Windows Phone News

Motorola has been granted an injunction on Microsoft products being sold in Germany. The Xbox 360, Windows OS, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player will all fall under the ban, should it be put into place. The injunction follows a ruling claiming the software giant had infringed two Motorola patents required to support H.264 video coding and playback.

An official statement from Motorola reads the following:

"We are pleased that the Mannheim Court found that Microsoft products infringe Motorola Mobility's intellectual property. As a path forward, we remain open to resolving this matter. Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property."

According to reports, this is just one of several cases involving around 50 properties owned by the smartphone manufacturer. Microsoft has stated that should the software giant meet the demands of Motorola an annual bill would be in the region of $4bn (£2.5bn). The manufacturer has denied this claim.

A statement from Microsoft has been published, which highlights how the company will look to appeal the decision.

"This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web. Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise."

Motorola cannot enforce the ruling made by the German courts until a Seattle-based judge lifts a restraining order. This restriction was put in place by Microsoft after it claimed Motorola was actively abusing its Frand-committments (pact to license innovations required for widely used technologies under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms). A hearing is to be held on May 7th.

Source: BBC

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The Samsung SGH-i667 aka the 'Mandel' is one of the last Windows Phone that we have very little information about. It passed BT certification in January and then cleared the FCC in March but since it did not co-launch with the HTC Titan II and the Nokia Lumia 900, it is presumed that the Samsung LTE phone was canceled.

Now, two images have leaked out of the device, the first one you see above is the back of the phone and it shows a svelte, glossy white smooth rounded back.

The second image is a screen cap of the device connected up to Zune Desktop, showing the device name. The AT&T logo is prominent on the device and featured in that image which is pulled from Microsoft's servers.

The device also appears to be sporting only 8GB of storage (with 5.61 available) which tells us that this was probably not a high-end, flagship phone for AT&T but an offshoot of the Focus Flash, which also goes by the name i667.

Other than that we just don't have any more information. The images come by way of the site WPXAP and no other details were given.

Samsung has reportedly taken a break from Windows Phone to work on a high-end Windows Phone 8 device for the fall (rumored to be a Galaxy S3 knock off). Could the 'Mandel' have been skipped or passed over by AT&T or even Sammy? We may never know.

We'll keep an eye out though we know we'd like to add it to our collection. Samsung looks good in glossy white.

Source: WPXAP; Thanks, Talan1314, for the images!

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Canadian carrier WIND is set to launch the Lumia 710 tomorrow, May 3rd. We previously covered the rumours pointing to an early May release for the Windows Phone, and now those who have been waiting eagerly will be able to pick one up. The Lumia 710 is to be priced at a reasonable $259 without contract, or for $99 on the WINDtab with the WIND25 and $0 on the WINDtab with the WIND40 monthly plan. 

Emails have been sent out to early ordering customers with information detailing the upcoming launch, including the above pricing.

The Lumia 710 (see our in-depth review) packs a 1.4GHz CPU, a 3.7" ClearBlack screen and a 5MP camera - perfect for anyone who requires a budget Windows Phone.

Source: MobileSyrup, WIND

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Microsoft has released some more information detailing the Windows Live services for the next upcoming instalment of the software giant's operating system. As the company continues to move away from the Windows Live and Zune brands, Microsoft Account begins to take over with services such as Messenger and Hotmail being rebranded for easier recognition.

The UI hasn't been the only element of Windows to be redesigned, as one can see in the below table the Windows Live services will all be renamed to match the simplistic new approach Microsoft has undertaken.

Those who have actively used Windows Phone will feel right at home with Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos / Videos and other new branding that will be present in Windows 8. It's interesting to see just how far the services have come. Skype isn't mentioned, but we're sure we'll see more details as to how VoIP will be further integrated into Windows 8 and Windows Phone. We've also yet to hear more surrounding Microsoft's new music service.

"Windows Live reimagined" (check out the video on the official blog post at MSDN for more information) will see the Microsoft Account act as a key to the storage of personal information and settings. Simply connecting the account to a Windows 8 PC will automatically setup and integrate contacts, email, calendar events, photos, SkyDrive and more. The same experience will be present on the big screen (and tablet) as it is on the smartphone.

The future's bright; the future's the cloud.

Source: Building Windows 8 (MSDN Blog)

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Microsoft has plans to introduce a $99 Xbox 360 console package that will be accompanied by a two-year monthly subscription as early as next week. According to sources, the software company will offer the 4GB console package, which includes a Kinect sensor, at Microsoft Stores in the states. The bundle will be subsidised with a monthly fee of just $15.

