Windows Phone News

There's no shortage of those with creativity in the Windows Phone universe but here's one that will surely blow you away.

Musical talent Matt Oglesby stitched together this 'Metro' song using nothing but his Nokia Lumia 800 and some free music apps found on the Marketplace. The result? After two hard days he cobbled together what you see and hear above. Color us impressed.

Head to Matt's site to get the full skinny on how he mixed everything. Let's see if anyone else can match him and maybe we can get a Metro Holiday album started. For those curious, here is what he used for Windows Phone apps found in the Marketplace:

Source: mjomusic.co.uk; via 1800PocketPC

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One of the main reasons so many of us like Windows Phone is because the UI design is not only unique but equally mesmerizing. From Windows Media Center to Zune HD to Windows Phone, the Metro UI lineage is as clear as the subway signs it's based on.

The popular and influential business magazine Fast Company has named the Design Lead for Windows Phone, Jeff Fong, #81 in their 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2012. Not only is that a heck of an honor it's a telltale sign of the continued influence Metro is having on the mainstream, something that we'll see a lot more of when Windows 8 drops this fall. From the Fast Company entry for Fong:

"Airports may be frustrating, but give them this: "The signage is so clean, pure, and direct, it helps you navigate a very complicated environment," Jeff Fong says. "I wondered, Can we apply that same approach to designing our user interface?" His team culled photos from London's Heathrow and designed the smartphone's software--with its animated, colored tiles, and straightforward imagery--based on the signs' typography and simplicity."

Over at the Windows Phone Blog, they get behind the scenes with Fong and ask quite a few questions on design and what he sees as the future. Quite the interesting read both for his insight and for the fact that we get to put a face on one of the team that has brought us the fresh UI experience to our mobile phones.

A hearty congratulations to Mr. Fong!

Source: Fast Company and the Windows Phone Blog

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Canada has sort of been slow on getting into Windows Phone not due of course to the consumers but rather carrier reluctance. While the Lumia 900 is available on Rogers there hasn't been too much love for Nokia on Mobilicity until today.

The Lumia 710 (also on WIND), one of our favorite Windows Phones, is now available for $249.99 which seems to be a fairly good deal to us (though we'll let you weigh in in comments).

The Lumia 710 (see our review) features a 3.7" ClearBlack LCD screen, 5MP camera and physical front keys making it quite the unique bird amongst Windows Phones these days. It also features 8GB of storage, a zippy 1.4GHz CPU and a moderate 1300mAh battery.

While many think the 710 is not as fancy as the 800 or 900 (a fair point) it still has amazing ergonomics, great audio and is quite stylish with swappable back covers. In short, we often use it over the just as solid HTC Radar.

Read the full presser after the break or head to Mobilicity to check it out.

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We've heard from a few folks that their $100 credit for their Lumia 900 has not been applied to their AT&T account and now we may have an answer. While rare, there seems to be a reason that WinSource has stumbled upon.

In essence, if you bought the phone at full price and didn't use an upgrade (or new activation) then the credit won't be applied to your account. The reason being Nokia doesn't "know" that you bought and activated the phone on your account. While odd it sort of makes sense because for all they know, you bought the phone and sold it on eBay or sent it overseas.

The problem seems to be easily resolved by simply calling AT&T and double checking. In this instance AT&T verified the phone was on the account and applied the $100 credit which was a nice gesture.

The $100 credit was offered by Nokia (via AT&T) to those who purchased their Lumia 900s before April 21st due to a connectivity issues with a small number of devices.

Anyone else having problems getting the credit applied to their account?

Source: WinSource

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While we're expecting Windows Phone 8 to be available later this year, Israeli technology website Techit has reported that Nokia are planning to release "Apollo" smartphones before 2012 is up, and the next major update for Windows Phone is slated for a June rollout. The website is citing a Nokia representative, who is also quoted to have mentioned full Hebrew support in the next version of Microsoft's mobile operating system.

As well as the release of Nokia hardware, and the support for Hebrew, the Nokia rep also reaffirmed June as the month for Windows Phone 8, but we should take these quotes with a grain of salt. The burning question on consumer minds is whether or not their current hardware will be upgradable to the next version of the OS. Unfortunately, we're still unable to confirm either way, but we expect concrete information to be released soon enough.

