Windows Phone News

An unknown Samsung Windows Phone (SCH-S759) has been WiFi and Bluetooth certified. The device is reported to be CDMA compatible, which leads us to believe this smartphone could be a version of the recently announced Omnia M. Unfortunately, not much else is known about the handset with no other detail or specifications being listed, apart from a spotted agent string - Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows Phone OS 7.5; Trident/5.0; IEMobile/9.0; SAMSUNG; SCH-S759.

With the release of the Focus 2 and Omnia M, one could hope that Samsung is rising to the bar set by Nokia within the Windows Phone market. It's rumoured that this Samsung Windows Phone is set to head for China, probably to combat Nokia and the Lumia 800c, unless Sprint or Verizon is secretly set to unveil a device? We look forward to seeing some more details come to light in the near future, so stay tuned.

via: Unwired View, Blog of Mobile

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Big news for the Windows Phone platform today as Aviary announced their SDK is now available for developers, allowing the integration of their free, highly regarded and powerful photo tools for apps on Windows Phone.

What this means for developers - you'll now be able to insert into your application a powerful photo editor to greatly enhance user experience, all with very little effort.

What this means for consumers -  you'll soon see an array of apps that will allow you to edit, crop, enhance and tweak your photos before sending them out for the world, all at no extra cost

The Windows Phone Aviary SDK has the following features:

  • Redesigned SDK from the ground-up to take advantage of the Metro design principles of Windows Phone
  • The same, easy integration process: add our editor to your project in as little as 15 minutes, with just a few lines of code
  • Customizable color theme
  • Controllable output size based upon developer preferences — you decide what makes the most sense for your app or service
  • … Not to mention that Aviary for Windows Phone has all the standard features as the rest of our mobile SDKs

What's more, we're pleased to announce the following launch titles will have Aviary integrated into their apps very soon:

As you can see in the video above, Rowi is one of the first apps to be getting the Aviary SDK treatment. Though version 2.1 looks like the current app in every which way, the change occurs when you try to attach a photo. You now have the option to hop right into a sophisticated photo editor which allows you to manipulate everything including brightness, sharpness, add filters, stickers, text, cropping and more.

The photo is then saved and you can Tweet as usual all without having to ever leave the Rowi Twitter app. Did we mention how good the photos look too?

More info can be found at the Aviary Blog and developers can grab the SDK here right now.

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It was only last week we covered the news of Rabobank releasing a Windows Phone app for customers who use the platform. Now we've caught wind of SNS Bank also launching a Windows Phone app. Much like the app from Rabobank, this app enables users to check their account balances, manage funds between accounts, and contact the bank via phone and email.

Some highlighted features of SNS Bank:

  • Login with your SNS Bank digital code, providing extra security.
  • Balance your check payment, savings and investment accounts.
  • All credits and debits are displayed.
  • Transfer between your owned accounts with the digital code.
  • Transfer to external accounts with your digipass.
  • Use a provided Address Book.
  • Convenient access to contact SNS Bank by phone or email.

To be able to login on the app, you'll need your SNS Bank digital code. Expect to see more updates released later this year from the bank, including mobile PIN. They are listening to customers for future feature requests, so be sure to let your voice be heard on anything you'd like to see implemented. You can download SNS Bank from the Marketplace for free.

via: wp7.nl; Thanks, Mark, for the tip!

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Samsung only recently announced the Omnia M budget phone for Europe last week, and now we've got hold of a price tag for the smartphone. Italian store ePrice has listed the Omnia M for €294.99, and is targeting the Lumia 610 but Nokia has been able to bring down the prices of their lower-end Windows Phones substantially.

The Omnia M, to refresh the early waking cogs on this Monday morning, sports a 1GHz  CPU with a 4" Super AMOLED screen and 4GB of storage on board. It features HSPA at 7.2MBps. Still no word on availability as-of-yet, but we're sure more details will come to light soon. The device is slated for a European release.

Source:  ePrice.it, via: Plaffo

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It's another Sunday, which means it's another summary of the week time here at WPCentral. In this recap of the past 6 days, we harvest all the stories you may have missed that are worth reading up on. So make a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy the ride. As always, before we crack on with the summary itself we'll run through some WPCentral-related headlines. First up is a guide by our Daniel Rubino, which walks us through how we can get a new Live ID and keep all Windows Phone app / game purchases. Neat!

