Windows Phone News

Which Windows Phone are you getting on April 8th?

With today's announcement of both the HTC TITAN II ($199 on contract, $549 off) and the Nokia Lumia 900 ($99 on contract, $449 off) being available on April 8th (online) and April 9th (stores), the question naturally arises: Which one are you getting?

We have a feeling that due to the hype, the Nokia will win here (and by a large margin) but the HTC TITAN II is no slouch either what with its 4.7" screen, 16MP camera and 4G LTE--heck, the original TITAN is one of our favorite phones -- ever -- so all of those "new" features look to make it a winner.

Anyways, you know the drill: Vote up above and tell us your reasons below. Go!

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We have just received word on the off-contract pricing for the new AT&T Windows Phones and it's not too bad.

Just to recap, the Nokia Lumia 900 will launch on April 8, 2012 for $99 after two year contractual discounts. The HTC Titan II will also launch on April 8, 2012 for $199 after contractual discounts.

Should you choose to get either Windows Phone without the contractual discounts, the Lumia 900 will run you $449.99 and the Titan II will be running $549.99.

The off-contract pricing gives you the option to enjoy a new Windows Phone without worrying with a two year commitment or if you're in the middle of a contract and don't qualify for an early discount.

All the while leaves us with one question. Which to get? Titan II or Lumia 900?

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As to squelch the disappointment (mostly of the tech media who care about such things), Rovio, makers of the popular Angry Birds series announced that they had no plans for the latest installment, Angry Birds Space, for Windows Phone. Later that day, the CEO of Rovio backtracked and said no, they were working on it.

Now even Nokia is getting in on the news by confirming that yes, the latest craze for outer orbit bird craziness is coming to Windows Phone. On their Facebook page this morning, Nokia simply note: "Finnish gaming company Rovio is working on getting its new Angry Birds Space game to Windows Phone platform too". 

So you can rejoice or shrug in indifference at this point, we'll wait.

Our feeling on this is that Rovio probably did not have plans to bring this to our beloved OS, but due to the public pressure (read: tech media flipping out), the company quickly changed gears once Microsoft probably stepped in (and maybe even Nokia). The fact that there's no release date in site tells us that this has probably barely begun to be developed, so while we can look forward to the title, we're not expecting it anytime soon.

Source: Nokia Facebook; via Plaffo

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We've read many complaints (especially in the comments and on our forum) that Windows Phone lacks a central notification centre, Apple's iOS being a good example, and we tend to agree. Toast notifications on Microsoft's platform disappear after a few seconds only to be lost in cyber space with the inability to view what has been missed. Let's face it - we're not glued to our phones 24/7.

Introducing a concept by Kasser Riaz (click the image for larger / better quality version), which looks relatively promising with how it doesn't look as though the simplistic beauty of the OS would be in jeopardy should an implementation such as this be carried out, unlike some concepts we've seen posted around the web.

As one can see when looking at the concept above, Riaz has provided an idea for how Microsoft and the Windows Phone team could create their own notifications centre (or "History") in this case. Keeping everything simple and clutter-free, swiping to the right on the home screen will bring up the app list as usual, while swiping on the left will land you at the notification history list.

As well as system alerts, messages and email notifications, third party app alerts are also displayed with a short description and the time stamp. It's not only a user-friendly way of keeping the UI chrome and clutter free, but enables the user to view their history of notifications in a Metro format. But would this suffice as a solution to a unified notifications centre for Windows Phone, or should we be looking elsewhere?

As a side note: what do you guys make of the wallpaper with transparent tiles and a more Windows 8 feel?

Thanks Kasser for sending the concept in!

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On the heels of officially announcing the Nokia Lumia 900's release date, AT&T has also released a Mobile Minute video on the new Windows Phone. We've already seen the 900's "Beautifully Different" tv ad but this latest video is more of a general over view of the Lumia 900.

Daniel, from AT&T's social media team, walks you around the Lumia 900 highlighting the design, camera and overall experience you should expect from the 900. The video simply affirms that the Lumia 900 is an impressive Windows Phone.  All of which makes the choice between black or cyan all the more difficult.

source: Share AT&T

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Ben (the "PC Guy") Rudolph has publicly addressed the disappointment of Sahas Katta, who felt slighted when the Microsoft employee he beat in the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge refused to accept defeat and provide him with his prize - a limited edition laptop worth $1,000.

Rudolph has apologised to Katta via Twitter and has stated he has a Windows Phone and the laptop prize for him. As well as offering a phone, the laptop and a public apology on behalf of the Microsoft Store involved, Rudolph also tweeted the following:

"I stand behind #smokedbywindowsphone wins (and losses) 100%...even when I'm not the one doing the challenges.  And always will!"