Samsung has also been reported to be looking at "Apollo" to release a number of devices to tackle Nokia, and even Acer has been thrown into the light with the rumours of the manufacturer working on a Windows Phone 8 QWERTY slider. We expect to hear more details unwrap as time goes on, especially with upcoming June Windows Phone Developer Summit and Nokia World 2012, which we will certainly be covering.

What do you guys think? June too soon for Apollo?

Edit: A more likely and conservative reading of the source would suggest June is ripe for the beta and SDK but not a proper, formal release of the entire OS. That still looks likely for late fall.

Source: Techit.co.il (Bing translate)

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Own a Lumia 900 and have a spare 15 minutes? Why not fill out a Nielsen web survey for Lumia 900 Windows Phone customers, which could pocket you a $200 Amazon gift card. The 4G Windows Phone has been taking the states by storm, surpassing all expectations and selling faster than Nokia could produce which led to a number of delays, not just within the U.S. but around the world too.

Have you been happy with your Nokia Windows Phone, or have all the problems taken their toll? Be sure to check the survey out, but note that Facebook connectivity is required.

Source: Nielsen (Lumia 900 survey), via: @TheRomit; thanks @aharpaz for the heads up!

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TrueContext Mobile has announced that its ProntoForms (website) mobile business service now supports Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. The app, which is now available on the Marketplace, enables business employees to do away with paperwork and use smartphones to fill out forms while on the move and not in the office. Major platforms are already supported, including Android, BlackBerry, iOS and webOS.

TrueContext’s CEO Alvaro Pombo had the following to comment on the platform launch:

"ProntoForms from AT&T is one of our most popular mobile applications for businesses," said VP of advanced mobility solutions at AT&T, Chris Hill. The easy to use, yet highly scalable functionality of the application has been of interest to many different types of companies, from one person in operations using it for construction project cost estimates to large enterprises using it for facility management inspections, merchandising audits and insurance adjustments."

Text and numeric inputs include the following:

  • Drop downs and data source lookups
  • Signature Capture
  • Barcode Scanning
  • Photo Capture
  • Date/Time Selection & Stamps
  • Geostamps
  • Calculations
  • YouTube Video links

 

Service online portal feature list:

  • Organise FormSpaces by project, region, and department
  • Upload CSV data sources
  • Manage user form permissions
  • Configure Form E-mail Notifications
  • Plot Form Submissions on Google Maps
  • Chart your data questions and submission history
  • Export Form data into CSV data
  • Manage Users and Groups
  • Produce advanced activity reports

The features listed above are backed by further integration with Microsoft Office, cloud and management services including SharePoint and SkyDrive. The service as a whole improves productivity for employees, especially on Windows Phone with Microsoft's cloud infrastructure. Working while on the move is now that one step more convenient.

You can download ProntoForms from the Marketplace for free. Pricing for the server starts at $24/mo per user. 

via: ProactiveInvestors; thanks Gopalan for the tip!

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It would appear that the Nokia TV app has been released in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Finland's Windows Phone Marketplace that is.

Based on earlier information the Nokia TV app will tie into local television channels, have the ability to stream shows over wifi or data connection, and videos can be downloaded to the device for offline viewing.

Not having any hands on with the app, we'll defer to any of our reader's who have had a chance to download and try Nokia TV. It is our understanding the app isn't listed in the Nokia Collection just yet. You'll need to search by keyword, scroll down the list of New Apps or you could try this link to the Marketplace.  Again, Nokia TV is only available in Finland is available everywhere but features only Finnish TV.

After the break, check out a video walkthrough of Nokia TV that one of our readers tipped us on.  Sound off in the comments if you've tried Nokia TV and let us know what you think.

Via: Plaffo; Thanks, Dario and Danil, for the tips!

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Industry research firm Gartner just released its latest data on mobile phone sales for the first quarter of 2012. There are some interesting points to be pulled out of this report that I wanted to address.

Samsung dominates Android. Gartner’s data says that Korea-based Samsung shipped over 40% of all Android handsets last quarter. So that still leaves 60% of the market to other vendors, right? Yes, but according to Gartner none of these other vendors make up more than 10% of Android volume. None.

