Windows Phone News

Verious Inc is a leader in connecting developers with components and services for mobile app developer and they have a strong presence with iOS and Android development. Today the company has added Windows Phone development to their lineup giving developers even more tools at their disposal.

What's this mean? Hundreds of pre-built mobile app components, open source projects, HTML5 components and SDKs are now available to Windows Phone developers. It opens up the pool of resources developers have to tap into.  Verious has reportedly worked closely with Microsoft to identify the most valuable components to help accelerate mobile app development.

As described by Anil Pereira, founder and CEO of Verious,

"From Metro-styled icons to charting controls and mapping tools, we’ve worked with Microsoft to compile the world’s most comprehensive catalogue of pre-built components, open source libraries and SDKs for Windows Phone development. Now mobile app developers can leverage these resources to get their apps to market faster—just as they do for other leading smartphone platforms.”

Seeing that Verious already has a presence with iOS and Android development, the addition of Windows Phone to Verious's catalog may see more cross platform apps hit the Marketplace.

You can catch the full press release after the break and find out more on Verious here at their website.

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In what looks to be another nice win under the belt of the Lumia 900, Nokia took away the top prize in DisplayMate's shootout of displays for tablets and smartphones.

The test involves shinning light on to the displays with various levels and then putting the screenshots onto their "Master Photo Grid" for direct comparison. For a more nuanced description, we refer to you DisplayMate:

"We photographed 4 Tablets and 5 Smartphones inside an Integrating Hemisphere using a powerful light source that uniformly illuminates the displays from all directions from 0 lux (Absolute Darkness) up through 40,000 lux (Indirect Sunlight), which is very bright. Direct Sunlight at noon is a blinding 100,000 lux."

We're just going to go ahead and defer to them on the science part.

The results have the Lumia 900 at the top with the Galaxy S just edging out the iPhone 4S for number two. There's no doubt that what contributed to the win for Nokia was their ClearBlack polarizng screen technology, which filters out the bad waves of sunlight, helping reduce glare and keeping the AMOLED colors super vibrant (some may say too vibrant.

In fact, DisplayMate said that Nokia Lumia 900 had the lowest reflectance of any device on the market, meaning that the ability for the display to reflect light and cause a glare was markedly reduced on the AT&T "hero" phone compared to the competition.

Overall, it's a great win and a great headline for Nokia.

Source: Displaymate; via: the Verge

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Back in January, we brought you the news of the first independent Windows Phone developer conference not sponsored by Microsoft called WP DevCon occurring October 22-24th in Burlingame, CA.

The listing and descriptions of the classes being offered during the conference hav been released and interestingly enough, there's a whole class on Windows Phone Apollo development. Seeing as the classes are in late October, perhaps we shouldn't be shocked that Windows Phone 8 will be discussed at length during such an event. But what makes it interesting is some of the details revealed.

The session is being led by Paras Wadehra, Principal Software Engineer at Good Technology and ex-Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft:

"This session will guide you on how to develop for Windows Phone Apollo, the new version of Windows Phone due out by the end of this year. You will learn the new resolutions needed to support and target Windows Phone Apollo, the new hardware you will program against, the changes coming to the Windows Phone Marketplace, and much more. There will be some code shown, which will help you migrate your Windows Phone Mango apps to target Windows Phone Apollo. The session will also help you understand the marketing aspects of apps targeting Windows Phone Apollo in order to help you get your apps approved the first time. You will also learn about the new emulator as well as new reporting features available in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

At the end of the session, you will be ready to write and upload apps to the new Windows Phone Marketplace. Please note: Knowledge of the Windows Phone Developer ecosystem is required. In order to appreciate the difference between Mango and Apollo, it is also preferable that you have developed at least one app currently in the Marketplace."

Since the session is in October and Apollo is mentioned as "due out by the end of this year" it sounds like we're still looking at a November or December release for the new OS. That's the bad news and contradicts some earlier rumors of a possible early October release (though schedule changes are certainly plausible).