It's positive to see Microsoft at least attempt to set things right should reports pop up that their highly marketed challenges could well be staged. We'll never be 100% sure as to what actually happened, and have to take Katta's word for it, but shouldn't we expect some issues to arise when multiple employees are hosting a marketing stunt?

Source: @BenThePCGuy; thanks everyone who tipped us!

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AT&T has officially announced availability dates for both the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC TITAN II in a press release sent out today. The TITAN II is also set to join the 900 and be launched on April 8th, for $199.99 on contract. Should you be on the network and awaiting solid second generation handsets, the choice of the TITAN II or Lumia 900 is certainly an intriguing one.

The HTC TITAN II, a 4G LTE Windows Phone, packs a 4.7" LCD display, 1.4Ghz chip, 16MP rear camera, 512MB RAM and 16GB storage space. The handset is also heading to Telstra in Australia in early April as well, with some UK stores removing the original TITAN from product lists - we could be seeing a global rollout later in April.

Source: AT&T

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While we still haven't heard anything official from AT&T, CNET is reporting this morning that AT&T has told them that the new Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone will hit shelves on April 8th. The Lumia 900 will sell for $99 after two-year contractual discounts.

Earlier rumors had the Lumia 900 possibly launching on March 18th but then the rumored release date was pushed back. The $99 price tag might have been the only constant in all the speculation.

You will be able to pre-order the black and blue versions of the Lumia 900 beginning March 30th in stores and online. The white version will be available on April 22nd.

Still no word on the out-of-contract pricing and should we hear anything, we will definitely pass it on.

source: CNET

Update:  The official press release from AT&T just hit the wire confirming the above.  Beginning March 30th you can pre-order the Lumia 900 in stores or online at AT&T's Lumia 900 webpage.  The two year contract does require a minimum monthly voice package of $39.99 and a data plan of at least $20 a month.  Oh, and don't forget the activation fees are now $36.  You can catch the full presser after the break.

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In partnership with both Nokia and Microsoft, Aalto University in Finland will use an €18 million (a tad over $28 million U.S.) investment kitty set up by the two companies to launch an app development program. The program, named "AppCampus", will act as an umbrella for the development of innovative apps to take place for Windows Phone, Symbian and Series 40.

AppCampus will attempt to attract students, developers and entrepreneurs to the Windows Phone platform and help boost the quality of apps found on the Marketplace. While it's pleasant to see Symbian and Series 40 still receiving some attention from Nokia (as well as Microsoft with this investment), it'll be exciting to see how the program will affect the situation with Microsoft's mobile platform.

"Within the AppCampus program, mobile entrepreneurs can benefit from comprehensive support, training in mobile technology, design and usability, and funding to create innovative new mobile apps and services. Windows Phone Marketplace and Nokia Store offer local and global business opportunities to program participants via distribution to consumers around the world. Mentored by veterans in the mobile industry, program participants will be given insights and business coaching to help them commercialize their ideas while retaining the full intellectual property rights for their innovations."

With Windows 8 just around the corner, along with the "three screens" dream for Microsoft and Nokia's apparent tablet plans, we wouldn't be surprised to see development for Metro apps outside of the 480x800 resolution. Exciting times for developers and consumers, nonetheless. Check out the press release after the break.

Source: AppCampus, via: Gizmodo

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It's time for another Windows Phone Summary of the Week! The past seven days have proved to be relatively busy, mainly with software news and updates. Speaking of software, our official WPCentral app was picked for Nokia's March App Madness contest and we were up against All About Windows Phone - a worthy opponent. Unfortunately, we're saddened to report that we lost by 52% to 48%.

Moving swiftly onto more positive news, we have a brand new Windows 8 tablet category on our forum for all related discussions to take place. With Microsoft living the three screens dream, we thought it be best to cover everything possible (but not allow focus to be removed from Windows Phone). Be sure to head on past the break for the full summary.

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Don't colour us surprised if this is true to some extent as it's a simple marketing stunt that involves cash, but reports are coming in that the Smoked by Windows Phone challenges are sometimes rigged, or those who actually beat Microsoft's OS were denied their win / prize. Not only are relatively large sums of money involved, but Microsoft recently bumped the stakes to include a limited edition PC worth $1,000.