In terms of handset brands, Samsung is also now the #1 phone maker in the world, ahead of Nokia.

Nokia may have the #2 position in the market, but we need to remember that most of Nokia’s volume is based on the dying Symbian OS. Very little is based on its Windows-powered future at this point. So, considering that we’re looking at the death of the dumphone over the next few years, let’s look at smartphone vendors and volumes.

Samsung is the #1 player, having shipped 38 million smartphones. Most of these are Android powered, with a smaller number of Bada OS phones. Here’s how smartphone market share looks, by vendor, based on the Gartner data:

  1. Samsung with 26% market share
  2. Apple with 23%
  3. RIM with 7%

These are essentially the top 3 smartphone players right now. I realize that ZTE, LG and Huawei have a larger portion of the mobile market than RIM, but RIM is a pure play on smartphones whereas these three are not. Remember that other Android vendors have less than one quarter of Samsung’s volume.

 

What does this data mean to Windows Phone?

Back in late Feb, I wrote a post on Crackberry about how we’ll know if RIM is successful. In that article I suggested that, as the mobile phone market moves purely to smartphones, RIM could go from 3% market share to over 5%. I said they’ve got a shot at being the #4 player behind Samsung, Apple and Nokia (not necessarily in that order).

Although other vendors, such as HTC, have talked about building Windows Phone products, we all know that Nokia is the only true partner at this point. And it’s still early days in terms of understanding how this will all unfold.

Nokia’s big challenge is to migrate its customer base form a dying Symbian platform over to Windows Phone. That’s going to be a HUGE challenge in the developing markets, especially given the cost differential between cheap Symbian phones and expensive Windows powered phones. So it seems to me that Nokia could fall off the map here, ending up with much, much less market share than their current 19.8%.

Ideally, Microsoft would benefit form the support of more manufacturing partners. But if they can’t win more vendors over, they may as well buy Nokia and control their entire platform just as Apple and RIM do. For that matter, even Google is ready to fully control Android (via the Motorola acquisition) in the event that Samsung somehow moves to control its own platform.

I like Microsoft’s strategy of converging the user experience on mobile and desktop. It’s differentiated. Microsoft has always been a company who delivers great developer tools. Microsoft needs to win over developer momentum here, badly.

But, unfortunately, if either Microsoft of Nokia stumble here, the chances of Windows Phone becoming a dominant platform shrink significantly.

Nokia is still the # 2 global player in the mobile phone market. This is a good base on which to convert customers over to Windows Phones. But every quarter that Nokia bleeds share to the competition (mainly Android), the race gets much harder.

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It was only yesterday that we covered the availability of Metro^7, a custom ROM for the Lumia 710. Now we're pleased to announce another custom ROM has been published on the XDA forums - RainbowMod. This custom mod, by XDA Forum member lucifer3006, is based on Windows Phone "Tango" and is available in Spanish, French, Hungarian, Swedish, Czech, German, English US, Italian, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Portuguese (Portugal & Brazil), and Danish.

So what's featured in RainbowMod?

  • Full Unlock from UltraShot
  • Removed OEM applications (Nokia Drive, Maps, etc.)
  • Search key remapping
  • QuickLaunch menu for quick switching the state of WiFi, 3G, Flight mode, Power save, etc.
  • Ability to access file system via WiFi/USB
  • Integrated Live ID, DppImplant no longer needed, but the new key can also be banned
  • Orientation locker
  • Added many color themes
  • Easy installation xap from a browser or file manager
  • Added Google and Yandex search engines
  • xb0xmod cert for cab-updates
  • Cab-updatable
  • Lots of minor changes
  • Updatability via Zune (not guaranteed)

Check out the video below for a quick glance at the ROM.

Two versions are available, the full version and a 'lite' version that strips most languages (leaving English and Russian) and bundled apps away. As always, Windows Phone Central cannot take any responsibility for damaged Lumia 710s, especially if they startup Skynet.

Source: XDA, via: Plaffo

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To celebrate the 500,000 download milestone being reached for all published apps, the glƏƏk! developers have decided to unleash a number of special codes that can be used to unlock the full version of their Twitter client. This move is targeting those who are unable to pay for apps, which may be due to age requirements, carrier restrictions, or other factors preventing Windows Phone owners enjoying the full experience of glƏƏk!.

