Windows Phone News

Although China seems to be grabbing all the headlines today for Windows Phone, the move into Latin America is also as important for the fledgling mobile OS.

We've mentioned in the past that Nokia would be bringing their Lumia series to Mexico this Spring and it looks like that schedule is being kept. Users can now pre-order the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 on Movistar.

The Lumia 710, a budget-orientated smartphone with a 3.7" ClearBlack display and 5MP camera is perfect for those who are new to the smartphone game, while the Lumia 800 offers a more premium experience with its polycarbonate design, 8MP camera and AMOLED display. Both phones look to be competitively priced on Movistar with a $0 purchase for a 24 month contract (although the 800 has a higher-end contract to meet that requirement).

For more information, head to Movistar's page to sign up and learn more. Thanks, Victor H., for the heads up

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Venture Beat has put out their list of "Top Mobile Movers for 2012" defined by them as "The kind of people who thrive in this world are disruptive individuals. Troublemakers. Shakers-up of the status quo" and perhaps not so surprisingly two folks from Microsoft and Nokia are named on the top-ten list.

First up is someone we haven't mentioned much around here, Mary T. McDowell, Vice President, Nokia. While Elop gets a lot of praise and the spotlight (he's does have great stage presence), McDowell is busy behind the scenes concentrating on the mobile phone business aka the Asha S40 line as opposed to the more attention-getting smartphone business. Although she plays little role within Windows Phone, Nokia's future strategy seems to eventually merge the mobile phone (aka "dumb phone") business with the smartphone one. After all, if an Asha phone can be cheap and run S40, why can't it run Windows Phone?

Next up is someone you should at least heard of: Terry Myerson. He took over as corporate vice president of Windows Phone division back in December when Andy Lees was reassigned by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Although he doesn't have the title of President of the Windows Phone division, he still oversees every aspect of the platform and where it's going. Venture Beat credits Myerson's "no-nonsense" approach for having reset Microsoft's mobile strategy a few years back i.e. when Microsoft threw out Windows Mobile 7 "Photon" and instead went with the more risky Windows Phone 7 OS.

Venture Beat goes on to note that "Windows Phone is early in its lifecycle, but it’s an attractive, responsive operating system that’s getting a lot of notice. You can count on it to make big waves in the mobile market this year." Indeed and Microsoft (and Nokia) seem to have the right people on board.

Source: Venture Beat; Power Man image via Shutterstock

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Microsoft has shaken things up a little for April's XBox Live Deal of the Week selections.  Rather than just putting it out there, they want to know what games users want to see discounted by creating a poll of four games.  The choices offered up for your consideration are: ZOMB1ES on teh ph0ne, Earthworm Jim, Doodle God, and Deer Hunter.  To vote, simply head to the source link and click on your choice, then click "Vote."  You can also find a link to the poll in your Windows Phone Games Hub.  Once you've made your decision, you will see what game leads the pack. 

There's no telling whether or not this will become the standard for Deal of the Week going forward, but it's pretty cool to see MS looking for users' input.

Source: Microsoft; Thanks for the tip, Natres!

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If you're not aware of the positive news this week surrounding our Windows Phone app, we've been nominated for Nokia Conversations' March Madness contest. The WPCentral app is in the "news & entertainment" category, and you guys requested an update as to when you'll be able to vote. The time is now, fellow WPCentralites!

Be sure to head on over to the Nokia Conversations' article to vote for the WPCentral app, should you wish to do so, as we're up against All About Windows Phone. While we're flattered that our work has been considered for the contest, we do have a secret desire to win with flying colours. On a serious note - we thank our readers for continued support and wish every app the very best in this contest.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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Wunderlist, the popular cross-platform task manager, is now available on the Windows Phone Marketplace. We previously covered the news of the app being developed for Microsoft's mobile platform with 6Wunderkinder (the team behind Wunderlist) publishing a tease capture of the app in action.

Your tasks are stored in the cloud of wonders with your free Wunderlist account, that can be accessed on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and Blackberry. Tasks can contain notes for more detail to be added, and the user can also filter and prioritise (star) important tasks.