The good news is the Windows Phone 8 emulator will already be out by that point and we bet it will be released in June when Microsoft holds their own developer conference in San Francisco. It's also the first real confirmation of different resolutions being offered in Windows Phone 8, though once again, this shouldn't be a surprise at this point.

Read the whole Windows Phone DevCon catalog here (PDF) and visit their site (www.wpdevcon.net) for more information in case you want to attend. Thanks, rutvik19, for the tip!

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The Lumia 900 is on its way to Norwegian retailer Elkjøp and is set for a June 1st launch. Priced at 4,290 kr, the flagship Nokia Windows Phone was previously seen on a terminal at the retailer where orders of each colour where spotted. This availability date is some time behind the expected shipping dates for UK retailers, which is probably a knock-on effect of the "overwhelming demand" of the Lumia 900 in the states.

The Lumia 900 is available to pre-order in black, blue and white, with financing options should they be required. Will you be picking yours up?

Source: Elkjøp (blue - white, black); thanks, the_Enlightened, for the tip!

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Arturo Toledo, a Senior User Experience Designer for the Windows Phone Design Studio who chose to leave Microsoft last month, has announced plans to finish the Windows Phone Design Series.  Toleda is set to turn the series into a free e-book.

More good news is Toledo plans to stay involved in Metro for the future, I guess we can't get rid of superb talent that easily?

The 31 “Weeks” of Windows Phone Metro Design series focuses on providing developers (and enthusiasts who are just starting on the Windows Phone development path) with resources to ensure app UIs follow suit and create a fluid Metro experience for consumers. One thing we here at WPCentral understand is that our readers (and the community as a whole) favours a complete Metro experience.

Should this series finally become available in free e-book format, it'll be the bible for Windows Phone developers. Exciting times ahead. For now we'll leave you with our no-so-famous Metro meme.

Source: ux.artu.tv

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First out of the gate from CTIA 2012 in New Orleans is the Samsung Focus 2. The follow-up to the (wait for it ...) Samsung Focus brings a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 8GB of internal storage and it's rocking a 1.4 GHz processor. And as was confirmed by the official specs earlier today, it's got a 1750 mAh battery. 

The Focus 2 actually is a tad heavier than its predecessor, but it's in a slightly smaller form factor. It feels decent enough in the hand. It's definitely got a plastic feel to it, which you'd expect from a Samsung phone. But, indeed, for an entry-level device, you're not going to be ashamed to pull this one out of your pocket. And it's always nice to see a dedicated camera button on the side of a phone.

Other items of note: It'll be available May 20 for $49.99 on contract ($19.99 on upgrade). We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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Readers alerted us to the disappearance of Pinsation, a third-party Windows Phone Pinterest app, from the Marketplace. While it has almost become the norm for apps to mysteriously vanish from public view without explanation, it was odd to see such a well received app disappear when apps with familiar functionality remain.

We contacted the developer of Pinsation, Daniel Gary, for any details surrounding the disappearance and were told something that sounded awfully similar to issues we've covered previously. According to Gary, Pinterest has locked down their API to prevent access from third-party apps on any platform other than iOS.

There problem occurs when you try to login to the service using Facebook or Twitter. In short, you'll receive and authentication error telling that there was an issue logging you in. The app spits you back to browsing the Pinterest site but you are unable to do so logged into an account (we imagine authenticated accounts, done by invite only, may still work).

Gary also mentioned that developers are working together to try and find a solution to this issue. For the time being you may encounter problems when attempting to use Pinterest apps on Windows Phone (or other platforms).

We'll keep you guys up-to-date with any further information we receive / find out.

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For those of you waiting to get the glossy-white Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T on Amazon Wireless, especially for that low price of $49.99 on a new contract ($19.99 if you're upgrading), then you'll be happy to see it's now listed on their site.

Of course that's the good news, the bad news is the phone is already listed as backordered. We're not sure if that's due it being just listed and stock hasn't arrived or it has really sold that fast, so you may want to start pressing F5 a few times to see it updates.

