes the login issue that users were experiencing, as well as the setting save 'fail' that prevented live tile functionality being enabled. The search has been revamped, which now sports saved searches pulled down from the micro-blogging website. If saved searches weren't enough, the team have also thrown in trending topics functionality.

You can download Birdsong from the Marketplace - we'd recommend a fresh install if you've been experiencing problems with previous versions.

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We're getting a few reports, including one over at tech site cnBeta.com that the Windows Phone Marketplace is undergoing a lengthy blackout. Specifically when users try to download an app, the progress bar gets about half way (full downloaded) and then an "attention required" message pops up with an error 805a01f8.

What's perhaps worse is these errors have been going on for nearly 20 hours now, making this a significant down-time for many new Windows Phone users in China.

The error users are seeing in China right now when they attempt an app download

Word from cnBeta is that there is no official comment from Microsoft China on the matter and users are basically on their own until the system is fixed, leaving many users disgruntled and frustrated. 

Companies like Nokia and HTC have both recently made a large push into China signaling a successful attempt at selling Microsoft's OS to new customers, however such a setback with the Marketplace could create some negative blow-back from early adoptees. 

If you're in China and experiencing these problems or if they have resolved themselves, let us know in comments.

Source: cnBeta.com; Thanks, x. wang., for the tip

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Does your color preference in Windows Phones uncover a personality trait? Whether it is a white Samsung Focus 2 or a cyan Nokia Lumia 900, does your choice of colors reflect more than a fashion statement? There is some school of thought that the choice of color isn't a conscious effort but rather a sub-conscious choice. Color psychologist Angela Wright states,

“Every time you make a color choice, you’re making a statement about what’s going on in your head, even though most you the time you don’t know it. Around 80 percent of our color choices are sub-conscious.”

So how do the color choices break down? Here's what the color psychologist has to say.

Cyan - The Thinker: The cyan blue is a happy color that conveys an intellectual and considered nature. It is a balanced color that is inspiring. The blue helps to focus your thoughts and clear your mind.

White - The Sophisticate: White gives off an impression of a sophisticated smartphone aficionado with high standards.

Fuchsia - The Angry Lady: Fuchsia leans towards the sensitivities of female owners. According to Wright, “It’s a very strong statement on the aggressive side of femininity. So this phone is one for the ladies, the sympathizers and perhaps those who’re a bit scared of feminists and want to integrate themselves.”

Black - The Protector: Black comes across as confident and sophisticated but experts say it is more often used as a security blanket. Black is all colors totally absorbed so it creates protection. It's not a reflection of a dark personality but may represent a safe choice for smartphone users.

So is the expert hitting close to the mark? Do you choose the color of your Windows Phone to suit your tastes or is it a sub-conscious decision that is driven by our personalities and character? I'm partial to black because of its conservative appearance and I guess in many ways, its a safe choice.

Who knows... maybe the color psychologists are right?

Source: Conversations Nokia Via: Windows Team Blog

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Just when we thought the patent wars were over, Google has announced yesterday that they've filed an antitrust complaint in Europe, pointing a finger at Nokia and Microsoft regarding patents. The search giant is arguing that both companies are using third-party agencies (which are internally branded "patent trolls") to increase the costs for mobile devices, which would in-turn provide a strong advantage to the Microsoft ecosystem. An example is provided by Google, where the company states that Nokia and Microsoft have entered into revenue-based agreements with the likes of Mosaid Technologies.

Last year the two companies in question transferred a total of 2,000 patents to Mosaid, as well as Nokia selling 450 to IP Bulldog. Google views a threat on the horizon where more fees placed on OEMs may force manufacturers to look elsewhere, Windows Phone in this case, for cheaper production costs. While details of the filing has not been published, a statement from Google has been provided:

"Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that sidestep promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices."

By colluding with both Microsoft and Mosaid, Google alleges that Nokia has betrayed its previous open-source commitments. A Microsoft representative has responded to these claims with the following comment:

"Google is complaining about patents when it won't respond to growing concerns by regulators, elected officials and judges about its abuse of standard-essential patents, and it is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95% of mobile search and advertising. This seems like a desperate tactic on their part."