WPCentral member SpeedTouch hosted a Windows Phone meetup in St Louis and was a relatively good success. Faisal Iqbal got fed up of a problem many smartphone users find themselves hitting where sharing websites can prove to be quite an issue. He developed a small Javascript bookmark that can be loaded on you Windows Phone when browsing a website. This will then load a QR code that another smartphone can scan to open up that exact webpage. Ingenious.

Have you just purchased a shiny new smartphone running Microsoft's OS? Are you wandering how the company's cloud storage service SkyDrive integrates into the platform? We've got you covered with our introduction to SkyDrive guide. Episode 142 of the WPCentral Podcast is now live on website where we discuss Samsung, Nokia and more. On our community forum, we've introduced a new user group for residential developers to make use of their experience on our boards. Alas, that's enough of us, let's get into this summary.

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The popular and positively reviewed Nextgen Reader has recently been updated to version 3.0 with a number of improvements (support for Windows Phone "Tango"). The RSS app, fully supporting Google Reader, now sports faster startup time and the recently released update squashes a number of known bugs.

A tutorial is presented to the user once launching the app for the first time. This guide walks the user through a number of features and functionality present in Nextgen Reader. As well as the tutorial, this version of Nextgen Reader also features a new subscriptions view.

What else is new in version 3?

  • Both flat list & folder level navigation support in final update. That is folders -> list of feeds -> list of articles (in collapsed view)
  • Read it later now known as Pocket
  • New tutorial at startup
  • Improved startup time and performance
  • New subscriptions view
  • Collapse/expand folders from appbar menu
  • Show all/updated sources from appbar menu
  • Support for favicons
  • Articles list with filters on top (unread, all) similar to mail app
  • New: Mark items older than a day/week as read and sync
  • Save to Readability (settings -> accounts)
  • Pin 'All Items' or 'Starred' tile to start screen
  • New live tile option (based on phone theme)
  • Customize update mode per live tile e.g. images on front
  • Post link in status update (e.g. sharing to Facebook)
  • Many more improvements and bug fixes

A pretty large update, which appears to be the norm when it comes to this app. As well as synchronising your Google Reader account, the app also recommends other feeds that are separated into different categories. You can download Nextgen reader from the Marketplace for $2.49 (£1.49), with a free trial available.

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Here at WPCentral we appreciate developers as you folks are the future of Windows Phone--your hard work will define the future of the OS and we want you to succeed. With that in our thoughts, we are looking for ways to help so we are now offering a Developer User Group with added benefits.

We already have our Developer Spotlight area with Games Spotlight and Applications Spotlight forum. These areas are dedicated to putting the focus on Applications and Games submitted by developers.

We also have our Beta Test forum for developers to garner feedback from users about their upcoming title. Our army of testers love to take your apps to the brink of destruction in an attempt to help you make the best Windows Phone apps possible.

That’s not all that we have dedicated to developers. We also have our Software development and hacking areas which are open to the public for feedback and are a great place for those who are curious about application development to post questions.

We want to do more and we have a plan we hope will help. We are offering you an opportunity to join our Developer User Group. This group will have added benefits to help you develop, test, and promote your app. For instance we'll have a Developer's Hideout area hidden from other forum members just for you to have discussions with others in the group. Only developers with a published app will be allowed in this group. We will also be giving you your own group title with its own color so you will stand out in the Current Active Users list.

Are you excited yet? Want to know how to qualify? Just post in this thread, Developer User Group program, add a link to your published app and we will then add you to the group. We are also taking your suggestions, so if there is more we can do to help you let us know. If you have more questions or a comment, you can  just can send me (Dave Blake) a Private Message in our forums or hit me up on Twitter @Big_D5

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Manga Reader, a popular Japanese comic reading app for Windows Phone, has recently turned free - as in completely free with no advertising. Users are able to browse comics from multiple sources and download multiple chapters / titles. It's a full-featured client with favourites, orientation lock for reading in bed and zoom functionality, to name but a few features.