As well as the console and Kinect, customers who make the purchase will have a Gold subscription activated on their Live ID Microsoft Account throughout the contract duration, and will be covered by a two-year warranty. There is likely to be an early termination fee for those who have the desire to break out of the contract prematurely, but how does the cost work out? Total amount comes to $459 ($99 upfront fee with a two-year $15/mo subscription) for the soon-to-launch package offer. But should you purchase the bundle with a Live subscription outright (without the offer), you'll be looking at around $400. 

Microsoft is targeting those who are keeping an eye out for a cheap entertainment centre. With Windows 8 on the horizon, not to mention a new music service, the software giant will look at more ways to attract potential customers to their new ecosystem. As a slight humorous side-note: the $15 monthly fee equates to $360.

Source: The Verge

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Nokia surprised many at the Mobile World Congress 2012 event in Barcelona this year by announcing a beast of a smartphone - the PureView 808. Boasting a 41MP sensor, coupled with advancements in camera technology and research by Nokia, the Symbian powered smartphone is set to be a diamond when it comes to snapping those memorable moments.

While the Nokia 808 is no Windows Phone, it's exciting to see how Nokia can stay in the midst of the competition with available resources. It has been confirmed that technology used in developing the 808 will eventually be available on Microsoft's platform (an extension to the exclusive partnership with Carl Zeiss reaffirms this possibility) - something many of us wouldn't mind witnessing. 

The Finnish manufacturer has published a press release (three in one day - not bad) detailing plans to start rolling out the Nokia 808 in select markets this month. The smartphone has received multiple awards, including Best Mobile Device at Mobile World Congress and Best Imaging Innovation for 2012, and also features full HD 1080p video recording (with 4x lossless zoom).

Would you be interested in a Windows Phone from Nokia that features such a camera, and will you pick up the Nokia PureView 808 just to see how it is? Check out the press release after the break.

Source: Nokia

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The Finnish manufacturer has announced in a press release today that they have filed patent lawsuits and will be taking on HTC, RIM and Viewsonic. Nokia has filed the patent claims in the U.S. and Germany, alleging that products from the three manufacturers infringe a number of owned patents.

Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Nokia, had the following to comment on the situation.

"Nokia is a leader in many technologies needed for great mobile products. We have already licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies.  Though we'd prefer to avoid litigation, Nokia had to file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed."

Nokia is reported to license standards essential patents to more than 40 companies, and while the manufacturer would prefer to avoid litigation; there's no apparent room for unauthorised usage. A total of 45 patents are included in the claims, which have gone to the ITC (U.S. International Trade Commission), as well as regional courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany.

Nokia proprietary innovations that are protected by these patents include dual function antennas, power management and multimode radios, as well as software feature enhancements that include application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device. Fairly "basic" stuff to the average consumer.

Apple and Microsoft are among a number of companies that have been actively engaged in patent lawsuits. With Nokia's continued struggle to regain marketshare, not to mention a pretty steep loss reported in the previous financial quarter, some would say it's about time the company started fighting hard. Check out the press release after the break.

Source: Nokia

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Nokia has announced an extension to their exclusive partnership with Carl Zeiss, which will lead to more collaboration with future smartphones. The two companies have been working together closely and their efforts have seen the N8 and Nokia 808 PureView (set to launch this year) come to life, blowing away the market with advanced smartphone optics.

Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices, had the following to comment on Carl Zeiss' contribution.

"Carl Zeiss was a crucial partner in the creation of the first PureView experience. The benefits of our ongoing collaboration will be more PureView innovation and further advancements in smartphone imaging in the coming months and years."

As well as PureView, the same technology has been used in the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone family. Since the Nokia 808 runs Symbian it's certainly an exciting time for those who await for Windows Phones with better quality shooters, especially as Nokia has since confirmed that PureView technology will be coming to Windows Phone since the demonstration was presented at MWC 2012.

Michael Kaschke, CEO at Carl Zeiss AG, followed up with some praise.

"When joining forces with Nokia in 2005, we wanted to push the boundaries of mobile photography. Looking back at seven years of successful partnership, we are proud of the innovations and outstanding products created in this shared journey. Today we are celebrating the extension of our collaboration with a new technology that sets another real benchmark in this sector."

What would you like to see from the two companies in the future?

Source: Nokia

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Does your Nokia Lumia 900 have any problems? If so, which ones?

We've had isolated but frequent reports of certain bug and issues with the popular Nokia Lumia 900. We summarized them in our previous post as they include things like purple-grays on the display, camera shutter button that stops working and issues with the device volume keys not working.