Some key features to take note of:

  • Email reminders to ensure your tasks never slip your mind
  • Send tasks to Wunderlist from your email inbox
  • Sort your tasks into lists and organise accordingly
  • Assign deadlines to your tasks
  • View a breakdown of your tasks with filtered views
  • Give your tasks further detail with detailed notes
  • Prioritise (star) important tasks
  • Personalise the app with included background wallpapers

Wunderlist is a pretty neat task manager and looks absolutely gorgeous on your Windows Phone. You can download Wunderlist from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Those of you looking to pick up the Nokia Lumia 610 in the Netherlands, despite having some less functions than it's older 710, 800 and 900 siblings, will want to pay attention. That phone looks to be launching fairly soon as the site PDAShop.nl now has the phone with full specifications listed on the site.

The 610 with its 800MHz CPU, 3.7" TFT (non-ClearBlack) screen with GorillaGlass and 5MP camera runs Windows Phone 7.5.1 aka "Tango" and should be price aggressively. In this case, we hope that means cheaper than the Allegro which is fetching for € 269 currently.

Representing an effort to win over the lower-end of the smartphone market for first time buyers, teenagers and the like, the Lumia 610 looks to a fairly solid phone even with its more limited-hardware. See our hands on with the Lumia 610 here.

Source: PDAShop.nl; Thanks, LivinginaBox, for the tip

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As a follow up to Monday's story regarding Windows Phone Tango and the reported increase in the number of apps for fast-app switching, the story has proven to be false.

What was seen was a custom Tango ROM for an HD2 where the ROM-chef (HD2Owner) had increased the number of apps in the taskswitcher from five to eight -- but alas, in the official Tango ROM this is not the case and five, sadly is still the limit. From XDA:

"more tasks in taskswitcher is not a tango feature

it's just another useful tweak i implemented into my rom"

Certainly this explains why Microsoft did not convey this information earlier but at least on the bright side, it's one thing to be less excited about regarding Tango.

via: Windows Phone Daily

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We mentioned the other day that Australia was getting the Nokia "Amazing everyday" treatment with the impending launch of the Lumia 800. We then had a fan-made video of the event showing a dance-off using an Xbox Kinect and a giant screen and now Nokia has put up a proper video of the event, showing off exactly what they were doing on that sunny day.

With an augmented Angry Birds experience, dance off with Timomatic and something about helping a kangaroo finding its way home, Nokia sure did some creative marketing here. Looked fun at least and really, that's what it's all about for them.

Thanks, Johnny V., for the heads up

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Today is March 21st which means Microsoft took the big step in growing the Windows Phone ecosystem by releasing the mobile OS in mainland China.

Launching on numerous devices, including the HTC Triumph (aka TITAN), the Nokia Lumia 800c and offerings from ZTE (including the Orbit/Mimosa), Microsoft looks to regain some ground in the smartphone war by offering a variety of hardware running the refresh of Windows Phone 7.5 "Tango" (build 8773) in one of the largest emerging markets in the world.

The press conference was held in Beijing in a makeshift warehouse with HTC, Nokia, ZTE, Qualcomm and Samsung all in attendance. In addition, Simon Leung Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region was also there to introduce the operating system to the audience. The press conference involved a demonstration of the OS, new hardware, Skydrive, Office as well as mention the more than 2,000 Chinese applications already in the Marketplace, including 50 top tier apps.

Overall, it looks to have been a successful launch though of course, it remains to be seen how keen on Windows Phone China is in the next few months as these devices go on sale around the massive country.

See more photos and coverage at WinP.cn; Thanks, Lucas, for the tip!

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Lock Screen Widgets, a concept by Windows Phone Hacker, has just been released as beta to the homebrew community. With this app, the user will be able to add app information in the form of small live tile widgets on the lock screen. Information displayed can range from weather reports to RSS feeds. We previously looked at the preview video of the concept last week, but now you're able to try it out for yourself.

To be able to use Lock Screen Widgets, you'll need a rooted Windows Phone. Remember that this is the beta version so issues are to be expected, and feedback is appreciated by the developer. Optimisation and further improvements are currently in development, so be sure to keep up-to-date with progress. Head on over to Windows Phone Hacker to download the beta.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker; Thanks, Jesus, for the tip!

