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Windows Phone News

Nokia continues to strengthen partnerships with software providers to bring more compelling content to the Windows Phone platform. This time they are working with Genius Brands International to bring their *Award Winning* Baby Genius products exclusively to Lumia devices. 

Baby Genius apps aim to help children transition from preschool to kindergarten. The first two apps from the series Sing ‘n Play Pals will arrive this summer as Nokia exclusive content. The apps are said to contain both free and premium content that can be unlocked by a parent at their discretion.

CEO of Genius Brands Klaus Moeller had this to say about the announcement...

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Tech2 India has reported that Nokia are kicking off a new campaign in the country titled "Amazing Money Back Challenge". This enables consumers who purchase the Lumia 710 or 800 Windows Phones to return the device within seven days for a full refund if not satisfied. That's some fairly heavy commitment.

The campaign is active on the Nokia India Facebook page, where consumers can enter contact details, select nearest stores and wait for that store to contact the participant. We presume a trip to a supporting store will also yield the same results. Of course, to return the device, you'll need to have it in almost-perfect condition with the original packaging, manuals and accessories. As well as this, the Windows Phone can only be returned to the store it was purchased from.

While many may see this as a desperate move by the manufacturer, we see it as an interesting challenge for consumers. Potential Windows Phone adopters can now fully own a Lumia smartphone for seven days on a free trial of sorts. Should they somehow not enjoy the experience provided by Nokia, there's peace of mind that a refund is readily available.

We've also got Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo") just around the corner, with current generation devices only upgrading to software version 7.8. The average Joe may not be aware of this fact, or are concerned that they will only receive Windows Phone 7.8. Nokia will have to use this time to shift as many devices as possible before the next wave is ready to roll.

via: Tech2.in; thanks, Arpit, for the tip!

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Browsing Bild.de can be hazardous to Tango's health

With Windows Phone Tango rolling out it is perhaps not a surprise that some isolated bugs may be discovered along the way. So far, not too many have cropped up but there is one that is interesting though seemingly rare.

Users have found that navigating to the German news site Bild.de on their phone, with “Desktop” enabled can result in the browser locking up the device. The site Bild.de does default to a mobile WAP version and there is a Windows Phone app too but users are free to use their IE9 in desktop mode to view the site “as is”.

We’ve tested the scenario on our Tango phone (Focus 2) and sure enough, upon loading the page the second time it does lock up the device. Since Internet Explorer is a native app, native apps can crash the OS whereas third-party apps should not be able to do so.

The theory seems to revolve around the idea that Bild.de is very graphic intensive with a lot of photos being pushed to the browser. Combined with Tango's low-overhead for 256MB devices and it seems to zap all of the available memory on the phone (of course we can’t rule out javascript errors or something else, either). You can replicate the crash yourself by following these directions:

  • Turn “Desktop” mode on in the browser
  • Navigate to Bild.de, it may load just fine
  • Navigate to another site then go back to Bild.de
  • Browser should crash when loading

The resulting crash means you would have to pull the battery (or hold the power button for 10 seconds) to reboot the phone. We tried this on a Windows Phone Mango device (HTC Titan) and could not replicate the crash. We also had no issues with a Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.1 meaning this most certainly seems correlated with Windows Phone “Tango”.

Is it a dire bug? Certainly not but it could be used as a browser-exploit by some nefarious people out there, even though that seems remote to us. Still, hopefully Microsoft will see this and patch it up for their next OS build.

Update: To make things even more confusing, it's not all devices. Our Lumia 900 with Tango is okay, but reports at XDA of the Radar, Omnia 7, Lumia 800 and our Focus 2 do have the crash.

Source: XDA; Thanks DerAusgewanderte, for the tip

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How low can it go?

Although Nokia has been catching headlines for their downturn in market performance, HTC too has also been feeling the pinch of poor profits.

Nokia yesterday finished the week off at $1.92 a share, falling below the $2 mark for the first time since September 1994. A lot can be made of that $2 number which is more of a psychological barrier than anything real but make no mistake, Nokia is feeling the financial pinch.