Nokia has also publicly responded to the filing:

"Though we have not yet seen the complaint, Google's suggestion that Nokia and Microsoft are colluding on IPR is wrong. Both companies have their own IPR portfolios and strategies and operate independently.

Nokia has made regular patent divestments over the last five years. In each case, any commitments made for standards essential patents transfer to the acquirer and existing licenses for the patents continue. Had Google asked us, we would have been happy to confirm this, which could then have avoided them wasting the commission's time and resources on such a frivolous complaint.

We agree with Google that Android devices have significant IP infringement issues, and would welcome constructive efforts to stop unauthorised use of Nokia intellectual property.

Nokia has an active licensing program with more than 40 licensees. Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license."

We'll have to see how these complaints progress through the European regulators. We'll never get tired of patent news.

Source: Wall Street Journal; via: AllAboutWindowsPhone

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E3 Sneak Peek: Xbox Smart Glass

The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is just a few days away and Microsoft has given us a small glimpse at a new Xbox companion, Xbox Smart Glass. Xbox Smart Glass will be optimized for Windows tablets and phones to allow users to control their Xbox console, play videos and other media from their tablets and phones, and send videos to the Xbox to play on the television.

The app sounds similar to the Windows Phone Xbox Companion app but with a lot more gusto. Plus there's the Windows 8 tablet coming into play which is appealing in and of itself. Xbox Smart Glass will also be available for Android and iOS tablets and phones.

Microsoft will be demoing Smart Glass at E3 next week and hopefully will shed more light on the capabilities of Xbox Smart Glass. We'll be in attendance at E3 and hopefully we can shed more light on Xbox Smart Glass.

Source: Examiner Via: Engadget; Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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We've covered the popular "jumper" game MonsterUp previously on Windows Phone Central--published by Karios, the game features great music, bold, adorable graphics and interesting twists on an old concept. Though Doodle Jump gets the headlines, MonsterUp to us was always more creative. Now, Karios has returned with MonsterUp Adventures and we got a little sneak peek of the upcoming tile.

Instead of just a straight sequel i.e. yet-another-jumper, MonsterUp Adventures is more like a proper video game now. It features:

  • Levels you need to complete
  • Multiple "bosses"
  • Gems, jewels and coins to collect to unlock new monsters
  • A shop to purchase new monsters (who each have unique powers)

Whereas before the goal was to just jump as high as you can, now on each level you need to "jump to the end" to complete it. It takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes per level and yes, it's quite challenging at times (especially on the 2nd half of the island). The collecting of jewels to purchase new monsters is well done as it gives you motivation to try new combinations, plus it adds to the replay value.  The bosses, while not very difficult, add a nice break to the jumping and the exquisitely drawn and unique backgrounds keep the visuals fresh.

Sadly, MonsterUp Adventures as submitted to be an Xbox LIVE game but was denied by Microsoft. Like Karios, we're not sure what the criteria is for making into that coveted camp but compared to the last few stinkers on Xbox LIVE, MonsterUp Adventures more than makes the cut in our mind.

The plus side is MonsterUp Adventures will get to your phones sooner than if it were on Xbox LIVE and Karios can deliver more updates, more frequently.

So our verdict? We really like this game. Jumpers are fun but they can get old fast. Karios Games have taken that concept to a new level with 'Adventures, breathing new life into the growing franchise. With fantastic graphics, a catchy tune and high re-playablity we're impressed.

Look for MonsterUp Adventures to arrive in the Marketplace very soon. Check out the promo vid after the break...

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"Enthusiasts" can now load custom ROMs on devices like this HTC Titan

Good news for those with "2nd generation" Windows Phone like the HTC Radar and HTC Titan, the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have released their custom Hard Secondary Program Loader (HSPL) for those devices, including a "wizard" to guide you through the somewhat complicated process. Announced back in March, the team has made solid and steady progress over the last few months on the project.

HSPLs are needed to "unlock" the bootloader of certain smartphones in order to get custom ROMs to load onto them (think of it as a layer of security). Without this tool-set, modified OS's for those devices simply have nowhere to go. Now that these tools are available comes the second step: the creation of custom ROMs which will require some "chefs" to cook them up,

Second generation HTC devices have been notoriously difficult to crack for DFT so this is a fairly big win for the homebrew community. Unfortunately, devices like the Titan II still won't work with this tool so it's best to still wait for DFT to get that going.