The glossy-white Lumia 900 (which we've lovingly dubbed 'the Stormtrooper') has quickly become the favorite choice for many out there only rivaled by the Cyan color for being so recognizable. Perhaps put some money aside and gift one to a family?

Check our unboxing video to check out this hot Windows Phone.

Source: Amazon Wireless

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Early today AT&T announced the latest 4G LTE Windows Phone to their line-up, the Samsung Focus 2. There wasn't much on specs available with the announcement but the Focus 2 is now up on Samsung.com with a full specs list.

The entry level Windows Phone measures 4.79 x 2.47 x .43 inches and weighs only 4.3 ounces. Comparatively, this is a smidgen smaller, thicker and heavier than the original Focus (4.84x2.56x.39 inches and 4.1 ounces).

The Focus 2 has a 4" Super AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel rear camera, VGA front, 8 gigabytes of storage, and a 1.4ghz processor. Everything is powered by a 1750mah battery.  On paper, the Focus 2 makes for a nice entry level Windows Phone.

The Focus 2 will be available in glossy white and will run $49.99 after contractual discounts. Look for it at AT&T on May 20, 2012 and you can sign up for email notifications over at AT&T's Focus 2 site.

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Although the Samsung Focus 2 coming on AT&T is not the most exciting phone out there for our more hardcore users, the device is certainly a looker with the glossy white and curved edges.

Microsoft's Ben Rudolph got his hands on the device about a week ago and gives it a thumbs up, noting that the 4G LTE and sharp 5MP camera make the device a good choice for many people. With a leaner design, typing is suppose to be nicer with no "hotspots" for hand-cramping and the 4" Super AMOLED screen should hold up nicely for most users these days, especially at a nicely priced $49.99.

In turn, he's thrown up a couple of photos of the new Focus 2 which shows off a nice design and we can even compare it to the original Focus.  Head to the Windows Phone Blog to see more pics.

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AT&T has announced yet another 4G LTE Windows Phone, the Samsung Focus 2 which looks exactly like the SGH-i667 "Mandel" we saw this weekend.. The Focus 2 will be available May 20th in pure white for $49.99 after contractual discounts.  The Focus 2 will run $399.99 off contract.

Spec wise, the Focus 2 sports a 4" Super AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel camera with 720p video capabilities, front facing VGA camera and is 4g LTE compatible. The Focus 2 measures only .43 inches thick and weighs in at 4.3 ounces.

The Samsung Focus 2 joins the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T's 4G LTE Windows Phone lineup and presents customers with an economical entry point for the Windows Phone experience.

You can catch the full press release on the Samsung Focus 2 after the break.

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According to a Brazilian Nokia blog, Microsoft has reportedly added over 300 games to the regional Marketplace boosting it from just over 90 games the other day. Most thoughts will now be: "wait, what?" and rightfully so. It would appear as though the Brazil Marketplace is restricted by tighter certification regulations than other markets. This requires a clear guide to be published on each title that is available on the Marketplace detailing censorship (much like PEGI) and approval by the Ministry of Justice.

Google with their Android Play market reportedly gets around this by hosting the content in the US and having it only accessible via web (and paid in US dollars).

We'd like to chime in with a quick search performed by us reveals that some of these newly added titles don't sport visible ratings -- The Impossible Game being a good example, though it's good to see more content being added for markets to download and enjoy. There's nothing worse than owning a smartphone, yet not being able to access the catalogue of content.

With the new additions, the Brazilian Windows Phone Marketplace now boasts over 7,000 titles which is a start.

Source: TouchNokia (translation); thanks Little Angry for the tip!

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We've reported in the past that Samsung was sitting on the sidelines during the summer with Windows Phone, concentrating on their new Galaxy SIII release for Android (which so far has garnered negative impressions). Devices like the Mandel (SGH-i667) are believed to have been canceled or put on hold till Microsoft is ready to update their OS.