Some feature highlights of Manga Reader:

  • Multiple sources of manga series
  • Search titles on multiple sources
  • Set multiple chapters and title for download
  • Pause and resume download
  • Streaming of manga to read
  • Single or continuous viewer is available
  • Pinch and Pan to zoom
  • Double touches for quick zoom
  • Lock Screen feature to read in bed
  • Add manga to favourites and manage it
  • Library of manga for downloaded chapters
  • Recent list of viewed manga
  • Latest update from server as reference for manga update
  • Custom background of the application
  • Sort chapters in settings

Should you be interested in checking out Manga while on the move, you'll definitely need to have Manga Reader in your app arsenal. The offline viewing functionality gives the app an edge with expanding usage to commuting and when in roaming situations. You can download Manga Reader for free from the Marketplace.

Thanks, Jeremie, for the tip!

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YouTube Pro in disguise as SuperTube for Windows Phone

We reported last week that with Microsoft's new Marketplace policy enforcement, trademark complaints will be acted upon more quickly than before. As a result, all things Google are being pulled due to their use of terms like "YouTube", "Google", etc.

One of those apps was YouTube Pro made by Fast Code.

YouTube Pro was actually a re-launch of SuperTube, one of the original third party YouTube apps and one of the first to do HD and HQ video playback on Windows Phone. YouTube Pro superseded SuperTube, though Fast Code kept both up to date (each had a "pay" version in addition to free).

Now in a funny twist, YouTube Pro is gone from the Marketplace so the old SuperTube is back as their main app for video streaming. The app itself though looks exactly like YouTube Pro including the very Metro inspired UI.

There was a paid, ad-free version of the app but due to the YouTube Pro/Google complaint situation, developer Fast Code is now offering the paid version of SuperTube for free for a limited time. That means you can get some of the best YouTube features on Windows Phone not even for a nickel. Those features include some new stuff in version 2.3:

  • Lift restrictions of trial version on downloading and syncing videos
  • New Metro design
  • New channels page
  • New channel and message live tile. The front of channel tile will show the numbers of new videos. The back will show thumbnail of the newest video.
  • Add the subscription page after sign in on the main page
  • Fix bugs

That's on top of video downloading, video uploading to your account, HD and HQ video playback, comments, like/dislike and a Live Tile. What's not to like about this offer?

Go get SuperTube v2.3 for free here in the Marketplace. Remember, this is the paid version marked-down, so lock it in now for future updates.

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We ran across something interesting this afternoon where Romit Mehta over at Techie-Buzz noticed a Visual Voicemail prompt appear on his Nokia Lumia 800. Keep in mind that Visual Voicemail is supposed to be limited to AT&T's 4G LTE phones.

After entering the password, sure enough the Visual Voicemail page appeared on the Lumia 800's call screen. While it seemed promising, the voicemail page was stuck syncing new voicemail messages with no real functionality.

We tried this out on a Samsung Focus, Samsung Focus S and an HTC Titan and could not replicate Mehta's results. It could be a case where AT&T is testing the waters in select markets to offer Visual Voice Mail to non-LTE phones.  Then there's always the possibility a technician over at AT&T hit the wrong switch.

We really like Visual Voicemail and wouldn't complain a bit if AT&T did throw the switch and let non-4G LTE Windows Phones have this feature. Let us know below in the comments if you've seen Visual Voicemail pop up on your non-4G LTE Windows Phone.

Source: Techie Buzz; Thanks, Romit, for the tip!

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A lot of hay has been made over Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3/build 8773 of Microsoft's mobile OS. The update contains a lot of minor things and is mostly focused on compatibility with 256MB devices for emerging markets and low-cost Windows Phones.

Nokia is hard at work with updating their ROMs for all Lumia phones and in fact if you use Navifirm to check, the Lumia 710 and 800 are getting heavily populated with new Tango updates, presumably being readied for roll-out in June.

We grabbed one of those ROM, OS 8773 with firmware 12120 from Mexican carrier Telcel to see what it has on board. Presumably, these changes you see in the above video will also be on the Lumia 800 and 900 ROMs as well, so consider this a sneak peek. Here is what's new:

  • Call forwarding - forward your calls to a designated number for (1) all calls (2) when I don't answer (3) when I am busy (4) when my phone is turned off
  • Call waiting - enable/disable
  • SMS delivery confirmation* - on/off
  • MMS delivery confirmation* - on/off
  • SMS Character set - Reduced (no accents, standard SMS) or Full
  • Send MMS acknowledgement* - on/off
  • Internet Sharing (aka WiFi tethering)
  • Enhanced MMS - Send voice notes, multiple images, video
  • Nokia branded Marketplace icon

As you can see, some of those features are pretty great (especially Internet Sharing) but they're also not necessarily "must have" items either, making Tango a minor update, something we've been emphasizing for some time now. Still, Nokia has done a nice job here and we expect T-Mobile to roll this out sometime in June officially (just a guess).