The drop seems to correlate with new rumors that Amazon may be making a go at its own phone which results in fears of tougher competition down the road.  Combined with the Mozilla news earlier this week, the Eurozone financial crisis, lagging sales of the Lumia line and no confidences from investors and you have a plummeting stock price. It’s a vicious cycle and often one not hinged on reality.

Seeking Alpha actually has a nice summary of the Nokia situation.  In short, they are still optimistic as Nokia should be fine for the next 12 months and they don’t foresee any more bad news for Nokia i.e. the worst may finally be out of the way. Nokia is poised to cut 10,000 jobs by 2013 and continue to restructure, reducing overhead costs in the long term. The question for would be investors is should you buy Nokia yet? At least for one contributor at Seeking Alpha, the answer is “almost” as the stock may still dip lower but a return to profitability status is expected sooner than later...

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Nokia Music has been updated to version 3.0, and we've got some information regarding what's included in this release. According to the changelog provided in the Marketplace description, which we believe to be slightly off, the following has been included: 

  • Download all types of mixes to listen to offline
  • 'Pin to start' any mix so you can quickly play your favorites
  • See what mixes and songs you've previously listened to by tapping 'recent mixes'
  • Search for gigs by artist, venue and city
  • Share details of the song you are playing to social networks, over email and messaging
  • Fixed disappearing menu options

As well as the Music app update, Nokia also pushed out a new version of  Play To, but no changelog has been published, though we have received word that connectivity within the app is much quicker. Both apps are well worth checking out, especially if you're either into music while on the go, or wish to make use of DLNA functionality.

You can download both Nokia Music and Play To from the Nokia Collection.

Thanks, TallPaul86, for the heads up!

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We've been informed by a reader that Orange UK is currently rolling out a number of updates, including 8112, for the Lumia 800 Windows Phone. Included in this update is Internet tethering support, which has been absent from the device since launch late last year. 

This follows the 8107 software update, which the UK carrier released back in March. 8112 is also the build that was being shipped with the AT&T Lumia 900. This is number one of three.

We were also informed that Windows Phone Tango build 8773 was then downloaded and installed. Following the Tango upgrade was a 12220 firmware notification.

Let us know if you've received any update notifications in the comments.

Thanks, James, for the heads up!

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Co-found of Apple Steve Wozniak thinks Windows Phone is a convergence of "art and technology"

Speaking at a press conference after his talk at the Entel Summit (Entel is Chile's leading telecommunications operator), co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak gave his thoughts on Microsoft, Surface and their new Metro UI. Having previously spoken positively of the Lumia 900 and what Microsoft was up to with their refocus on usability and visual appeal, "the Woz" continues to give praise to the company and what appears to be their new direction, noting that he wants a Surface tablet.

During the Q&A session, Wozniak gave his thoughts on how the Lumia line of smartphones and Windows Phone 7 have such a "...strikingly good visual appearance which is a lot of what Steve Jobs always looked for, the art and technology, the convergence of art and technology." Back in April, the technology guru famously heaped praise on the Lumia 900 and Windows Phone and evidently he continues to like it.

Regarding Surface, Wozniak says he wants to "own one, to use one" so he can see for himself how good it is and not have to rely on what he's read—a fair and respectable stance to have on an un-released product.

The video Q&A where Wozniak responds to a Microsoft question during the Entel Summit '12

As far as Microsoft, he had some interesting observations that seem to be aligning with a lot of people's thoughts today on the company: Microsoft has changed and are entering a new era.

"But I'm glad that Microsoft is starting to show maybe they're a different company than before, I don't remember this sort of thing happening in a long, long time with Microsoft, so I'm very happy."

Of course Wozniak has always been quite "technology neutral" and he used whatever device that he thought was the best, without any allegiances. This is why he's respected amongst many as he brings true insight from an engineer's perspective as opposed to a partisan with a product to sell. Either way, it's good press for Microsoft.

Source: TechNews; Thanks, Eric, for the tip!

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The latest Windows Phone campaign is taking on America's pasttime, one stadium at a time. The Windows Phone team is partnering with the two of the editors (John and Steve) from the lifestyle blog The Roosevelts for the Windows Phone Bucket List Tour.

