Windows Phone News

Windows Phone Hacker has published an announcement on the blog detailing the version 1.0 release of Folders for Windows Phone, a homebrew app that enables users to create folders for apps, and more. We previously looked at the app while it was in development, starting off as a concept that took off with community interest.

Some notable changes in version 1.0:

  • Bug fixes / UI changes
  • One application for all - enable root privileges for application selection, otherwise Marketplace searching will be used
  • Added tilt effect in folders
  • Pin folders to your start menu (root only - experimental)

Check out the video below for a quick introduction. You can download Folder for Windows Phone from the Windows Phone Hacker website.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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It's Sunday, which means it's time for the WPCentral Windows Phone summary of the week. In this weekly recap we cover the news that matters most to you and combine all the headlines into one digestible article. But before we head into the summary itself, we've got a few WPCentral related headlines to advertise. First up is our Windows Phone community. The forums is a superb place to meet other owners and join in the latest hot topics.

After purchasing your shiny new Windows Phone; what apps are worth downloading for photo editing and whatnot? Our George Ponder takes a look at the top photography apps for your handset. Episode 144 of the WPCentral Podcast has gone live, which has our Daniel Rubino, Jay Bennett, and Rafael Rivera discussing stormtroopers and the cloud. Enough of us, head on past the break for the full summary.

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We are taking a look at some of this week’s new applications posted in our Applications Spotlight forum. What are these spotlight forums? They are our forums area we dedicated to developers. It’s a place for developers to pimp their new apps.

Gym PocketGuide - 70+ workouts all with HQ guides from Bodybuilding.com - This is what Dominic_W has to say about his app:

“Hey everyone, I recently found a passion for making WP7 apps so I thought why not combine it with my other interest, going to the gym. I wanted to make a quality app for fellow users so I contacted Bodybuilding.com to seek permission to use their high quality workout images (which I received).”

This is a nice app. It includes Programs for different body types, workouts for target areas and even includes stretches to help you get warmed up. You’re going to be listening to Zune music while you work out, right, so why not have an app on your phone to help you with your training?

AppVegas, a new marketplace browser/app finder! - Now this is a fun title. It puts the Windows Phone Marketplace on a slot machine that pays off every time. You shake your phone to start the fun. Then the app gives you a not so random app selection from the Marketplace where you can then tap on the selected app to get more information or shake again to get something else. This app is a fun way to search the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is what SelesGames has to say:

“We released a new app just a couple days ago, it's called "AppVegas" and it is a fun way to find apps and games for Windows Phone. The idea for the app was inspired by UrbanSpoon on the iPhone (for those who haven't used it, UrbanSpoon uses a slot machine interface to find local restaurants). We've *coughstolencough* that concept and used it for finding WP apps and games - a more noble cause if you ask us! Please try it out and let us know what you think!”

Right Size for WP7 - This app added to the Spotlight by Krestor costs $.99 in the Windows Phone Marketplace and it does have a trial version. This app has an easy to use interface as you just pick a flag for your country then the flag for the country you are buying clothes in (Odd, it seems that I am larger in every other country in the world) Krestor has this to say about their application:

“Right Size is a clothing size conversion tool supporting US, UK, European, Japanese and Russian standards. If you cannot take your body measurements right now, you can enter a size you know and the application will convert it into all global size standards. With Right Size, a trip abroad, online shopping or buying a surprise gift for your significant other will be so much easier!”

These are just some of the applications posted this week in our Applications Spotlight forum. There are hundreds more available for you to check out and even give the developer some direct feedback.

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Despite being the phone of choice for a few of us here at WPCentral, the HTC Titan II on AT&T with 4G LTE, a 4.7" screen and 16MP camera has not been the hottest selling phone. Due in part HTC all but ignoring it (from a marketing standpoint) and it largely being overshadowed by the "hero" Nokia Lumia 900, the Titan II may go down in history as the least appreciated Windows Phone.

So it's a bit surprising to see it backordered on Amazon Wireless with a 8 to 9 day wait on the phone where it is selling for $150 on a two year contract, $50 less tha direct from AT&T.

Perhaps sales are better than expected? Probably not. The phone is sitting at #76 for top selling across all carriers and #23 on AT&T indicating that the device is not exactly pushing massive inventory.

