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Windows Phone News

In the ongoing saga between Samsung and Apple, documents came out late last night from the court case that detailed a proposal by Apple to charge Samsung for royalties on their smartphones.

It’s interesting for a few reasons. For one, Apple almost never enters into cross-platform patent royalty deals with other companies, specifically if it is tied to any of their “product differentiating” technologies. Back in 2010 though, Apple was willing to make an exception to this with Samsung because they are a major parts supplier for Cupertino and they wanted to preserve that relationship. Apple was also “shocked” at just how much Samsung was willing to allegedly copy the iPhone.

In the documents, Apple spells out some license terms it was willing to offer Samsung back in October 2010—just a few weeks before Windows Phone 7 became available.  Although Android was offered a $24-per-device royalty fee, which yes, is extremely high, Apple evidently also wanted $9 per ‘Windows Mobile 7’ device as well.

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Can it be improved? Yes it can.

If you’re a regular reader (and listener) of this site you know by now that myself and fellow camera-enthusiast George Ponder have been…harsh…on the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900’s camera.  We rated it as one of the worst we’ve used in quite some time (though not as bad as Dell’s) and it often prevents us from using the phone as our daily driver. The Titan II though easily blows us away.

We’ve staked our position that it’s the hardware that is the problem on the 900 and while we still believe that to be the case it does appear Nokia has finally figured out how to best optimize its software. Of course we’re talking about the un-released Tango OS and firmware update which we detailed yesterday.

For the last 24 hours we’ve been pouring over the camera, snapping pictures in different environments and we have come to this conclusion: this update dramatically fixes the Lumia 900’s camera…

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Internet Explorer 10 is good but is it the best?

Although Windows Phone 8 is still a few months away from release, it doesn’t mean we can’t start to gather information about it or one of its main new features: Internet Explorer 10.

The new browser was revealed back at the Summit in June and it will match the desktop component found in Windows 8 Desktop, due in late October. Featuring a new JavaScript engine, better performance, twice the HTLM5 compatibility, advanced privacy features and optional data-compression, the browser should really be a step up for consumers.

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Talk.to, the popular cross-platform messenger, is on its way to the Windows Phone Marketplace. According to its download page, the Windows Phone app is "coming soon". Talk.to enables users to send messages using a number of third-party services. Facebook, Google Talk, and more are supported. Should you enjoy using the big screen, native desktop clients for both Windows and Mac are available, as well as use via a web browser.

Talk.to states on the website that it offers free SMS for both sending and receiving. Group messaging and read / delivered notifications are also present. Using Live Tiles, the simplistic typography look and feel, and toast notifications, we're pretty excited to see what the team can do on the Windows Phone platform. More apps is never a bad thing either.

Currently available for both the iPhone and Android smartphones, it'll be great to see such a solution on Windows Phone.

Source: Talk.to; thanks, windowsphoneapps, for the heads up!

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Nokia Netherlands has confirmed with WhatsAppen, a dedicated WhatsApp website, that an update for the Windows Phone app is well on its way. This is to follow the mysterious disappearance of WhatsApp, which is now set to private and is unavailable to those who do not have it installed.

It was only a few days ago when we first covered the disappearance of WhatsApp from the Windows Phone Marketplace, and were later contacted by the WhatsApp team who denied reports suggesting this pull was due to security issues. Unfortunately, they were unable to inform us exactly why the app was set to private, but it shouldn't matter in the next 48 hours as that's when Nokia has stated the app will return with the update.

We'll fire up a quick announcement when the app is once again available on the Marketplace.

via: WhatsAppen; thanks, Dennis, for the tip!

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Listen up UK people. If you fancy picking up a Windows Phone then it may just be the right time to do so. Carphone Warehouse dropped me an email today to announce that their Smart Deal of the week features the Nokia Lumia 710. From now until next Thursday (16th August) you can pick up the Lumia 710 for only £7.50 per month on a two year contract and the phone has no upfront cost - bargain!

For your money you will get 100 minutes per month, 5000 sms and 250MB of data per month. While this offer may not be of interest to heavy users it certainly could be tempting for those of you on a budget. Could Carphone Warehouse be trying to tempt the British teenagers away from their beloved BlackBerry smartphones?

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AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 with the 8779 Tango update

Well after biting the bullet and factory-resetting our Lumia 900 with a ROM flash, we managed to update our glossy-white AT&T Lumia 900 to the official Tango update. That update is sitting in stand-by on Nokia’s servers, presumably waiting for AT&T to give the go to push out to the Zune servers so the rest of you can update.

Although you can manually do this yourself using a third-party program called Nokia Care Suite, you will factory-flash the phone meaning the device will be completely wiped—no saved games, no saved photos. In that regard, you may be best served by just waiting a few days (weeks?) for it to hit Zune where you can just update the phone and keep everything.

In the meantime, we sacrificed for your knowledge. In turn you can watch our video hands on after the break for our thoughts on the update in addition to our mini-review...

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Prepare to say farewell to Metro UI

Microsoft has decided to leave the 'Metro' branding for its new user interface on the battlefield with Metro AG and work on a fitting replacement. The European retailer has reportedly claimed the term "Metro" as trademark, which has led to the software giant looking at alternatives. According to ZDNet sources, Microsoft will be using 'Windows 8' instead. Metro is dead. Long live Windows 8, or so it seems.

We had a number of interesting suggestions from our readers (almost 500 comments on a previous article) who took a 15 minutes time-out to think up effective and ingenious replacements. There were some humorous ideas as well as plain awesome, but Windows 8 certainly wasn't at the top of the list by any means. We checked through all comments and even started up a poll for readers to vote for their favourite Metro replacement.