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We previously touched on PingMe making a move to Windows Phone, the cross-platform messenger that's already available for iOS, Android and Blackberry is now available on the Marketplace for free. Should the likes of Kik and WhatsApp not fulfil your needs enough, you'll be able to enjoy the following features with PingMe:

  • Cross-platform and will enable communication with iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Blackberry devices.
  • Record and send voice and video clips.
  • Receive real-time message receipts with typing indicators and sent / delivered / read notifications.
  • Engage in group chat with numerous contacts at any given time (ability to create circles / groups).
  • No registration is required. Your number is your ID.
  • Receive social updates from close friends to stay up-to-date.
  • Locate friends and contacts nearby with geo-location enabled messages.
  • Push notification will keep you alerted when a message is received.
  • Find friends or known acquaintances with the included friend finder functionality.

It's an appealing app with some interesting functionality that will be right up some Windows Phone owners' streets. You can download PingMe from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Nokia Drive (our review) version 2.0 has been released and is available for download on the Marketplace. The Windows Phone turn-by-turn navigation app from Nokia now sports offline navigation to further cut the use of data. With this functionality not dependant on your connectivity (or data allowance), you'll be able to drive with peace of mind.

As well as the offline use, we've also got "Last Destinations" that can be selected for user convenience. The ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) of the selected destination is also displayed along with the speed you're currently travelling at (as well as on the route selection screen next to the distance). An audio speed limit alert can be set up in the settings, which will sound should the user exceed the road limit.

Should you really want to take an in-depth look at how Nokia Drive can help you on your way, be sure to check out the user guide (updated for version 2.0).

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Nokia is taking phone notifications to an extreme with a new patent, tattoos that react with your phone using haptics, the same vibratory interaction that you experience when typing on a touchscreen keyboard.  A recent submission to the United States Patent and Trade Office describes a haptic material that would react to magnetic signals sent out by your mobile device.  So you set your phone up to let you know when a call is coming in, the phone then emits a specific magnetic signal, and the material reacts by vibrating.  Different signals could be assigned for different functions.

Initially, the patent explains that users would wear the material on clothing, stick-on patches, etc.  However, it goes on to apply the functionality to magnetic inks, which can then be embedded into the skin in the form of tattoos.  That process gets a little more involved, first demagnetizing the ink, applying the tattoo, then magnetizing it once again.

It's a wacky, creepy kind of idea that one would expect from an old sci-fi comic, but it's also feasible enough to become a reality.  So if you're someone who really hates missing calls, this could be just the thing for you.  That is, until you decide to trade in your Nokia for the latest HTC device.

Source: USPTO; Via: UnwiredView

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Following the 2.0 update to Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps has been bumped to version 1.3 and is now available on the Marketplace. So, what's new? Nokia have expanded the reach of the service, with added support for more Asian countries. But that's not all as users can now personalise their favourite places on their Windows Phone, which can be subsequently pinned to the home screen.

Recent locations and destinations are listed next to the favourites for more convenient access to the app history. Should you require more "Places" to visit around your location, more points of interest are now displayed on the map. Lastly, users can now share routes and destinations via social networks (using built-in connectivity), which is an interesting addition.

You can download Nokia Maps from the Nokia Collection on the Marketplace.

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According to a number of reports on our forums, coupled with confirmation by the team, there appears to be an issue with Facebook notifications and the "Me" tile. The issue is it seems as though the notifications sent through get caught up and continuously alert the user to the same content.

Some of our readers have stated that the service corrected itself over time and now functions as it should (while others have to resort to clearing notifications via the Facebook app), but it still remains to be a particular annoyance to many. We're not sure as of yet whether this is due to Facebook's service or with Microsoft servers. 

We previously had issues with Twitter notifications back in January, so this is nothing new unfortunately. Be sure to let us know in the comments, and join in the discussion over at our forums, should you be experiencing issues as well.

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Some mixed news coming out today from a survey of 2, 173 developers taken in late January by IDC and app tools maker Appcelerator. Developer interest in making apps for Windows Phone is at 37% which is just a 1% less than the previous report back in November--in other words, statistically it's the same.

That's good and bad. The good news is that RIM is continuing to plunge from 20% to less than 16% leaving Windows Phone to be the clear "number three" in the mobile OS space (when factoring out tablets). The bad news is even with the Lumia 800, developers are still not jumping on the Windows Phone bandwagon as expected (or needed). Despite this, Appcelerator says "interest remains high" for the freshman OS even in the face of unimpressive device sales to date.