Our cynical speculation on the matter is that HTC may be redirecting production capacity towards their Android phones, especially their One X and One S series which are gaining a lot of positive feedback and seeing high demand. Of course it could also be Amazon Wireless just not stocking properly although that seems to be along wait for something just out of stock.

For now, if you want the Titan II you'll have to either get it from AT&T direct where it is still in stock or wait for Amazon Wireless to get in a new shipment.

Source: Amazon Wireless

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This morning, Microsoft announced a new partnership with Barnes & Noble for their eReader business having settled the previous litigation on claimed patent infringement.

The new subsidiary of Barnes & Noble called Newco (not the real name, just a placeholder to be determined later) will focus on the digital and college business of the company. Microsoft is investing $300 million into the venture and will maintain a 17.6% equity stake in the new company.

Of course it should come as no surprise that a NOOK eReader will be one of the first priorities of the nw partnership with a client for Windows 8 in the works. Barnes & Noble commented on the newly announced deal noting:

“The formation of Newco and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft’s investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business.”

Although lots of pundits like to criticize Microsoft for "patent trolling" others would claim that the company is looking out for their shareholder's interest by defending what they see as their intellectual property. Despite this, some saw in B&N as standing up to Microsoft, fighting them publicly in the matter. Instead, B&N made a deal with the devil perhaps even angering Google along the way (Android powers the new Nook eReader).

Either way, Microsoft's strategy seems to be paying off for although B&N does not have to admit any guilt for the claimed violations, they clearly were forced to the table for what looks to be an exciting deal for both companies. In fact, this could be the lifeline the fading book retailer needs in its life and death struggle with adversary Amazon.com.

No mention of a Windows Phone client has been announced which has been missing since Windows Mobile and the HTC HD2. However, rumors suggest that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are based on the same kernel and have large amounts of overlapping code. As a result the announcement of a Windows 8 client may in fact be a dual one for Windows Phone.

Regardless, you can imagine B&N will be getting some favorable treatment from Microsoft in the future. Something that Apple and Google will have trouble in matching. For this, we' very excited by this deal (even if we're Kindle fans here).

Full press release after the break...

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This morning LG Electronics reported to the Korea Herald that they have no immediate plans to introduce new Windows Phone to the market. Instead LG are focusing on Android for their future smartphone releases noting that "The total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure."

The company claimed that the partnership between it and Microsoft remains good but the plan to focus on Windows Phone, announced in 2009, has not worked out for them financially. LG ended up losing money for seven straight quarters and only recently turned a profit. As a result they lost a lot of market share, especially with HTC and Samsung having a winning portfolio of Android devices.

Regarding Windows Phone specifically, a spokesperson for the company told the Herald that they will “continue research and development efforts” on Microsoft's mobile OS.

This news comes on the heels of an announcement of Steve Ballmer headed to Seoul Digital Forum on May 22 where he will be meeting with various business and developers. Though LG claims to not know his business schedule the implication is that Ballmer may meet with LGE for some damage control regarding their recent smartphone decision.

One can claim that LGs offerings for Windows Phone have been extremely lackluster with only the LG Quantum (review), limited to AT&T and a few regional carriers, showing any real innovation. And despite being only one of two hard-keyboard Windows Phone devices it never sold well anywhere. Even the LG Jil Sander phone was a bomb having its price constantly cut, in fact when we got our hands on it we panned the phone as feeling cheap and unexciting.

While prototype devices like the E740 remain floating around (we'll have our mini-review of it later today), the phone is a far cry from anything interesting and would do nothing for LG or Windows Phone were it to be released. It's one unique feature, NFC, has very little support in most major markets in 2012.

Clearly LG is facing stiff competition, poor R&D and they are feeling the pressure from the Microsoft-Nokia partnership which they commented on in 2011. Perhaps they will use this to leverage a favorable deal from Microsoft if Ballmer meets with them later in May. While it could look bad to lose a major OEM like LG, we're not exactly too saddened either.

Clearly Nokia, HTC and Samsung are the future of Windows Phone.

Source: Korea Herald

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If you have a few minutes you can watch the video above of reader Oli Gill bravely modifying his Nokia Lumia 800 to enable wireless charging ala Palm/HP and their Touchstone charger.

