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Windows Phone News

If you have a SlingBox and have been putting off buying the SlingPlayer Windows Phone app, now is your chance to same some bucks. The SlingPlayer app normally runs $29.99 but through July 22nd, Sling Media has slashed the price 50% bringing the price down to $14.99.

Compatible with Slingbox SOLO or PRO-HD slingboxes, the app will let you play anything you can watch on your television at home on your Windows Phone. SlingPlayer will let you change channels, control your DVR, view live or recorded shows, control your cable or satellite box, and much more.

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There’s been a lot of news today—both for Microsoft and Nokia—so we’re going to just touch on a bit of that and also mention some other Microsoft stories that you may have missed. So here’s your roundup:

  • Microsoft wants you take your Xbox security seriously and posts tips on how to do that
  • Mark Penn, former advisor to President Clinton, will be a VP at Microsoft where he hopes to make Bing cool
  • Microsoft may have lost money this quarter but their consumer division is actually doing well

So head on past the break for today’s wrap up...

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We're all tuned into the Microsoft financial results for the fiscal quarter ending June 30th, 2012 and there has been some interesting details revealed. Overall, Microsoft posted a record revenue of $18.06 billion but along with that came the news of a net income loss of $492 million, something almost unheard of for Microsoft. The loss itself, Microsoft attributes to something they're calling "goodwill impairment charge" otherwise known as a "writeoff" to the tune $6.2 billion which stems from their acquisition of aQuantive. Overall though, Microsoft's quarter revenue adds up to a 7% increase from around the same time last year and quarterly operating income brought in a total of $6.93 billion. In other simpler words, a 12% increase in operating income.

Total fiscal year income coming in at $73.72 billion in revenue, with operating income at $21.76 billion. Microsoft's entertainment division helped in this area with things such as Xbox 360 having grown by 20 percent to more than $1.7 billion. On the business side of things, Microsoft raked in a 7% increase with nearly $6.3 billion in revenue. Windows and Windows Live Divisions ended up declining this quarter, slipping down by 13% while still earning $4.1 billion. We'll be digging deeper into the numbers here soon, but for now you can check out the full press release via the source link below.

Update - See our analysis of today's results here.

Source: Microsoft

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The Dark Knight Rises leaves its mark on your Windows Phone

In just a few hours, The Dark Knight Rises movie will begin showing at your local theatre. The movie's influence has already been felt with our Windows Phone especially the Nokia Lumia line.

We have the Dark Knight Rises and Batman: Origins apps available in the Nokia Collection on the Windows Phone Marketplace. T-Mobile is offering The Dark Knight Rises press-on covers for new Nokia Lumia 710's and then there's the limited edition The Dark Knight Rises versions of the Lumia 800 and 900.

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Today Nokia revealed its interim financial results for Q2 2012.  Nothing too shocking, really.  Keep in mind that this is a company that was once the largest phone manufacturer in the world, driven by Symbian and feature phones. Nokia now has to find its place in the smartphone market, and this position will really depend upon the market success of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. 

With that in mind, Nokia shipped 4 million Lumia phones during Q2.  It may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to iPhone or Samsung (Android) numbers, but when you compare it against RIM’s latest quarter (the shipped 7.8 million BlackBerry phones), it shows some forward momentum. 

Overall, Nokia sold 73 million phones. That’s 69 million non-Lumia phones. The company’s huge challenge is to hang onto the low end of the feature phone market (under attack from Android) while also converting many of its Symbian smartphone users onto Nokia-branded Windows Phone products in the future.  It’s a tall order, but Nokia has a pretty good fighting chance...

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Nokia Australia is planning to host two "Smoked by Windows Phone" challenges in Australia this coming weekend. The two marketing events will take place in Sydney and Melbourne but will contain a twist to differentiate from the generic Windows Phone challenge, according to the team. With Nokia UK challenging the general public with common smartphone tasks to see if they survive or are dared to engage in fearful activities, we could be in for some exciting ideas in Australia.

A cash prize ($100) is available should you manage to best the Windows Phone challenge, but should you lose... we'll have to wait and see - though we expect to see some dares. If you have an Android or Symbian device, the iPhone, a BlackBerry, or even a Windows Phone yourself, you will be eligible to participate - though we're not entirely sure how a Windows Phone smartphone can enter against an identical handset. Fastest finger first?

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Igneous Software, not content with making their excellent BBC Podcast Lounge are surely striving for greatness with their upcoming launch of the BBC Radio Player. We had previously reported on their plans but were finally able to get hands on demo of it at last night’s Windows Phone User Group (WPUG).