Check it out for more details and once you have pop back here and vote on whether you are having any of those problems. Note: You can vote for multiple items

Did we miss something? Have a theory on what's causing some of them? Want to just pontificate? Lets us know in comments.

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From purple screens to rattles to unresponsive buttons, the Nokia Lumia 900 still has a couple of nagging problems for a few of us. Here's what people are complaining about most.

The Nokia Lumia 900 seems to be doing well for AT&T and for some reason we can't leave our glossy-white one out of reach for long but there are still plenty of bugs and issues rolling in to our inbox at WPCentral. Although that data-bug is now history thanks to a quick response from Nokia these few, seemingly random issues are plaguing numerous Lumia 900 users. We'll go over a few:

  • Purple screen - Grays appear with a purple hue when the display brightness is set to low (or automatic and goes to low). Although it could be a software calibration issue it doesn't affect all Lumia 900s, in fact it's just a subset that are out there. Our own glossy-white Lumia 900 has this and it's quite obvious when on the low-setting. You can commiserate with others in our forum who are having this problem. Nokia seems to be trying to isolate which builds it may be and you can submit your device information in this Nokia help thread.
  • Camera button won't wake the phone - This issue is caused when the device is powered off/standby and you hold the camera button to launch into the camera app. It's actually easy to replicate: Run any app and leave it on screen then power off the phone. Now try to hold-n-launch the camera via the shutter button. It won't work. Turn the device back on, exit the app, go to stand by and now try it and it will launch. We've had it happen even without an app running under lockscreen. (Thanks, Sepatown for the replication trick)
  • Vibrate feature rattles - We complained about this in our 900 review and even have a video of it compared to the Lumia 800. In short, the vibration feature rattles to different degrees on many Lumia 900s often sounding like an electric razor. Once again, the problem is on some phones while not on others. You can follow the threads here at WPCentral and Nokia Support for more info.
  • Inline remote on headset issue - The Nokia Monster Purity headphones sometimes won't forward/pause a track. Also, volume rockers when the device is a sleep won't respond and/or require multiple pushes
  • Low volume is high - Even on "1" the volume is quite loud and doesn't start to vary till "7".

Nokia sure has a lot on their plate and we know they are actively looking to address these but the question is how much of this is firmware and how much is it Quality Control (QC) with the hardware? We should caution that not all Lumia 900 users are having problems but even Rafael and I both have Lumia 900's with "purple grays" and my vibration rattles a bit too.

We'll be paying attention but for now, you may want to read up in our "Official Lumia 900 Bugs List" to see what others are saying.

Update: Take our poll to see if others are having the same problems or not

Image Credit: tewmgd (XDA forums); See the vibrate-rattle issue demonstrated on video after the break...

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HTC has pushed out an update for their Windows Phone Sound Enhancer. While no change log is available to let us know what all the update accomplishes, it appears to improve the graphics lag.

The graphics lag appears when the SRS Enhancements are turned on in the Sound Enhancer and can be a little on the annoying side. The graphics lag wasn't present in every app, mainly the games that had greater graphics animations (e.g. Fruit Ninja, Line Birds, etc.).  We've never received official confirmation that the two are related but after applying the recent update, the lag doesn't appear to be present.

The Sound Enhancer has been updated several times and with each update, the graphics lag issue seems to get a little better. Maybe this update did the trick.

For those who have installed the update, see any changes?

Thanks, Yodani, for the tip!

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First the Windows Phone news on Skype. The app has been updated to version 1.1.0. It is our understanding the updated is mostly "under the hood" stuff to improve performance and fix some bugs. If you haven't seen the update being pushed out, as is the case in my area, hopefully you'll see it soon.

The other news on Skype is that it appears the Skype network has received a slight overhaul. Microsoft is replacing some peer to peer client machines with Linux boxes to provide a more stable and secure network. These supernodes will handle a significantly larger traffic load.

According to Microsoft the network improvements are a part of their ongoing commitment to improve the Skype user experience.

This has not changed the underlying nature of Skype’s peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture, in which supernodes simply allow users to find one another (calls do not pass through supernodes). We believe this approach has immediate performance, scalability and availability benefits for the hundreds of millions of users that make up the Skype community.

It's nice to see Microsoft invest in Skype's infrastructure. If you haven't downloaded Skype for your Windows Phone, it is a free app that you can grab here at the Marketplace.

Source: ARS Technica; Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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We mentioned Pac-Man Kart Rally was heading to the Windows Phone Marketplace on May 2, 2012. Well... it arrived just a wee bit early.