There is no doubt that any of us, especially with the more high-end Lumia 900 would love to have this feature in our Nokia Windows Phone. In fact, we wonder if and when Nokia will take the big plunge and be the first Windows Phone OEM to do this officially. After all, if there was one hardware company that could do this on a wide scale it'd be Nokia (though HTC and Samsung are fully capable too).

We're not going to lie though, this mod is quite advanced and we're pretty sure we won't have the time or skills to do this. But we also know a lot of our audience is highly educated and love to do things like this, so for you folks, here you go!

Oh and Oli, if you ever want to start a small side business, we're sure many of us would gladly send you our Lumias to have this warranty-voiding hack. Anyone else?

Thanks, Oli, for the tip and video

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This week in our Windows Phone developer interview series we're joined by David Hamilton, CTO and Co-Founder of Pepper. We took a quick look at Pepper from a recent Windows Phone User Group meet-up and were intrigued by both the idea behind the app and the vision for future cross-platform development.

So what's the deal with Pepper and how did it come to be? We threw Hamilton a set of questions for an insight into not only app-specific development, but how the team views Windows Phone against competitors. Head on past the break for the full interview.

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While the Nokia Lumia 900's release in the U.K. has been slightly delayed, we're seeing signs that the May 14th date is holding firm. The black Lumia 900 has popped up on Amazon.co.uk for pre-order. The Windows Phone is being offered Sim-free for £479.99 (about $780 USD). The cyan or white models of the Lumia 900 are not listed.

The shipping information notes that the Lumia 900 is due to be released on May 14, 2012.  We're not sure if the phones will ship on the 14th but delivery in the U.K. is free with Amazon's Super Saver Delivery. 

Amazon U.K. joins Clove in offering the Nokia Lumia 900 for pre-orders. Clove's pre-order price for the unlocked Windows Phone is a little more attractive at £458.40 (about $745 USD) which is down from the original price of £486. Clove is still indicating the first stock of the Lumia 900's is expected on May 16, 2012.

Originally slated for a April 27th release in the U.K., the Nokia Lumia 900 was pushed back to May 14th due to high demand in the North American markets. While delays are never comfortable with consumers, for those waiting patiently for the Lumia 900 we think you'll find the new Windows Phone was well worth the wait.

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Hot on the heals of the Smarter Apps Sweepstakes over on Facebook, another giveaway has surfaced. The Windows Phone Skype Giveaway is also being held over on Facebook and gives you a chance to win either an HTC Titan II or Nokia Lumia 900. Ten Windows Phones will be given away.

Just go to this Facebook page, watch the Skype video and then complete the entry form. You have until June 7, 2012 at 11:59PST to enter. Unfortunately we couldn't find the fine print so we don't know if you can enter daily or if you only get one entry.  Our guess, one entry per Facebook account per day but we could be wrong.

Oh...and the contest is only open to residents of the United States and District of Columbia (don't hate the messenger).

Good luck everyone and if you win will you choose the Titan II or Lumia 900?

Thanks, Ruslan, for the tip!

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We all know the story surrounding the connectivity issues with the Nokia Lumia 900, right? The Lumia 900 had a software bug that caused data connections to drop and in the span of a week Nokia acknowledged the problem, worked up a fix and distributed it ahead of schedule.

Customers had the choice of swapping out their Lumia 900 for a new unit or simply updated their existing Lumia 900 with the fix. To help compensate customers (who bought the Lumia on or before April 21st), Nokia also threw in a $100 credit.  The credit was scheduled to be applied within the next sixty days according to a reminder text message from AT&T.

Just as Nokia wasted no time rolling out the update, they aren't wasting any time rolling out the $100 credit.  We're getting reports from several readers that they are already seeing the credit showing up on their AT&T account. I just checked mine and sure enough, it's there.  

Kudos once again to Nokia for promptly addressing the problem, fixing it and crediting our accounts.  Is everyone else seeing the credit?  We've got a forums discussion going on about the credit rolling out.  Feel free to chime in there or in the comments below. 

Thanks to everyone for tipping us on this!

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A big day for those living in the Philippines as the Nokia Lumia 610 has finally gone on sale there making it the first country for the intro-level device. This is also after the Lumia 710 and 800 went on sale there last weekend. The price of the Lumia 610 is set for 11,000 PHP or about 260 USD which comes across as a fairly competitive offering and could sell well at that price.