That's not to say Samsung doesn't have a strategy, one that takes aim right at Nokia. According to the site SmartHouse who spoke with a Samsung senior executive, Samsung will be introducing at least four devices that span the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 spectrum come this fall. None of the proposed devices should be shocking as Samsung is one again sticking to what it knows:

  • 11" Windows 8 tablet
  • 14" Windows 8 tablet (+ dock and keyboard)
  • "Windows based Note offering"
  • Phone based on Galaxy SIII hardware/design

It's not clear if the Note device will be running Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8 (nor are we clear what the difference is yet either) but such a decision to offer such a design should not be surprising as the Note has sold better than expected. Coming in with a 5.3" Super AMOLED HD screen, the Samsung Note bridges smartphones and tablets in a form-factor suitable for literally taking notes on it with the return of a stylus. Throwing Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 on such a design seems like an obvious choice and one we wouldn't mind.

The Windows Phone based off a Galaxy S III design and hardware confirms an earlier story which suggested the same thing. Once again, this is what we expect Samsung to do at this point--recycle designs from Android to Windows Phone. Such practice allows them to presumably save on hardware, production and in theory, to have less issues as that hardware is already tried and tested.

Will all of that be enough to "take on" Nokia? Since we don't know hat Nokia is planning, it is certainly too early to judge but Samsung is not getting many accolades for its GSIII design with many calling it a disappointment. Though Samsung seemed to be on course to become a Korean Apple with their hit Galaxy series, the company had faltered with their latest Android phone and now many are wondering if have they really changed.

We're expecting Nokia to come out with some really cutting edge hardware this fall too, perhaps a 41MP PureView camera sensor for Windows Phone and even tablets. It will certainly be tough for Samsung to steal back that spotlight.

Source: SmartHouse; via WMPU

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There's a new Windows Phone game on the horizon and the developer is looking to recruit Beta Testers. Rum Run is a strategy game where you sail the high seas trading goods from village to village. You try to make as much profit from buying and selling rum, goods and food. Use your profits to upgrade ships and increase your fleet.

Rum Run reminds me a lot of the old Windows Mobile game Tradewinds which was a very nice game to pass the time with.  It will be interesting to see if the developers can match Tradewinds entertainment value.  Based on the trailer, it looks like Rum Run is on the right course.

Rum Run has made it to the third round in Microsoft's Imagine Cup and Turtle Games, Rum Run's developers, are looking for beta testers to help ironed out any bugs that are in the game. If you're interested, just shoot Rum Run Games and email at info@rumrungame.com with your Live ID and why you want to join the beta test team.

You can find more information on Rum Run and Turtle Games here at rumrungame.com

Thanks, Adam, for the tip!

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It's time for our weekly Windows Phone news summary, where we round-up all the stories that are worth reading should you be in a position of missing some headlines on the site. Before we kick off with the summary itself, we've had some insightful gaming discussion on our Windows Phone forum covering titles that have been published into our spotlight.

With all the issues surrounding the Lumia 900 since launch, we've asked the community what problems have been experienced through usage. To close off the WPCentral introduction, we've also announced the winners of our Lumia 900 Dicota Hard Shell Case competition. Head on past the break for the full run through of this week's Windows Phone news.

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Nokia: "We have identified the issue and will be addressed through a future SW update."

While we haven't heard any official details, Nokia support via Twitter is reporting that they have identified the purple-hue problem that is occurring on some Lumia 900s. The screen irregularity is very obvious and easy to induce: simply disable automatic brightness and turn the screen down to "low" in Settings. Doing so on some devices will cause the grays to look purple throughout the OS.

We reported on this and other minor issues for the Lumia 900 a few days ago and even polled to see what percentage of you are affected. The information and poll were passed onto Nokia engineers along with our defective glossy-white Lumia 900 (we received a perfect replacement in return). Curiously, only about 10% are having the problem which is still quite high but we actually expected the number to be higher.

Anecdotal evidence suggests than many have this problem but are unaware. For instance, reader Jordan M. had a friend try to find a Lumia 900 without the purple hue. In three corporate AT&T stores in Wisconsin, twelve out of twelves phone had the problem though no AT&T reps were aware of the defect. That could mean either the problem is more widespread or this issue is the result of some bad batches of phones during production.