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Nokia has finalized the Tango ROM + firmware for the AT&T Lumia 900

We’re in the finally stages of waiting for AT&T and Nokia to push out the much anticipated ‘Tango’ update for the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. Windows Phone ‘Tango’ will feature improvements to MMS including multiple messages and audio file support in addition to other minor changes. In addition, the inclusion of new firmware from Nokia should allow some of Nokia’s exclusive apps like Counters and Contact Share to finally work as well as flip-to-silence and other bug fixes and enhancements.

The information comes via Navifirm+ which shows uploaded files to Nokia servers. There we can clearly see the 8779 update (slightly higher than the 8773 OS on some Windows Phones) with the AT&T naming in the files.

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Nokia has reached an agreement to sell its Qt app development tools unit to Digia as it focuses on Windows Phone 8 and its future partnership with Microsoft. Nokia will be placing all its eggs into one basket and will be pushing its next line of Windows Phones harder to continue the increase in platform shipping and sales figures.

Purchasing the Qt technology back in 2008, Nokia provided its developer community with tools to write apps for both Symbian and MeeGo devices, but the manufacturer has since halted expansion on both platforms, favouring its partnership with Microsoft and the Windows Phone operating system.

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A little bit of a hubbub is making the rounds this morning of Nike+ supposedly "announcing" a companion app for Windows Phone for the new Kinect game coming this holiday October 30th.   

But of course we knew about this way back in June during E3 when Nike released the first trailer and literally showed a huge Nokia Lumia with the Nike+ app flowing through the pivot screens.

So why the excitement? Blame it on the internet's short-term memory and a slightly revised ad coming out last week.

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One of the “forgotten” phones on T-Mobile seems to have been the awesome and site favorite HTC Radar. We say that only because it has yet to receive the 8773 ‘Tango’ update like a lot of other Windows Phone, including its non-branded international counterpart.

We’ve now had two reports coming in noting that replacement phones for the Radar have ‘Tango’ in ROM:

  • OS version: 7.10.8773.98
  • Firmware revision number:1750.0602.40602.531

There’s no word of course when or if T-Mobile will push out the update for the rest of you who still have working Radars but we think it’s a positive sign that fresh-from-the-factory versions are coming with a T-mo approved new ROM.

Although Tango is a minor update, it does feature such things as multiple MMS messaging and other minor improvements to the user experience in addition to the optimized new firmware from HTC to fix any other performance issue that may be nagging users.

We checked our Zune Desktop and did not notice any awaiting updates (even when we “forced” it using the Wi-Fi trick) so don’t get too excited yet. We’ll try to find out more though so keep your fingers crossed in the meantime. Thanks, Andre for the photo and ICMIAMI05, for the info

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Does the name HexaLines ring any bells to veteran Windows Mobile owners? It should if you are crazy for competitive mobile games. HexaLines was a strategy game that saw players filling up as many paths as possible. Starting from the centre Hexagon, players are tasked with adding more hexagons to expand the available path for his or her colour.

Playing against either AI or friends, the game can get relatively busy on-screen with a number of ways to attack (or be attacked by) the enemy. Rotating the next available hexagon and strategically placing it to either cut off an enemy's flow or pour your own colour into their line is key to survival.

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Brazilian Windows Phone owners have always complained about the lack of games (including Xbox Live titles) available for the platform, and rightly so. The Brazilian government has strict regulations that require video games (or any 'game') to be certified by its own ratings system, which has proven to heavily delay the release of said games to the Windows Phone Marketplace for owners in the region.

We previously looked at Microsoft adding a batch of 300 titles to increase available content on the Marketplace, but still numbers dwindled compared to other regions. Today, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice filed a statement that plans were in place for games to be certified by distribution companies themselves. 

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As folks ‘in the know’ know, updating a platform’s Marketplace/app store is a challenging and laborious thing. Regular occurrences like publishing the latest Xbox Live game and updating the Deal of the Week might seem (to simple laymen) like things that could be easily set up in advance, but that is not the case at all. If you need proof, just notice how the Windows Phone Marketplace hasn’t updated yet. Challenging, I tell you!

All sarcasm aside, these late updates happen from time to time, most recently in June when Fling was scheduled to launch. Today’s delay means Sally’s Spa is not available just yet, much to my dismay (the last game was seriously fun, naysayers). Nor do we have a new Deal of the Week. Interestingly enough, last week’s sale, Need for Speed: Undercover actually ended on Monday, well before the scheduled end time of Wednesday morning. More evidence that running a Marketplace is super hard? You tell me.

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Windows Live Essentials has been part of most Windows Users standard installation for many years now. This familiar and ‘essentials’ set of applications does much to make Windows come to life as a useful productivity tool. Providing photo editing, movie making, blogging, email, synchronising and instant messaging apps, ‘Essentials’ forms a solid backbone for basic computing throughput when using Microsoft operating systems.

Whereas a certain other well-known fruit themed OSX has the luxury of these types of applications being built in, Microsoft decided after Vista to detangle these common apps from their OS. In part to make future updates easier to deliver and in part due to avoid any undue and potentially messy encounters with anti-trust bodies. So what’s the skinny on Essentials 2012? 

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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has published the profile for upcoming Windows Phone 8 on its website, which reaffirms what has been previously extracted through scouring the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK. According to the profile listing, Apollo will support the transfer of files between smartphones.

Moving up from Windows Phone 7.5 both the headset profile and serial protocol are missing from the specification read out, while Audio/Video Remote Control and Audio/Video Control Transport Protocol are sporting new versions, 1.4 and 1.3 respectively. To top everything off, it's Bluetooth 3 and not the latest version 4, which the Apple iPhone 4S already features.

Hopefully we'll be able to see Bluetooth in action soon with upcoming Windows Phone 8 hardware.

Source: Bluetooth SIG, via: WMPU

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