The team have decided to make it easy for users to own glƏƏk! for free, using special unlock codes (hashtags) that unlock the full version leaving the users able to purchase the app in the future (much like a donation) should they choose to do so when a different circumstance occurs. Today's unlock hashtag is "#wpcentralrocks", with future codes being posted on the @gleekthis Twitter account.

How does one enter the published codes?

  • Go to 'Support' in the app (make sure it reads "version 1.8")
  • Double-tap on the main glƏƏk! logo
  • Enter today’s “magic hashtag”

You can download glƏƏk! from the Marketplace as a trial and then use the special day codes to unlock the full version for free.

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Looks like there may be some good news for Nokia and Windows Phone after all, at least according to Kantar Worldpanel who has been accumulating sales of smartphones for the last 12 weeks across the globe.

The data suggests a strong increase in sales of Windows Phone in the United States where sales jumped from 1.9% in 2011 to 3.6% during the same time frame in 2012. What's more, that period for sales ends on March 18th which is a full 3 weeks before the AT&T Lumia 900 was available for purchase.

The increase in Windows Phone sales would mostly be attributable to the Lumia 710 on T-Mobile and the "Mango refresh" on AT&T with the Samsung Focus Flash, Focus S and HTC Titan making up the bulk of sales. Of course that 3.6% pales in comparison to Android (47.6%) and iOS (42.9%) during the same period though for the first time sales of Windows Phone outpaced RIM (3.2%) which is certainly a good sign.

World wide, Windows Phone also saw a large increase in Germany where Windows Phone has 6.2% sales (up from 2.9%). Great Britain and France all had sales at or near 3% while Spain and Australia were much lower at 1.1 and 1.6% respectively.

While these numbers are interesting, we're certainly more curious about the next batch of sales figures to see how the Lumia 900 helped sales in the US and the rest of the world.

Windows Phone certainly has a long road ahead but the OS may be finally breaking that glass ceiling from the last two  years.

Source: Kantar Worldpanel; via TechCrunch; image via Nokia

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While our Windows Phones are busy smoking the competition they may need something to blow away all that fiery aftermath, so it only makes sense to have a special fan for the occasion.

Microsoft Hong Kong has evidently commissioned a limited number of special portable fans just for these situations but they have a little trick up their sleeve. As you can see in the images above and the video below, when the fan runs an electric banner scrolls around the blades with "Windows Phone" and "Simply faster".

As we're fans of all things geeky, we're very impressed and think it's a brilliant little promotion tool.

Our friends at the Hong Kong site We Love Windows Phone (www.welovewp.hk) managed to get their hands on a shipment of these little bad boys and are planning on giving them out to some lucky people (and yes, worldwide shipment is an option). So you'll want to head to their site and maybe even give 'em a "Like" on their Facebook page to learn of the details as soon as they publish them.

Pretty cool Microsoft, pretty cool.

Source: We Love Windows Phone (HK) (Bing Translation)

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Hey, look at that. We actually noticed it this morning but it didn't register in our sleepy heads, but Bing's Social Search "Preview" is now available for those luckily enough to reside in the US. No, we're not sure why it's only US but perhaps it's more of a rollout thing to work out the bugs and quirks.

Anyway, if you head on over to bing.com you can hit the "Preview" button and you'll see the new login near the upper right of the screen. You now have the option to login with your Live ID credentials (we lost all of our Bing reward points when we created a new ID) and you can also login with Facebook. No Twitter or G+ just yet which is a bit of a shame, well at least for the former.

We haven't see the new pane layout just yet but perhaps it's just us (we're not big Facebook users) Our new layout is now live including the social bar to the right. You can see more on Bing's Social Search features here on their new sub-site: http://social.discoverbing.com/.

Thanks, ArtSooby, for the tip

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Should the Nokia Lumia 900 be not up your street, and if 4G LTE connectivity isn't a feature you're particularly bothered about, the HTC TITAN is a highly rated Windows Phone and could well be the right one for you. We reviewed this beast of a handset (and it's successor), which is also backed by strong reviews from AT&T customers.