The new player will improve on the previous version in a number of ways. The UI has been updated to closely follow that of the official apps on other platforms. Igneous have taken great care to replicate the colours and visual cues from the iPlayer whilst taking advantage of Metro’s inherent slick delivery of typography and graphics.

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Nokia has released their Q2 financial report today, which paints a somewhat unexpected picture. According to figures present in the document, Nokia has managed to sell four million Lumia Windows Phones worldwide. This is up from their previous report of Q1 where Nokia CEO Stephen Elop stated the company "exceeded expectations" in the US.

We've been looking at the growth figures for the previous quarters and the situation looks strong for the Lumia line of Windows Phone with exponential growth taking place. Pushing out over a million devices in Q4 2011, followed by further increase in Q1 2012, we're seeing a positive trend with four million Lumias heading to consumers. Carriers in Canada have also previously revealed they are pleased with how Nokia Windows Phones have been received by customers. These numbers are positive, with the "Rolling Thunder" marketing push proving to be successful, not to mention the continuous rollout of both Smoked by Windows Phone and Dare to Live campaigns.

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Although we cheered at Nokia dropping the price of the AT&T Lumia 900 a few days ago, many detractors in the tech media looked for a negative angle to the story, resulting in some damning headlines this past week.

What was the other tale they were spinning? That the Lumia 900 must not be doing well—after all, why would Nokia (and AT&T) cut the price “so soon” after launch? Forgetting the fact that “so soon” is exactly 3 months or we’ve seen price drops after launches before. That didn’t stop various media outlets like this example which boasts

“Finnish phone maker Nokia has been forced to cut the price of its Lumia 900 by half, just weeks after launching it”.

Forced? Just weeks? That story went over the ANI wire to a lot of news outlets. One problem though: they were wrong.

Read more after the break..

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October 26th, 2012. That’s the date folks and it’s a Friday, in case you were wondering.

Microsoft today (via Steven Sinofsky) just revealed at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting that Windows 8 for customers will be available for download and on new PCs too starting at the end of October. With a $40 upgrade fee in place, purchasing a license for the much hyped OS should be easy and painless. 

So where does that leave Windows Phone 8? We’re betting we’ll see a similar release pattern and time-frame for their next mobile OS. We have a feeling Microsoft is going for a big launch, dominating tech headlines for weeks to come. While it will be hard to coordinate with carriers, we’re hoping their strategy is aiming for a universal release.

For the last two years, Microsoft has released new Windows Phones in October/November so we’re hoping for a repeat this time around too.

At least that’s our expectation.

Source: Microsoft

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Yet another day, yet another roundup of somewhat exciting news involving Microsoft.  We’ll summarize the stories for you to keep you abreast of what’s going on in the world of Redmond. Today’s stories we found interesting:

  • Intel CEO remarks that 20 Windows 8 Tablets are coming this fall
  • Microsoft is back with a new keyboard dubbed ‘the Wedge’ (and mouse)
  • Windows Phone will grab 4% market share in the US in 2012?

Head on past the break to get all the info…

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HBO Go, the service that let's HBO subscribers stream movies and TV shows to various devices, is one of the greatest blessings to the world of apps in recent times. And now it has finally come to Windows Phone...but only in Romania. You may ask yourself, "Why Romania?" Well, the answer may be that HBO Go depends heavily on regional cable providers and those carriers in Romania were the first to get agreements in place with television giant. At any rate, customers of Romanian providers HBO Go VIP/Club Romania, INES, NextGen Communications, or Romtelecom can now watch their favorite shows on their Windows Phone devices.

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The main Nokia store in Helsinki, Finland has temporarily closed for renovations and is now emblazoned with big signs noting that “Something Amazing is Coming…7.9.2012” (that’s September 7th, for our American friends). 

What makes that date interesting of course is it is directly after Nokia World—Nokia’s annual event where they announce all of their big products (well, most—the Lumia 900 wasn’t announced until CES).  This year, the big expectation is that Nokia will of course show off their new Windows Phone 8 devices including a much speculated PureView camera phone with WP8. In addition, there are rumors of a Nokia tablet in the works too running Windows 8.

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Customer feedback is always an important part of running a business and Nokia seems at the forefront of such practices—we routinely see them engage the audience for opinions, complaints and things they like via polls, direct interaction and more.