Some of you may wonder if the OS feels any different (faster, smoother, etc.) and to our eyes, no, it feels exactly the same. Perhaps there are some optimizations here and there but we really didn't notice it. We should also note the MMS issues we had in the video are probably due to this not being a T-Mobile ROM and more over, Nokia pulled their Network app to be fixed  (it'll be back soon) so we can't configure our MMS gateway for T-Mobile.

If you have any questions, ask away in comments. And yes, we'll see about whipping up a tutorial on how loaded Tango on our T-Mobile phone for you 'leet hackrz out there.

* Items with asterisk were not covered in video

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Siri, the personal assistant found on the iPhone 4S, has been making headlines for Apple today, but for all the wrong reasons. The image above explains what's going on better than any words in this article. Should you happen to ask Siri "what's the best cell phone ever?", you'll be greeted with a surprising response. Not only does Siri choose a device that's not an Apple product, but it chooses the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. 

This result is produced by taking the mobile phone that's rated the highest by consumers and the cyan AT&T Lumia 900 just so happens to fit the bill. Siri found the above answer by using Wolfram Alpha, which lists the Windows Phone when visitors type in the same query. The launch of the Lumia 900 was met by an extremely high level of satisfaction from customers who purchased the handset, regardless of the issues that appeared.

We gave it a shot with Ask Ziggy to see what the Windows Phone Siri-like assistant thought of all this. Unfortunately, it appeared to be slightly smarter than Siri with leading us to a Bing SERP listing articles covering "top ten mobile phones", etc. Smart move Zig-meister. Smart move.

Does anyone find it even remotely humorous how the Windows Phone community (and tech media) have jumped on this story? At the end of the day, Apple can take something away from this - Siri has proven to be relatively accurate.

Source: Techtudo; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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An unofficial UK National Health Service (NHS) app has been released for Windows Phone. The app, in collaboration with NHS Choices, pulls down information and services for users to interact with. Integration with Microsoft HealthVault (see our review of the official app) is present should the user wish to connect to their account and retrieve / store personal details, local services and more.

Using NHS Choices, NHS services can be searched by name, location or by how close they are to your current GPS location. Within each service card are details including address, directions (opens Maps), contact numbers and website if available. Patient ratings are displayed, which can prove useful when choosing a nearby practice, especially with regards to waiting times and how patients rate resident doctors. As well as ratings, key indicators are displayed with how many patients recommend that service coupled with survey results.

Health A-Z uses content from NHS Choices to display condition symptoms and treatments within the app. A large number of conditions are listed, accompanied by detailed information, symptoms, diagnosis, causes and treatments for that specific condition. Using the app bar, users can locate NHS services that are able to treat the selected condition and compare them within the app. 

The latest news from NHS Choices is pulled down, and contact details of local NHS services can be pinned to the home screen. As mentioned above, this app connects with Microsoft HealthVault (optional) to securely retrieve and store personal details covering conditions, local services and more. my NHS is a perfect companion for anyone who relies on the NHS in the UK. With information for hospitals, GPs, dentists, opticians, carers and more, the app is up-to-date with information supplied by NHS Choices. Best of all - it's free.

You can download my NHS from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing.

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Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3 is the OS update everyone wants though very few know why. Indeed it brings only a handful of updates, mostly revolving around MMS options and geolocation icon. The OS update is mostly aimed at the low-end 256MB devices that are now hitting the market though it does give companies a chance to tie in precious firmware updates with the OS.

While the AT&T Lumia 900 sells with 8112 (CR2), everyone is anxiously anticipating 8773 (CR3). That OS update won't actually do much but the accompanying firmware presumably will (read: bug fixes).

Having said all of that the Finish Tango ROM (8773 with firmware 12140) popped up on Navifirm this morning and yes, can be downloaded. Does that mean it can be flashed to your AT&T Lumia 900? We wouldn't recommend it as down-grading the ROM to the proper one is not guaranteed. Still, we know many of you are anxious on this end so we'll see what the more ambitious folks have to say if someone dares to flash.