The tour will visit eleven Major League Baseball stadiums to help spread all the goodness we know as Windows Phone. John and Steve's Windows Phone of choice is the HTC Titan II and plan on sharing apps and features on the Windows Phone as well as capturing some rather impressive panoramas using the Titan II's built in pano feature. The Tour has already visited six ball parks including Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field and has cover 37 of the 67 bucket list items.

Along the way John and Steve will be tweeting from their Windows Phone. You can share your bucket list items with the Tour on Twitter @rsvlts using the #wpbaseball hashtag. You can also follow along on the Roosevelts Facebook page if Twitter isn't your cup of tea.  Who knows, maybe they'll have an impromptu "Smoked by Windows Phone" contests during the 7th Inning Stretch.

You can catch all the panorama's the duo capture here at the Roosevelts' Stadium Page and more videos of the tour here at the Windows Team Blog. It looks like a fun tour and definitely bucket list material.

I wonder if they'll make it to Turner Field and more importantly, will we see the Windows Phone Bucket List Tour t-shirts offered at the Microsoft Store?

Source: Windows Team Blog

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Last night we revealed that Nokia had some 8779 OS updates with presumably some new firmware on their servers for the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. At the time, we didn’t know what the updates included as 8779 is just slightly ahead of the just released 8773. Looks like we got Nokia's attention as they just gave out the details on the forthcoming update.

Technically speaking, we still don’t know what it’s in the OS as far as changes go (they're expected to be minor) but we now know what is coming with the bundled firmware. What’s more, it looks like the Lumia 900 will be getting the update too (although no word about AT&T, specifically). In fact, we’ve heard that the Lumia 900 in Germany already had 8779 on board so this is probably ready to rollout. Also, instead of the Lumia 800 we have info on the Lumia 610 instead.

On the Nokia Connects blog, details about the forthcoming updates were posted and it looks to be quite solid:

  • Lumia 900 version 2175.2101.8779.12201: Enhanced sensitivity for proximity sensor performance and improvement to your phone’s screen colours in low light conditions
  • Lumia 710 version 1600.3031.8779.12180: Internet sharing (Wi-Fi Hotspot) — Share your phone’s internet connection over Wi-Fi with up to five other devices or computers and Flip to silence — Silence incoming calls by turning your phone face down.
  • Lumia 610 version 1066.0000.8779.12201: Enhanced sensitivity for proximity sensor performance and improved sound level for alarm tone during voice calls.

From the sounds of it, these updates are very close to being releases so you’ll have to check for availability (or just watch our site). You can get more info when it’s made available at http://www.nokia.com/support. You do have to give Nokia some credit though, they're on top of these updates.

There was no mention of the post-Tango 8779 for the Lumia 800 though, which is curious because we did see those on Nokia's NaviFirm servers. Perhaps they're not ready for prime time just yet. We'll keep you posted.

Edit: As some users are pointing out, Nokia Connects may have the firmware numbers wrong. The latest firmware looks to be 12221 and not 12201 and some of those 710 new features came out with the 8773 update. So this is still a bit murky.

Thanks, Giovanni, for the heads up and Mark T. for the Germany info

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File this under old news but good news but T-Mobile is pleased as punch with the companies selection of Windows Phone. Since adding the HTC Radar 4G and Nokia Lumia 710, T-Mobile has seen sales of Windows Phone double in the past eight months.

Brad Duea, Senior Vice President of Product Development at T-Mobile, comments,

"We continue to see strong sales and adoption of the platform with the Nokia Lumia 710 consistently being one of our top five selling smartphones since it launched in January 2012. Not only that but, as expected, we’ve seen a large number of first-time smartphone users select a Windows Phone as their device of choice with 55% of all upgrades to the Lumia 710 coming from a messaging or feature phone."

According to T-Mobile the Lumia 710 has some of the highest handset satisfaction scores and feedback from customers has been very positive on Windows Phone software. With regards to the future of Windows Phones at T-Mobile Duea notes,

"We’re bullish on the future of Windows Phone. In fact, IDC’s report out earlier this month predicts Windows Phone will surpass iOS by 2016 – and we expect Windows Phone to continue to play a prominent role in our product portfolio and marketing efforts."