The Windows Phone game from Namco Bandai went live just a little while ago and brings all the goodness of Wifi Multiplayer to your Windows Phone. Pac-Man Kart Rally is the first Xbox Live title with local Wifi multiplayer which allows two players to compete against each other in the same room using two phones connected to the same network and two copies of the game.

Pac-Man Kart Rally includes ten characters, thirteen tracks, and plenty of power-ups and upgrades. There is a trial version available with the full version of Pac-Man Kart Rally running $4.99. You can find Pac-Man Kart Rally here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Keep tabs on the site and we'll have a full review up as soon as we can get Paul off the race track.

Thanks, Zebrasqual, for the tip!

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When you play every single Xbox Live game that comes to Windows Phone, it’s easy to become jaded. I mean, how many physics puzzlers and Angry Birds clones do we really need? Still, today I write about a genuinely exciting game that I can’t wait to play: Pac-Man Kart Rally from Namco Bandai. It comes out this Wednesday; and WPCentral has some exclusive details to whet your appetite.

First, a little history. Pac-Man Kart Rally originally debuted on older mobile phone platforms in 2010, including Windows Mobile and Blackberry. The title drew inspiration from Pac-Man World Rally on Playstation 2-era consoles, but was not a direct adaptation. In late 2011, Pac-Man Kart Rally received a serious graphical upgrade when it made the trip to the Android platform, exclusively for Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play handset.

Head past the break for the full scoop on Pac-Man Kart Rally's characters, tracks, and multiplayer!

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The Windows Phone User Group, a meetup that's organised by platform developers for developers, is changing for the next calendar entry. On Saturday, May 19th, the WPUG will be held at the same premises as the previous event, but instead of starting in the evening and only lasting the best part of two hours, WPBarCamp will kick off at 9:30 in the morning for a beer-centric 6 hours.

So who's invited to such an event? Experienced Windows Phone developers - ie. those with either an app in development or available on the Marketplace. The main goal is for Windows Phone developers to learn from one another to improve quality with end results for consumers. WPBarCamp will be held at The Vibe Bar on Brick Lane with nearest stations being either Aldgate East (London Underground District and Hammersmith & City lines) or Shoreditch High Street (London Overground services).

You can register your interest (and seat) at the next Windows Phone User Group meetup at EventBrite. WPCentral will be there to cover the event, so if you're an attending developer be sure to say hello so we can look to help with app promotion and reach, as well as possible interviews and reviews. Our Jay Bennett will also be providing a presentation that will cover his previous experiences on the platform.

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Clove has a monster of a deal for its UK customers. For the entire month of May, those who purchase a new Lumia 800 will get a free pair of Nokia Purity headphones, manufactured by audio powerhouse Monster. The headphones, which normally retail for £199, are designed to match the color of your Lumia, but surely you can opt to go two-tone if you desire.

To take advantage of this month-long deal, simply purchase a Nokia Lumia 800 from Clove, then follow the steps below:

  • Text ‘lumiamonster’ to 64446, receive text back: “congrats on Lumia purchase, wait 28 days, then visit www.lumiamonster.co.uk to redeem’
  • Visit www.lumiamonster.co.uk and enter IMEI number, receipt number, name, address, headphone color  preference and phone number.
  • The microsite ‘looks up’ original SMS from phone number to confirm 28 days has passed, if so, IMEI is validated (if not,you will be told to come back later)
  • Within 30 days, headphones are posted to you.

You can click the source link to view the offer or click here for the full set of terms and conditions.

UPDATE: This deal is not actually exclusive to Clove, but rather from several "authorized retailers."  We don't have a list of who those retailers are, so shout them out if you come across others.

Source: Clove UK; Thanks for the tip, Jon!

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Yesterday we posted a story from the Korea Herald that quoted an LG spokesperson saying that they were backing away from Windows Phone and putting their efforts towards Android instead. LG did say they would “continue research and development efforts” on Microsoft's OS but had no immediate plans for any new devices.

Today, LG has reached out to Pocket-lint to clarify the message and they're taking a strong position that the Herald, who literally quoted someone from LG was speculating:

"None of it is true. Korea Herald is showing its speculative side again. We are still on board with Windows Phone, but right now, we're focusing on Android because that's where the demand is. Regardless of which OS, LG is committed to offering consumers as wide a choice as possible."

Pocket-lint is reading that as a denial but call us crazy, we're not seeing to be that different from what we reported yesterday.