Though we still don't know the exact cause, the problem can evidently be fixed through a software patch according to Nokia, which sounds reasonable. After all, the screens can do grays accurately, just not on low-brightness. That tells us it is probably due to a calibration issue with the AMOLED display or something similar.

No word on an ETA for the patch but since it's not a dire issue like the data-connection bug, we imagine Nokia will want to roll it up into a comprehensive update that also fixes other things like the non-functioning camera button when the screen is off, unresponsive capacitive keys, volume issues, etc.

We'll keep you posted.

Source: @NokiaCareUS; Thanks, Alex, for the heads up

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The Nokia Lumia 610 has hit the shelves in Malaysia at Nokia stores and other retailers. The 610 comes in four different colors and is averaging RM699 ($229).  The budget-friendly handset sports Windows Phone 7.5 Tango (build 8773), which is designed to run on devices with less RAM.

Inside you will find:

  • 3.7" screen
  • 800MHz CPU
  • 256MB of RAM
  • 8GB internal storage
  • 5-megapixel rear camera

Don't be fooled by the hardware.  The Lumia 610 is an impressive phone that offers the same style and quality of it's higher-end siblings. The Lumia 710 and 800 went on sale in the region back in February and the 610 looks to ride upon that success.

Source: Soyacincau; Thanks for the tip, Anil!

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Guitar Hero Mobile ($6.99), an Xbox Live title, was released over on the Windows Phone Marketplace back in October 2010. Guitar Hero Mobile ($2.99), a non-Xbox Live title, hit the Marketplace a few days ago.

Microsoft recently announced an increased effort to maintain Marketplace quality which included looking closer at copyrighted material. Is this a discounted version of Guitar Hero Mobile or a pirated copy that slipped in under the Marketplace radar? 

Our first impression is that the $2.99 is a pirated copy. First, the Marketplace description for the non-Xbox Live version comes up in Chinese where the Xbox Live version is not. Then you have the developer listed as Glu Games Inc. and it is the only title under Glu Games Inc.

Glu is the developer of the Xbox Live version but is listed as Glu. Glu also has other titles on the Marketplace listed in similar fashion.

Lastly, the Xbox Live version has a trial version, the non-Xbox Live version does not. It doesn't make sense for one to have a trial and the other not to if they were coming from the same source.

We've reached out to both Microsoft and Glu to see if we can get more information on things. We'll update the post should we hear anything different but for now, we'll call this one a risky investment of $2.99.  We recommend you stick with the original Xbox Live version of Guitar Hero Mobile that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, everyone, for tipping us on this!

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We just got a report in that the venerable (and underrated) HTC Mozart is receiving a Windows Phone "Tango" update. The news comes form the personal blog of Aviraj Ajgekar, who is a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft Corporation.

That puts him pretty high up there as far as credibility. What's more, he documented the whole experience noting that his Mozart (we assume un-branded) received no less than three updates, going from OS build 8112.7 to 8773.98 to 8779.8, putting it just slightly ahead of what we understand to be "standard" Tango or Windows Phone Mango, Commercial Release 3 (CR3).

The whole update only took a few minutes to download mostly due to the fact that "Tango" only offers a few fixes and updates to the OS (mostly around enhancing MMS).

No word if HTC is pushing this out for their other devices but we have a feeling we'll be reporting on this a lot more for HTC phones very soon.

Carriers are reportedly going to push out Tango in June while unbranded devices presumably will get it earlier. Nokia already has the Lumia 710 Tango ROM completed with internet sharing on board and we expect the Lumia 800 and 900 to get it as well.

Update: Aviraj has deleted the post from his blog and no one else is reportedly getting this update. Is yet another Microsoft employee being misinformed or was this an internal update for testing?

Source: Aviraj Ajgekar's Blog; Thanks, Joe (@astroXP), for the tip!

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