AT&T's web store is listing the Windows Phone for $0.01 (with 2-year contract), a good snatch for anyone interested. Featuring a massive 4.7" LCD screen, 16GB storage, 8MP camera, and a 1.5Ghz chip, the TITAN is capable of handling whatever you decide to throw at the device.  While the penny sale is a very nice deal, unfortunately the off-contract is still stuck at $549.99.

Source: AT&T; thanks Rodney for the tip!

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Metro^7 is a custom Lumia 710 ROM built on the Tango release, and is now available over at the XDA developer forum. The author, XDA member vova1609, states that you need to have your Lumia 710 interop unlocked, but then you should be good to go with flashing. 

Some highlighted features:

  • Fully unlocked
  • Install XAPs using Internet Explorer
  • Bazaar pre-installed
  • Bluetooth File Transfer by DFT pre-installed
  • Exclusive wallpapers "metro ROCK"
  • Added tethering functionality
  • Deleted Nokia's apps (Nokia Music, etc.)
  • Added Google and Yandex as available search engines

As well as the ROM and included functionality, an exclusive pack of 'metro ROCK' wallpapers are included, featuring multiple designs to match the system theme. Please note that Windows Phone Central does not take any responsibility for any issues your device may develop using this (or any other) available ROM. Use at your own discretion.

Source: XDA, via: Plaffo

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Phew! We've been following the evolution of eBuddy XMS on Windows Phone since inception. The once ugly duckling app is now a beautiful and powerful alternative to the native Threads feature built into Windows Phone.

We're now hearing from the team that an update is propagating through the Marketplace, enabling 30-way group messaging across iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices! (If your friends are still rocking Nokia s40/s60 devices, they have to wait a little longer.)

eBuddy XMS is a free app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. We haven't gotten our hands on the update yet, but if you have, share your thoughts in the comments or on our forums.

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Nokia has released a press statement detailing the imminent Belgium launch of the Lumia 610, the manufacturer's most affordable low-end Windows Phone. It is expected to be priced at €249 (including VAT). Should you be on the lookout for a low-end Windows Phone to get you started, either the Lumia 610 or 710 fit the bill nicely, depending on what deals draw you in. The smartphone will be available in glossy white, magenta, cyan and black

Nokia has been present in the country previously promoting the Lumia family of Windows Phones with cupcakes being handed out, but if the Lumia 610 and 710 don't interest you, the Lumia 900 is also being stocked in the country for €599 at PDAShop.be.

Source: Nokia Belgium (Bing translate), PDAShop.be

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America's leading domestic hunger-relief charity Feeding America has ditched Blackberry support and is on its way to Windows Phone. The organization already makes use of Microsoft products including Office 2010 and Lync Server 2010, so the move makes sense with further integration possible while mobile. The Lync Windows Phone app and Office Hub are good examples of this. 

The move not only connects already utilised services, but the charity also calculated that savings could be found with the avoidance of costly annual server maintenance expenses. The cost reductions also hit devices with a 24% price drop per Windows Phone, with each smartphone improving access to information and services that employees rely on for productivity.

Kevin Lutz, vice president of Technology at Feeding America, had the following to comment on the Windows Phone adoption:

"Windows Phone provides a level of integration with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and Lync Server 2010 that are not available with the iPhone, iPad or Android."

A feel good Tuesday story. Check out the press release after the break.

Source: Microsoft; thanks Morris for the tip!

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Last month we broke the news that Philadelphia-based, Microsoft BizSpark featured startup AboutOne (website), a family organiser service, was set to launch an exclusive app for Windows Phone. Without repeating what we wrote previously, the service enables families to view information and personal details broken down in a digestible interface. The app is now available on the Marketplace.

The free app, backed by a tier-plan (2GBs free) cloud-based service, offers users a mobile companion to the AboutOne web interface. Functionality includes organising memories, todos and household paperwork in a single accessible location. The service builds on calendar and address book tools users are already using, enhancing both with document filing and reporting tools. It's a neat startup, that's for sure.

Of course, there's much more than what we've covered, so be sure to give AboutOne a look over should you need something with similar functionality. You can download AboutOne for free from the Marketplace.

via: Windows Phone Blog; thanks Rodney for the tip!

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