In a well planned release, there are at least two custom ROMs now available too:

  1. HTC Titan by mwang - Tango OS (8773), Replace HTC Apps software,add Registry editor,file explorers ...etc; Few tweaks ,DFT FullUnlock support XAP IE download and install,full play XBL games; ISharing,Static MAC Address
  2. HTC Radar by mwang - Tango OS (8773), Replace HTC Apps software,add Registry editor,file explorers ...etc; Few tweaks ,DFT FullUnlock support XAP IE download and install,full play XBL games; ISharing,Static MAC Address

Once again we need to stress to proceed with caution when attempting these modifications as this can "brick" your phone if you don't follow the directions carefully.  Regardless, it's exciting to finally see some movement on these two fantastic Windows Phones. We're sure the community will be releasing some fantastic creations over the next few months.

Source: XDA Forums; via: WP7.com.pl; Thanks, Tony and dragonide, for the tips

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The Carphone Warehouse has the Lumia 710 at an attractive price of just £99.99 (excluding required £10 top-up), which widens the gap between itself and the supposedly "dirt cheap" Lumia 610 priced at £180 with Clove UK. The Windows Phone is the first Nokia smartphone to be priced below £100 since the partnership began with Microsoft. 

The Lumia 710 will remain priced at £100 with Carphone Warehouse until June 7th, so be sure to get in quickly should you be looking to pick one up. The Windows Phone is perfect for those who don't require a device like the Lumia 800, Samsung Omnia, or HTC TITAN, and sports a 1.4GHz processor, 512MB RAM, and 8GB storage.

Source: Carphone Warehouse, via: AllAboutWindowsPhone; thanks everyone for the heads up!

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Well, if there's one thing we learned tonight it's that a lot of you watch Kiefer Sutherland's "Touch" series on Fox, at least judging by the amount of tips we received. Evidently tonight was the two-part season finale (yes, the show was renewed) and the main child prodigy gets his hand on a cyan Lumia 900. What's more, the scene is fairly long by product-placement standards, resulting in some nice screen time for the hit device on AT&T.

Also note the appearance of the AT&T AirGraffiti app for Windows Phone. For those of you who don't know, AirGraffiti was a concept app from AT&T that allows users to "...leave videos, photos and songs “in the air” at physical addresses for friends or others to retrieve when they visit that location". It's a very cool concept that uses the phone's media resources, social networking and Location Based Services (LBS).

AirGraffiti on Windows Phone?

No word though is that app is actually coming to Windows Phone or AT&T and Nokia are just teasing the hell out of us. Let's hope it's the former as that'd be a very cool win.

Anyway we managed to get a video clip of the appearance on the show--there were two scenes--and we mixed 'em and posted 'em for you to peep. The video is on SkyDrive and if you're wondering why it's not on YouTube, you can blame their Draconian copyright enforcement.

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Microsoft has made the anticipated Windows 8 Release Preview available to download in 14 supported languages. This version is the final release before the next major operating system hits gold, and includes a number of improvements made by Microsoft using feedback received from the community in past releases.

Should you be familiar with Windows 8, and have installed the Consumer Preview, you should look forward to more features and apps, including news, travel and sport. If you've not picked up a copy yet, you might want to do so to see how Microsoft is changing things on the desktop / tablet to match Windows Phone.

You can download the Windows 8 Release Preview from Microsoft.

via: MSDN

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WorldMate (website) is a popular mobile travel organiser, which has witnessed success on the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia (S60) and Windows Mobile. The Windows Phone app will feature an itinerary organiser that will enable users to share WorldMate content with the community.

WorldMate for Windows Phone will also be able to connect to Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for convenient sharing, as well as the ability to check out who's nearby to trip destinations. It's a must-have calendar for any soul who travels often. We last covered the app when it was named runner-up at the Microsoft Acceleration Week.

WorldMate is set to be available next week. We'll be sure to alert you when it's live and have a quick video walkthrough published. 