According to Sahas Katta, from Skatter Tech, he was wrongfully robbed of his glory (and brand-spanking new PC) by a Microsoft employee who refused to accept that his Android handset won. Katta went along to the Santa Clara Microsoft Store to give the challenge a go after hearing about the stakes increase. Using an Android handset with widgets galore to combat the Windows Phone live tiles, Katta felt prepared for the task that would be presented to him by the employee. 

"The Microsoft Store employee I was up against then explained the selected challenge. Her exact words were the following: 'bring up the weather of two different cities.' The one who could do that first would win. I felt like I struck gold since I knew I already had two weather widgets on my home screen: one for my current location (San Jose, CA) and another for Berkeley, CA.

After a three-second count down, I hit the power button on my phone and said 'DONE!' out loud. I had disabled the lock screen entirely, which is a rather awesome out-of-the-box feature of Android that takes you straight to the home screen with a single push of the power button. I didn’t even need to touch the screen, since the two weather widgets were already there."

According to Katta, having won the challenge by a mere few seconds, the employee turned around to say that Windows Phone won because "it displays the weather right there." Confusing indeed since that's exactly what the Android widgets did as well - they both displayed the weather 'right there'. After speaking to a manager and receiving bizarre reasons as to why he lost, Katta left the Microsoft Store empty handed. 

All we'll say is: it's not the first time a company has had problems with a marketing stunt, so we shouldn't be surprised if - in this case - the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge differs between employees, or is judged slightly differently. Though I would like to add that the manager should have handled the situation more professionally, if what Katta reported on had actually occurred. (And this is a big "if" as we're just taking their word).

Have you been to challenge Microsoft and Windows Phone in the challenges? If so, did you notice any cheating?

Source: Skatter Tech; thanks Sandy for the heads up!

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While we don't want to fan the flames much more of the whole "AT&T won't support the 8107 OS update" fiasco, we are getting quite a few tips (and complaints) that the mods over at the AT&T support community are aggressively deleting posts for seemingly no reason.

The support forums at AT&T is where the news broke that the company wouldn't not be supporting the Microsoft approved 8107 OS update which fixes the disappearing keyboard problem and other security fixes. Since the time of reporting, anger has substantially grown with many taking to Twitter, the Better Business Bureau and AT&T's own forums (we had 175 comments just to our post on the matter).

Starting last night, however, it seems the moderators are in "damage control" as some have put it and are deleting complaint posts without warning. Many users are noticing this because they get email notifications of responses to their posts, but when they check back a few hours later, those posts were "disappeared". Indeed, if you go to the message board, you'll see a few messages like this from Jamon723:

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In case you couldn't get enough of the Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T (and which is expected to be announced tomorrow), you watch this nearly 10 minute video of "Enrique" turning on and playing with the Windows Phone OS. This is the same fella from yesterday's unboxing video, so consider this a sequel of sorts.

The only interesting thing in the video is just seeing the device and screen in action, but the OS tour will be very vanilla for most of you who know your way around quite well. Still, watching the perspective of new user is always interesting as those first thoughts can highlight the pros and cons of the OS and device.

Source: YouTube; Thanks, Manoj, for the tip

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Though we're still a few weeks from release with the Lumia 900 on AT&T, that's no reason why we still can't see what the flagship phone can do.

Specifically we're curious about how that Carl-Zeiss 8MP camera performs, especially with the mediocre results from the Lumia 800 (we find the Titan to have the best low light performance). Turns out, Nokia seems to have done a bang up job with the camera as evidenced by some macro-samples found by My Nokia Blog on the forum NeoGAF:

We also managed to get a few sample pics for you guys with low light and flash -- what we consider a crucial test -- and the high ISO performance actually seems quite good. That last photo of the bear is in virtually no light. Sure the ISO is crazy high with heavy noise but considering the horrendous shooting conditions, that's not bad. From all the samples seen, the colors seem quite neutral and natural, which we prefer over the heavy saturation of other cameras e.g. the Focus S.

Looks like those waiting for the Lumia 900 won't be disappointed by the camera (although we are getting a lot of reports that the chrome band around the camera scratches easily, so be warned)

Source: NeoGAF; via My Nokia Blog; Thanks to our tipster for the sample pics and who wishes to remain anonymous

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Nokia Lumia handsets are all set sport WiFi tethering with an imminent update, according to a report by Plaffo. We previously touched on the lack of tethering support found with the Lumia 710 and 800, and an FAQ article for the Lumia 900 stated the two handsets should be receiving an update in the near future to activate said feature.

The Lumia 610 and 900 both reportedly support Internet sharing out the box, which was introduced in the Windows Phone "Mango" update. Should Plaffo's source for this news, who's employed by Three in Italy, hold out we should see Nokia work with carriers to push out a firmware update that will address the issue of not being able to create a hotspot with a Lumia handset.