The tone of the article from yesterday made it clear that LG is certainly backing away from Windows Phone and the fact they have had no new Mango phones and nothing launched here in the US backs that up. In fact, when we were at Mobile World Congress we asked an LG spokesperson where were their Windows Phones and they said they had none, just Android (there was one but it was in Microsoft's booth).

To us this sounds a bit like LG spin mode and they're downplaying those earlier comments as just being too strong. It's not that LG is abandoning Microsoft and Windows Phone, they're simply just ignoring them for an indefinite amount of time while they focus on Android, where the money is. That's a completely different message, right?

But the real question is do you think we'll see any new LG Windows Phones in the next six months? We don't.

Source: Pocket-lint

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Ben Rudolph has taken a break from the Smoked by Windows Phone marketing campaign and kicked off a humorous Twitter competition that had users sending in entries to win a Lumia 900. To be in with a chance of winning, an ingenious caption had to be created for the above photo. Should the entry be original and witty then Rudolph would take it into account. Today, the winner was announced on the official team blog.

So what was the winning tweet / caption? See below:

"It took a heck of a lot of scrubbing, but I finally got all the cyan out."

Yep. We approve. That is a pretty good caption. Congratulations to @dnanian for the submission and winning a Lumia 900. Check out the #captionthalumia hashtag for more caption entries. Some good news that followed this contest is Rudolph stated that he'd like to do something similar in the future. Perhaps we'll see some more spontaneous marketing from the team to compliment the smoked campaign?

Source: Windows Phone Team Blog

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We all want to see quality apps and games in the Windows Phone Marketplace.  With that in mind Microsoft is working to beef up the enforcement of existing policies to keep the "quality bar" high with the Marketplace.  While policy compliance will be expected across the board, Microsoft notes four areas where the concern is slightly higher.

Trademarks: While trademark complaint investigations find that the violation is unintentional, most can be avoided. Microsoft reminds developers to do their due diligence in researching any potential trademark issues. Resource suggestions from Microsoft include the Marketplace's content policy and the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office.

Bulk Publishing: We've seen plenty of bulk publishing where developers submit hundreds of similar apps with slightly different titles. While Microsoft has reduced the number of titles a developer can submit per day, they are still seeing violations.

Developers are submitting the same app to multiple Marketplace categories (a policy violation). Microsoft's position, if a developer submits the same app to multiple categories, the app will be pulled from the Marketplace.

The other issue on bulk publishing that Microsoft brings up is duplicating the Marketplace title image with closely related apps. The title images can not be duplicate or near duplicates of each other.  They use this as an example of what isn't acceptable title images.

Keywords: Marketplace policy allows for a developer to submit five keywords for an app. The keywords are short phrase or word to help describe the app and helps with... well... keyword searches.

Some developers are violating this policy by submitting more than five keywords. Microsoft is beginning to enforce this policy not only with the number of words but also the relevancy of the words (for example using Skydrive for a recipe app). Any app with more than five keywords will have all the keywords deleted. Any keyword not relevant to the app will be deleted.

Content Policy: This may be the most challenging area for Microsoft to control. What some may see as acceptable, others may see it as inappropriate. Here's Microsoft's approach:

Our content policies are clearly spelled out: we don’t allow apps containing “sexually suggestive or provocative” images or content. What we do permit is the kind of content you occasionally see on prime-time TV or the pages of a magazine’s swimsuit issue.

Microsoft will begin reviewing Marketplace apps with respect to icons, titles and the content of the apps. They will be looking for more "subtle and modest" imagery and wording. Here are a few tile images that would pass certification:

Content not meeting the standards will need to be modified or pulled from the Marketplace.  Microsoft will begin reaching out to developers with more specific details on how to get apps within compliance.

It's nice to see Microsoft continue to take steps to maintain the quality of apps and games we find on the Marketplace.  Should you run across Marketplace listings that violate Marketplace policies, you can report them by emailing reportapp@microsoft.com. Include the URL with details of the issue and Microsoft will investigate.

Source: Windows Team Blog; Thanks, Sabita, for the tip!

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Windows Phone Hacker has published an announcement on the blog detailing the version 1.0 release of Folders for Windows Phone, a homebrew app that enables users to create folders for apps, and more. We previously looked at the app while it was in development, starting off as a concept that took off with community interest.

Some notable changes in version 1.0:

  • Bug fixes / UI changes
  • One application for all - enable root privileges for application selection, otherwise Marketplace searching will be used
  • Added tilt effect in folders
  • Pin folders to your start menu (root only - experimental)

Check out the video below for a quick introduction. You can download Folder for Windows Phone from the Windows Phone Hacker website.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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