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The Windows Phone UK team held an exciting event in Camden last night. The Into Live Event saw live performances from local bands, and even the popular Noisettes. As well as the music, a steady flow of food and alcohol were on the table with each attendee receiving two free drink tokens (much like the HTC launch event for the TITAN and Radar). I went along with Robert Brand from Glance and Go Radio and also managed to meet up with Tom Warren from The Verge. So what was down at Proud Camden?

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The Windows Phone UK team has been busy taking the Dare to Live challenge on tour throughout the UK. They first began the challenge marathon at Westfield in London and has since arrived in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle and Sheffield, challenging the public to see if their smartphone can beat a Windows Phone at common tasks. From uploading a photo to Facebook to publishing a status update to social networks.

The team were also present at the Into live music event, which took place at Proud Camden last night in London. So, how about some statistics? According to the team, they've enjoyed a 98% win rate with 22,782 wins under the belt, accompanied by 568 losses (similar to the Smoked By Windows Phone competition's). A week breakdown is also available under the graph.

Not too shabby, eh? Check out the calendar for details as to where the team will be next, we'll revisit the Dare to Live campaign once it's finished in July.

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Windows Phone 8 concept

In mid June, Microsoft is expected to start revealing info on the much anticipated Windows Phone 8 OS (aka Apollo) but until that day, we have just crumbs of data to work with. One of those sources comes from peeping OS builds that various developers "see" when looking at their app data usage.

Such an example is illustrated by Marios Karagiannis (aka Karios) developer of the popular (and Windows Phone Central favorite) MonsterUp. In a recent blog post on his site, the developer listed some new OS builds that apparently come from Windows Phone 8 devices:

  • 8.0.9698.0 69
  • 8.0.9697.0 35
  • 8.0.9696.0 4
  • 8.0.10101.0 4
  • 8.0.9691.0 4
  • 8.0.9695.0 2
  • 8.0.9699.0 1

Likewise, our own Rogue Code, who makes Ffffound as well as Pocket Meme, has also seen similar numbers in his apps including 8.0.9673, 8.0.9644, 8.0.9627 and 8.0.9699.

We assume by this point that Microsoft has to be testing Windows Phone 8 and seeing OS builds floating around probably should not be too surprising. Unfortunately, more info cannot be gleaned from such build numbers making this observation more entertaining than revealing.

Turning to our own Google Analytics for this site, we can discern some interesting tidbits as well. Specifically under our "mobile visits" we now have 768x1280 resolution devices running Internet Explorer 10 making rare but occasional stops to our site. Display colors were set at 24-bit (a bump from 16-bit that we usually see) and many pings originate from Redmond, WA.

Google Analytic data from WPCentral.com showing supposed WP8 devices (click to enlarge)

Furthermore, we can officially confirm with other independent sources that 768x1280 will be a supported resolution in Windows Phone 8 in addition to three others including 480x640, 480x800 (current WP7 resolution) and 720x1280.

While a WXGA resolution may seem a bit odd, in Jul 2011 Samsung were reportedly working on a mobile phone running that exact screen resolution, albeit sporting Android. To put such a resolution in perspective, as Phone Arena notes "...on a 4.5 inch screen, the pixels per inch would come in at 332, topping the 326ppi reading of the Retina Display on the Apple iPhone 4". No doubt an impressive statistic. 

Of course we'll just have to wait and see what Microsoft officially tells us in the coming months. Until then, the above info should be treated as rumor/speculation as things like emulators (versus actual hardware) may be playing a role.

Still, we think the info presented above is accurate and will be the path for Windows Phone 8.

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RedSpottedHanky and thetrainline.com are both websites that allow UK residents to purchase train tickets for travel on the public network. Both services are now available on Windows Phone with two official apps being released this month. So how can both apps help you get the best deals for your travel?

Using either RedSpottedHanky or thetrainline provides Windows Phone owners, who reside in the UK, the tools to effectively use the rail network. From ordering train tickets to checking the latest departure times, the combination of functionality will ensure that journeys are less stressful and more reliable. Windows Phone Central takes a quick look at both apps available on the platform.

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