Nokia Conversations has just posted a massive survey for all Lumia owners with the overarching question of 'What do you do with your phone?' If you think that’s a broad question, you would be right which is why there are quite a few bubbles to fill in. In fact, this reminds us a bit of AT&T’s product surveys which they often send to people after a new phone purchase.

Seeing as we’re the largest Windows Phone site out there, Nokia has reached out to us (and by extension you) to help them collect some data—after all, the more info they get, the more accurate trends can be discerned for future product development.

So take the 5 minutes to head over to Nokia Conversations and  help fill out that survey—in the end, you’re just helping yourself. (And don’t forget to take our poll on front-facing cameras!).

Nokia Conversations - What do YOU do with your phone? [poll]

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UK newspaper The Guardian has taken five Windows Phone to the side to query them as to how they view the development process on Windows Phone and why they view the platform worthy of both time and effort. The results were extremely positive.

The five developers included 7digital (music service), Addison Lee (private taxi hire firm), IndieSkies (Kaleidobooth), Escapist Games (Star Chart), and Distinction (Weather Flow). The short conclusion drawn from the results was praise for the OS itself and how apps can be quickly prototyped and subsequently released. The only downside was the developers' restraint over download and sales figures.

We've previously looked at how the developer interest in Windows Phone has continues to remain at a high level, while the likes of RIM falls rapidly. So this shouldn't be too much of a surprise that established developers are singing praise for Microsoft. Head on past the break for more juicy details.

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AT&T announces shared data plans

Today, AT&T has announced the company will offer shared data plans for those customers who have multiple Windows Phones or other smartphones. Available in late August the plans range from 1gb to 20gb with monthly fees as high as $200 plus $30 per smartphone. The shared data plans will also allow customers to add devices, other than smartphones, for an additional monthly fee.  Go over your monthly data allotment and it'll cost you an extra $15 per gigabyte.

There will be no changes to AT&T's current device upgrade policy that allows eligible customers to upgrade phones without being required to switch plans.  Existing individual and family plans will still remain available for AT&T customers as well.

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Seems as though we are finally seeing the rollout of the Tango update for Lumia devices. This morning my carrier unlocked Lumia 800 received the notification that an update was available. On plugging in device the update is listed as OSVersion 7.10.8112.7, which has been reported to be the first of three updates for the device (second is Tango 8773, and third is firmware). Whilst Tango has been seen going out elsewhere and onto other devices. Looks like the Lumia 800 is finally get to have a go with Tango.

**Update** 1st Stage updates 8112 - 2nd Stage Shows Update to Version 7.10 8773.98 3rd Stage NOKIA Update for Windows Phone

Results of fully updated phone as follows

OS Version          7.10.8773.98

Firmware            1750.0805.8773.12220

Radio S/W          1.7.50.08

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Ben ("The PC Guy") Rudolph has continued to take the Smoked by Windows Phone marketing campaign across the states, and he's showing no signs of easing back with more videos being published to the Windows Phone YouTube account. We previously looked at a handful of new videos being added to the account and commented on how we enjoyed the new style, so it's pleasing to see the company continuing to refine and push the platform using this successful campaign.

With the active "Dare to Live" tour in the UK, which is focusing heavily on the number of wins the platform achieves, the Smoked campaign is relaxed to put more emphasis on how Windows Phone can make participant lives easier through a series of challenges. Check out two more videos after the break.

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It seems that if you’re a Windows Phone fan you got to have merchandise to prove it—rock stars have it, sports teams have so why not smartphones?

If you’ve been looking to part with your money to prove your dedication then you’ll want to swing by the official Windows Phone Gear store powered by Café Press.  The store launched last month and since then it has received a new merchandise design—"100,000 apps and counting"—which features a myriad of little Windows Phone app tiles.

The new option is short, simple and is available in a coffee mug, water bottle, sticker and magnet. We’d opt for the coffee mug personally as we think that looks the coolest.

Interestingly, we remember this design was picked up and modified by Microsoft’s KC Lemson (who’s hilarious on Twitter--you should totally follow her) from SharePoint specialist Leon Zandman, which goes to show you that neat designs can come from anywhere.

Head to the Windows Phone Gear store to see if there’s anything that piques your interest. Thanks, marco300, for the heads up

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Continuing on our regular From the Forums feature, where we bring you the latest hot threads from our community, there have been a number of discussions that have caught our eye. One of the more debated topics were the Nokia Lumia US sales figures that were circling the web. It was originally believed that the manufacturer has only managed to push out 330,000 Windows Phones since it launched in the states. Head on past the break for the full run through of 'fluff'.

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