We do not expect to see tethering enabled in any of the current firmware released, which all sport battery improvements. This is due to Nokia ensuring carriers continue to roll out new versions with important stability fixes and do not skip an update to avoid tethering.

Source: Plaffo

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Ah yes, unboxing the videos, the smartphone tradition that will go on forever, where we all gather around and remain transfixed on our shimmering screens like children during Christmas as someone literally takes a phone...out of a box.

We usually skip these here at WPCentral because even we have our limits on how much phone pr0n we can watch, but we'll make an exception here for the AT&T Lumia 900. Over on YouTube, a user has posted a video where he meticulously removes the much anticipated phone from its recalcitrant packaging.

Not too much more is learned, though we do see the micro SIM removal tool (which we have a closer shot of above), the super sleek wall charger and we notice how there are no headphones on board, which is a bit of a bummer. The packaging, unfortunately, is still very "AT&T" as opposed to Nokia's designs for the Lumia 800 but c'est la vie on that one.

Anyways, hopefully this will keep you folks satiated for a few more weeks till that April 9th release date.

Source: YouTube; Thanks, Manoj, for the tip and Michael C. for the SIM tool photo

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Are you a member of the Xbox Rewards program? No? Then you could be missing out on promotions such as this, which includes 10,000 Microsoft Points. Yes - you read correctly, 10,000 Microsoft Points. But that's not all. The grand prize includes a limited edition Xbox 360 & Kinect Star Wars bundle, Xbox 360 Media Remote, 12-month Xbox LIVE Gold Membership, Kinect Sports: Season 2, Dance Central 2 and Mass Effect 3. 

How does one get the chance to win such a prize, worth over £550? As mentioned above, you need to be enlisted on the Xbox Rewards program. Should you not have an account, it's pretty easy to set up with your Live ID. After your account has been verified, etc. all that's left for you to do is use your Gold Xbox LIVE Membership as you normally would. Purchase points, answer surveys, renew your membership, use services on your Xbox console (Sky, etc.), to name but a few.

You'll then be with a chance of winning some great prizes, such as the above promotion bundle. Should you require more information on the Xbox Rewards program, be sure to check out the FAQ section of the website (as well as the rewards table), which features a handy video walkthrough.

It's certainly interesting for Microsoft to offer such a large volume of points in the entertainment bundle as we've heard a number of rumours that point to the death of Microsoft Points as we know it in the future, which will be positive news for many gamers. How Microsoft will carry out the transition from what would most probably be points to actual local currency is yet to be seen. That aside, 10,000 points, an Xbox 360 Console and 12 months worth of Gold membership is an intriguing prize alone.

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We don't have a Windows 8 tablet just yet but they are coming soon. What we do have is plenty to talk about and where better to discuss all things Windows 8 Tablet than here at WPCentral? Come join us in the Windows Phone Central Forums where we are preparing for full support of all the new Windows 8 tablets. Our Tablets Discussion and Upcoming and Rumored Tablets forums are live and filling up fast.

Some of the more popular threads in our Tablets Discussion area are threads like "Will you get a Windows 8 tablet?" (Take the poll) and "How Windows 8 Tablets Could Seriously Challenge the iPad".

Likewise, in our Upcoming and Rumored Tablets forum the most popular thread is our "Nokia to launch Windows 8 tablet later this year"

We have lots to learn about Windows 8 Tablets and WPCentral will be in on the ground floor breaking all the news and covering it all.

Remember, the forums are more fun when you register, so sign up today.

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So far, custom ROMs for so-called Gen 2 devices like the HTC Titan and Radar are nonexistent. This has to do with changes to the bootloader which has proved to be a difficult beast to unlock and therefore, reflash a new ROM onto. As a result, devices like the HD7 and even the HD2 are getting some of the latest, cutting edge OS builds while Gen 2 devices are left waiting with official releases.

That may (we stress, may) all be changing as the Dark Forces Team (DFT) are reportedly working on getting those custom ROMs for the Titan and Radar, or so says Cotulla (@CotullaCode) who recently tweeted "DFT team is working under ability to flash custom ROMs for Omegenka and Titanchik"

Nothing else was revealed like an ETA or progress of such a project, but honestly what more can we ask other than those fine DFT folks at least try to work on this? DFT has made a lot of headway in making custom ROMs for Windows Phones in the past (and even for Samsung devices), so if any group can do this, it'll be them.

We'll keep you posted if and when any developments occur.

Source: @CoutllaCode; via Windows Phone Hacker

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