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Perhaps not too surprising, Samsung today has announced the Omnia M, a follow up to the Omnia W and obviously riding the Focus 2's mid-range specs.

The device is a ho-hum 1GHz  CPU with a 4" Super AMOLED screen and a disappointing 4GB of storage on board. It features HSPA at 7.2MBps which is even a low-end data, bypassing the much preferred HSPA+ or HSPA+ DC like on the Lumia 900.

It does have a front-facing camera though and the design, while reminiscent of every other Samsung phone especially the W, still looks svelte and comfortable to use.

Having said that, this is obviously Samsung's "Tango" phone, playing up against Nokia's 610 and the ZTE Tania, meaning most of you will probably want to pass on such a phone and wait for Windows Phone 8.

We're curious though how such low-end devices will sell. In theory, if this phone is offered for next-to-nothing on contract it could be a very desirable phone for those who don't yet have a smartphone. That's an important market and while it doesn't earn headlines, for market share, it's an important demographic to consider.

No word on release though we imagine it will be out in a few weeks. It's planned for Europe and "other regions".

Source: Samsung

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Nokia has announced on their blog today that the manufacturer is looking to start rolling out the Nokia Reading app for Windows Phone in a number of launch countries. We previously took a look at Nokia Reading back at Mobile World Congress.

The app, which enables Lumia owners to browse, purchase and read ebooks, will be launching on a country-by-country basis. The first batch of markets that will be able to download and use the app include France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK. Remaining countries will follow throughout the remainder of 2012.

As for the catalogue itself, the store will feature numerous localised books as well as major English titles including The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; One Day; and The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes. More will be added to the catalogue over time so fear not if you can't locate a specific book. As well as purchasing ebooks, there are also 'thousands' of international titles freely available for download.

Genre categories coupled with filters including 'top ebooks' and 'new releases' make it more convenient for users to search through the store and available content. It's positive to see Nokia tackling ebooks with its ClearBlack display used on Lumias, not to mention Microsoft's ClearType technology more effectively rendering fonts. Should you enjoy reading at night the app will use a black background with white text instead of black on white - this mode will also be more battery-friendly with AMOLED Lumias.

Updates for Nokia Reading are already on the horizon with features to bring a virtual magazine with RSS support, as well as provisions for audio books. Check out the following video for a visual representation of the Nokia Reading. Be sure to look out for Nokia Reading which should pop up within the next few weeks should you reside in one of the launch countries.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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Before you rush to your phone, it's not in the marketplace just yet! However I'm pleased to announce that the official WPCentral app v2.2 has been finalised and was submitted for certification 2 days ago.

So what's new this time around? We've been focusing on three key improvements: user experience, error reporting, and 256mb device compatibility. Most of these changes are a direct result of feedback or suggestions that our amazing community has sent us, so read on to find out exactly what's changed.

 

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Microsoft has altered the text displayed when tweeting from Windows Phones. Instead of displaying "via Windows Live", which is what we've become accustomed to with integration on the mobile platform running through the Live ID (soon to be 'Microsoft Account'), any tweets published from a Windows Phone will now display "via Microsoft".

This is another step in the withdrawal of the Live branding in favour of Microsoft and Windows. We've previously looked at how the software giant is rebranding products with the upcoming launch of Windows 8. While information has come to light surrounding previous Windows Live essential services, little has come to light about the new music service as-of-yet. 

via: Metro Powered

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The Lumia 900 is now available at UK retailer Phones 4u in black and white. Both versions are reported to be only available at Phones 4u until May 27th when other sources will be able to stock the device. Purchasing either colour today from the retailer will also see a free Nokia Monster Headset, free Nokia Play 360 speaker and free 12 months unlimited WiFi bundled with the Lumia 900.

The Lumia 900 is available from £21/mo (£199 upfront fee) with O2, £31/mo with Vodafone or £33.50/mo (£59 upfront fee) with Orange. Note that delivery for the handset on an O2 deal is set back until 14/05, no reason is supplied. Also, should you have pre-ordered the Lumia 900 before April 16th, you're eligible for free earphones.

After the delays we've witnessed in the states, it's good to see Nokia pumping out stock for high demand.

Source: Phones 4u; Thanks, Marco, for the heads up!

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