The Nokia Blog was on hand in Manila and the Nokia store looked well decked out. And according to Mark Guim the staff were courteous and knowledgeable as well, setting a good example.

The Lumia 610 gets rid of the ClearBlack AMOLED screen of the 800 and 900 and goes for the cheaper 3.7" TFT-style to help bring down the cost. It also features 256MB of RAM (running Windows Phone "Tango") and a 800MHz CPU. Despite those low specs, it seems to perform very well and from our hands on with the device (after the break), we're just as impressed with it as the Lumia 710.

According to Mark, we can expect the Lumia 610 to land in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam in a few weeks. It's great to see Nokia entering these markets to help expand the Windows Phone base.

Head over to the source link to see some more photos of the Philippines launch.

Source: The Nokia Blog

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Co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, calls Windows Phone "Intuitive and beautiful"

We reported recently that co-founder of Apple and all around cool geek Steve Wozniak was looking to purchase a Nokia Lumia 900 (WPCentral review) The info came via his Twitter feed where he posted from Foursquare. At the time, he was waiting for the AT&T store to open to check out the flagship Windows Phone.

Since then, we haven't heard much. In fact, there was no confirmation that he had even purchased the device but as it turns out, he did and what's more, he loves it. Over at  aNewDomain.net, Dan Patterson, Todd Moore and Gina Smith not only caught up with "the Woz" but got him on tape talking about his experience with Windows Phone and the Lumia 900.

The Report: Tech News and Geek Culture, EP 002 - Steve Wozniak Interview by KoPoint

As it turns out, he carries around multiple Android phones and a couple of iPhones too and while he still ultimately prefers the iPhone (due to all the apps), he had nothing but praise for the Windows Phone OS and the Lumia 900. Here are a few choice quotes:

"Just for looks and beauty I definitely favor the Windows Phone over Android"

"....I'm just shocked, I haven't seen anything yet that isn't more beautiful than the other platforms"

"Intuitive and beautiful"

"it's makes me feel 'Oh my gosh, I'm with a friend not a tool'" (In regards to the animations and graphics)

"I just really like the experience and will be carrying the Windows Phone everywhere"

He also notes how apps look just "more beautiful than on Android or iPhone"

In short, the Woz is really enamored with the esthetics of the phone, the ease of use and just how the OS pops and slides everywhere. It's a strong endorsement although he does have the usual complaints including how you can't do speech-to-text everywhere like on iPhone or Android or the lack of a Siri-like tool for asking questions (although we have AskZiggy).

The Woz also still defaults to his iPhone but as you can hear in the audio above, the Lumia 900 will be going everywhere with him, which is more than he can say for Android.

It sounds like Microsoft and Nokia may have just received their next big endorsement. While there is still much work to do for the OS and on our hardware, we may have just scored one of the most symbolic victories in quite some time.

Update: Steve Wozniak responded in comments on aNewDomain to clarify a few things. It's a little hilarious too.

"Wrong. iPhone is my favorite phone. I did give my opinion that the Windows 7 phone had superior visual appearance and operation cues that were also more attractive. In my opinion, it sets the mark for user interface. I would recommend it over my Android phones given that it doesn’t yet have the breadth of apps. I surmise that Microsoft hired someone from Apple and put money into having a role in the UI and appearance of some key apps. I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at MS due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things."

Source: The Report at aNewDomain.net; Thanks, jedi12, for the tip and Vygantas, for the new quote

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Microsoft and Nokia's Lumia 900 Windows Phone marketing juggernaut doesn't look like it's slowly down.  The latest chapter of Rolling Thunder appears over on Facebook with a chance to win one of ten Lumia 900s in the Smarter Apps Sweepstakes.

To enter just hop on over to this Facebook page, choose your favorite apps (WPCentral is listed in the News Category), type why you like these apps and share your choices (optional).

The sweepstakes has ten entry periods that span from April 23rd to June 30th. Entries will only be eligible for the entry period for which they are received and participants are limited to 25 entries per authorized Facebook account holder per day. Oh and the sweepstakes is open only to residents of the U.S., D.C., and Puerto Rico (don't blame the messenger).  You can find the rest of the fine print at the bottom of the Facebook page.

Good luck to all who enter and let us know if you get lucky.