T-Mobile is slated to be a launch partner for Windows Phone 8 later this fall. Maybe we'll see more of Carly carrying a Windows Phone in the future.

Source: T-Mobile Blog

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The Windows Phone User Group is back, and the next event is set for July 16th. The Vibe Bar on Brick Lane is the venue where platform developers and enthusiasts will be gathering to talk everything Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo"). App demonstrations, presentations, and talks are listed for the evening with drinks available from the bar. Note that this is not the BarCamp, so the event will be kicking off at 7pm.

Be sure to check out the WPUG EventBrite page for more information, location details and to register your spot at the event. Myself and Rob Brand will be attending from Windows Phone Central. Do come say hello if you find yourself in town. We can help attendees out with website coverage, ideas and feedback on platform projects.

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Last month Nokia sponsored a Windows Phone developer workshop in St. Louis that was very successful. On the heels of that success, Nokia is sponsoring two more developer workshops. One in Orlando, Florida and another in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to Nokia Ambassador Rich Dunbar,

This workshop will be focused on the tools and resources you have available as a developer/potential developer for Windows Phone development from Nokia and Microsoft. The event will begin with a brief presentation from Nokia and will then focus on ensuring all the proper tools are introduced. We will review some of the tutorials and quick start projects and then allow time for the attendees to work on the projects they choose and ask questions along the way. The goal of the workshop is to help developers get started on their first Windows Phone app.

The Nashville event is scheduled for Saturday, July 28, 2012 from 8:00am until noon at the Microsoft Offices. The Orlando event will be held on Friday, August 10, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at the Doubletree Inn. There is a possibility the Nashville event will be pushed up to the evening of Friday, July 27th if space becomes available.

Each event have food provide along with Nokia swag to be given away including at least one Windows Phone. You'll need to register to attend (so Nokia will know how much food to order).

You can register for the Nashville event here and the Orlando event here. If you are close to either location and are interested in Windows Phone development, this will be a great opportunity to network with other developers and get a jump on your app development.

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Logoarama has been a rather busy Windows Phone game with regards to being updated. Not too long ago, the logo identifying game was updated giving the game a significant facelift and more logos. It was recently updated once again, taking the game to version 1.4.

The update adds 120 logos to the game, bringing the total number of logos you have to identify to 480. You also get the ability to share the game on Facebook and Twitter as well as the option to display the names to logos you've already identified.  For those not familiar, Logoarama presents you with various product/service logo and it's your job to identify them.

Oh... one more important feature of the update is that in celebrating reaching 30,000 downloads the game is being offered for free. The free offer will only last a few days so if you like trivia games, it might be the time to give Logoarama a try.

You can find Logoarama here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Once the free promotion ends, Logoarama will return to it's original pricing of $.99.

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Note+ is an interesting, yet simple, app on the Windows Phone Marketplace. What makes Note+ interesting isn't because it has a bazillion features but rather how this note taking app found its way to the Marketplace.  How Note+ landed on the Marketplace is also a nice example on how Nokia continues to support the Windows Phone platform and it's community of developers.

The developer, Aälejandro Díazs, resides in the Dominican Republic where the Windows Phone Marketplace support is not available for developers. Díazs, a graphics designer by trade, was impressed with the Metro design of Windows Phone and decided to learn how to code for the platform.  It didn't take long for Díazs to develop his first app, Note+, but without a Marketplace presence he had difficulties finding a way to have his work seen.  

Díazs then came across an opportunity through Nokia Developer Ambassador Rich Dunbar to get his app published.  Dunbar reviewed submissions from developers who have yet to be published on the Marketplace for a chance at a App Hub token.  Those selected would be able to register with the App Hub and submit apps to the Marketplace for certification. 

Note+ was one of the developers chosen and Díazs found himself with a foot in the Marketplace door.  Note+ would eventually pass certification and be published to the Windows Phone on June 29th. ..