The survey was conducted just days after the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 was announced, so developer interest in that device had barely had anytime to register for this survey (not to mention it has not gone on sale yet). Only 18% of those surveyed were interested in developing for the Lumia devices, meaning Nokia still has some word to do to sway devs that Windows Phone is worth it.

Interest in Android, however, did slip from previous quarters which lead the researchers to conclude that there's a “small but steady erosion” in developing for that platform, perhaps a result of fragmentation and issues with getting devices on par with ICS. Meanwhile, iOS is holding steady from previous quarters.

In the end, this latest survey reinforces what we already know: iOS is number one and steady, Android is a strong number two but slowly eroding and Windows Phone is in a steady-state with under 40% of developer interest. What is needed is a game-changer and at this stage, Windows Phone 7 may not be it. But to quote Yoda, "there is another"...it's Windows Phone 8.

Source: Appcelerator; via: GigaOm, ZDNet, Reuters

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While we wait for the AT&T Lumia 900 to grace our growing Windows Phone collection here at WPCentral, it shouldn't be a surprise that Nokia is already thinking about how to promote the darn thing. Their attempt at "carpet bombing" consumers with Lumia ads is called Operation Rolling Thunder and one of those strategies may be using famous baseball player (and current ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst) John Kruk in some shape or form.

We know this because the man himself tweeted as much yesterday, stating:

"In St.Pete, doing a tv commercial for Nokia, got to preview the new Lumia 900, very cool"

No other details were given, so we don't yet know in which capacity Kruk was used, but safe to say it's for AT&T and presumably the Lumia 900. Should be interesting to see what comes of it in the coming weeks.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Will (@h11wiscan), for the tip!

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We're both flattered and excited to see that our own WPCentral App has been nominated in the 'news & entertainment' category for the March Madness contest by Nokia Conversations.

A total of 32 apps have been pitted against each other ranging from Carbon to Plants vz Zombies to IMdB. Voting will take place through out the week for the various categories with 'games' going on now. Our app is up against All About Windows Phone, which should have an interesting result (voting is in a few days). The winner will be crowned on April 2nd making this an exciting two-weeks of voting and teeth gnashing for all who are nominated.

We'd just like to extend our congratulations to our developer Jay Bennett and Rich Edmonds (who handled the graphics), as well as a thanks to Nokia Conversations for the nomination!

Source: Nokia Conversations; Thanks, Residing, for the heads up!

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Please see the latest update to this story: http://www.windowscentral.com/follow-windows-phone-tango-does-not-increase-multitasking-app-limit-eight

Now that the Tango ROM has been leaked onto XDA, those members are going over it with fine comb to find every little change. Guess what? There are more improvements then we knew about in Tango, making us want it even more.

For instance, we know that even devices with 256MB of RAM will have app-switching via the Back button (see our last podcast). But going further, instead of just the last five previous apps being held in memory, we now can have eight apps stored in memory which is sure to make everyone happy. While just adding three more apps does not seem a lot, in practice we imagine such an addition will be very practical for everyday use.

Other additions noted are increased memory efficiency with just 122MB of RAM being used in the 8773 build versus the current 153MB in 8107 found on most devices today. Finally, MMS delivery confirmation/acknowledgement is there as well. While that last part seems kind of "meh", we know from experience that sending MMS is hit or miss depending on your network, so having a confirmation can actually be a good thing here.

Source: XDA Forums; via Windows Phone Daily

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Microsoft announced today in a press release that they've appointed Thom Gruhler as Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone. Gruhler, who moves over from the McCann Worldgroup where he served as global managing partner of Telecom & Technology, will bring both knowledge and experience to the platform to further develop relations.

At Microsoft, Gruhler will lead advertising, marketing and communications activities for the Windows Phone Division. He will also work closely with product engineering teams and telecommunications partners.

I"m excited to be joining an outstanding team at Windows Phone that has built an amazing product, which is starting to turn heads in a very competitive market. When you put a Windows Phone into someone's hands they love it, which is the ideal place to start as a marketer. I'm looking forward to working with the team to build consumer awareness and excitement for Windows Phone products and the overall brand"

Gruhler led a team of agencies that were responsible for the iconic "Can you hear me now?" Verizon marketing campaign that resulted in positive growth for the carrier.

We look forward to see what Gruhler can bring to the platform, for both consumers and the Windows Phone team.

Source: Microsoft

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