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The cyan Nokia Lumia 900 is joining the white and black models as being available for order from AT&T.com .  Can't really say the cyan model is really back in stock because the Windows Phone is listed as "will ship in 5-7 business days".

More than likely Nokia informed AT&T that the truck's ready to leave the Nokia assembly line to head over to the AT&T Warehouse. Which usually takes a few days.

While not the most ideal of situations, it is progress. For those not familiar with the Lumia 900, it's available at AT&T for $99.99 after two-year contractual discounts or $449.99 off contract.

AmazonWireless has the cyan Lumia 900 listed for $49.99 after discounts and $449.99 off contract. Downside with AmazonWireless is that they are listing the cyan model as "Usually ships in 1 to 3 weeks".

Thanks, mamacita42, for the tip!

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Ben (the "PC Guy" and "Mass Windows Phone Marketing Agent") Rudolph is returning with a slightly different attempt to give away Windows Phones. Should you desire what we'd assume to be a white Lumia 900, then you might be in with a chance of winning one (image / competition idea courtesy of Nokia For Us). Simply use your creative powers to create a suitable caption for the above photo, which sits the Nokia device next to a white bar of Dove soap.

How does one enter with their snazzy caption? Simply tweet your entry, adding the #captionthatlumia (click to view some of the entires already published) hashtag. The competition is running through until April 29th (11:59pm PT) when Rudolph will create a post on the Windows team blog announcing the winners. You can enter as many captions as you like, we look forward to reading yours. It's at least a refreshing change from the Smoked by Windows Phone campaign.

Source: Ben Rudolph (Twitter) via: GoWindowsGo; Thanks, Sam, for the tip!

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Sometimes we come across odd things on the internet, after all we frequent reddit and 4chan on occasion. This video certainly ranks up there for entertainment value as it features someone very infatuated with his Lumia 900 and who also likes to rip into Android.

The result is crass, debased, juvenile and at times spot on. We also laughed. Obviously, satire and off the wall humor is not for everyone and due to language, you'll want to watch this with headphones on. We're not sure if Microsoft or Nokia would want him as a spokesperson but the guy is a character.

Normally we wouldn't cover this, but our frenemies over at AndroidCentral posted it to troll their audience (talking about being crass) so we figured we had to share it as well.

Video after the break.

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A report by research firm Strategy Analytics shows that Samsung has surpassed Nokia to become the largest handset vendor in the world in terms of volume. In a quarter that saw a small three percent rise in mobile phone sales, Samsung captured 25 percent of the market. In the meantime, the struggling Finnish manufacturer Nokia's shipments decreased by 24 percent due to declining sales in emerging markets. Despite strong sales of their Lumia line of Windows Phone handsets, Nokia recorded a substantial Q1 loss of 3%, prompting Moody's to cut their debt rating to the lowest possible investment level.

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said, "Nokia's global handset shipments declined a huge 24 percent annually to 82.7 million units in Q1 2012. Volumes were squeezed at both ends, as low-end feature phone shipments in emerging markets stalled and high-end Microsoft Lumia smartphones were unable to offset the rapid decline of Nokia's legacy Symbian business. Nokia was the world's largest handset vendor between 1998 and 2011, for 14 years, before finally yielding top position to rival Samsung this quarter."

Fueled by strong sales in the United States and Japan, Apple nearly doubled its worldwide shipments from 18.6 million to 35.1 million. They are expected to grow even more in the second quarter, though the launch of Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S3 will likely slow Apple down a bit. Though things are currently rough for Nokia in the grand scheme, the Lumia 900 is selling like hotcakes.   With recent rumors of Verizon finally embracing Windows Phone, could we see a quick turnaround for the one-time king of the handset heap?

Source: Strategy Analytics; Via: MarketWatch

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There has been some confusion this morning surrounding a tweet that was published by the Italian LG Twitter account. The tweet in question was in reply to another user who queried whether or not the LG Optimus 7 would be receiving the upcoming Windows Phone "Apollo" update, which stated that the device would not be upgraded as confirmed by Microsoft.

Microsoft hasn't officially confirmed anything regarding the "Apollo" update, apart from app compatibility. LG has since published a follow up tweet explaining that the previous statement was made in error. It's still up in the air whether first and second generation Windows Phones will be updated to "Apollo", so we should all continue to await confirmation from the software giant.

Via: Plaffo

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