 

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Red Badger – Developer Insight

Back when Windows Phone 7 was new on the smartphone scene the choice of Twitter apps was limited. Birdsong was one of the most interesting clients of the time, it was 100% accurate in getting the aesthetics right for how an app should look and work on WP7. Making good use of smooth scrolling, panoramic slide overs whilst embracing the best feature of Windows Phone, Metro.

At the time Birdsong was innovative, indeed Red badger became a poster child for how Metro style apps should look and feel, receiving praise from its users and even Microsoft. I wanted to catch up with the team and see how their start-up is going and what brought them back to re-kindling development for Birdsong. I met with one of the founders, Cain Ullah and Red Badgers newest team member, Joe Stanton to see what’s happening...

 

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Although we’re not expecting any Windows Phone 8 devices for months, it looks like Nokia may have a new device kicking around.

The Lumia 910 briefly popped up in Nokia’s Remote Device Access (RDA) tools which developer’s use to get access to the latest info on existing hardware.

So what is the Lumia 910? Some have speculated it may be a new Windows Phone 8 device but we’ve heard from sources that “910” is the designation for T-Mobile and that this is a variation of the Lumia 900. If true that would make this a Windows Phone 7.x device and not WP8. On the other hand, there’s little evidence suggesting T-Mobile is planning on releasing a Lumia 900-esque device anymore, especially with the no WP8 update happening.

We also saw the Lumia 910 pop u on a Dutch site with a 12MP camera instead of the normal 8MP on the 900, though nothing ever came of it.

We’ll have to keep an eye out to see if we can find any more on this device but we’d say to calm your expectations a bit for now.

Via: Nieuwemobiel.nl; Thanks, Martijn R., for the heads up

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The Canadian news app CBC has been updated to version 1.1, which introduces push notifications.  The app enables users to keep up to date with content from the CBC website. With the added push notifications, CBC News now offers a rich reading experience with full-screen video, high quality image galleries, and more.

We like the design and feel of the interface, which provides the user with an extremely easy to use service. You can download CBC News from the Marketplace for free (restricted to Canadian Marketplace). Thanks, Crushing Destroyer, for the heads up!

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According to some of our readers, the Windows Phone Marketplace appears to experiencing some issues. We've confirmed ourselves that the UK and US Marketplaces are down, throwing a "c101a249" error when an attempt is made to download an app. As was the case with previous outages, we'll not get too worked up about potential maintenance.

Hopefully this downtime will be minimal. Have you experienced any issues today? Let us know in the comments. 

Update: Xbox LIVE and Zune are also down for a lot of users, so evidently the two are connected

Thanks, revamp, for the heads up!

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Today the Carphone Warehouse has announced their "Smart Deal" for the Lumia 800. For the next week (7 days), the Lumia 800 will be available for free on contract with supporting UK carriers. The minimum price plan fee is £15.50/mo (24-months), which will provide the customer with 50 minutes, unlimited SMS, as well as 250MB of data as month allowances.

Should Orange not take your fancy and T-Mobile be more your thing, the entry contract price is £21/mo (24-months) which bundles 100 minutes, unlimited SMS and 750MB of data.

Be sure to head on over to the Carphone Warehouse website (or pop in-store) to check out this offer.

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Nokia has today announced The Dark Knight Rises limited edition Lumia 800 in India. The unique Windows Phone will be a steal with only 200 being made available for retail. The limited edition smartphone sports a laser etched Batman logo on the rear of the device, and will be made available from Nokia's website mid-July. 

Reportedly priced at Rs. 24,999, which shares the same tag as the listed standard Lumia 800, it appears to be a solid deal for those interested in the franchise. As with The Dark Knight Rises Nokia Windows Phones launched elsewhere, the lucky owner will be able to take advantage of exclusive content, as well as an interactive game. Lumia owners can also download and install the exclusive app from the Marketplace.

If the Lumia 800 (or the Batman edition) isn't your cup of tea, the manufacturer also revealed the launch of the Lumia 610, which is priced at Rs. 12,999. Unfortunately, we're still waiting for the Lumia 900, and with Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo") drawing ever closer, it's looking less likely that many will choose to adopt such a late release.

Source: NDTV

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