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Windows Phone News

Manga Reader, a popular Japanese comic reading app for Windows Phone, has recently turned free - as in completely free with no advertising. Users are able to browse comics from multiple sources and download multiple chapters / titles. It's a full-featured client with favourites, orientation lock for reading in bed and zoom functionality, to name but a few features.

Some feature highlights of Manga Reader:

  • Multiple sources of manga series
  • Search titles on multiple sources
  • Set multiple chapters and title for download
  • Pause and resume download
  • Streaming of manga to read
  • Single or continuous viewer is available
  • Pinch and Pan to zoom
  • Double touches for quick zoom
  • Lock Screen feature to read in bed
  • Add manga to favourites and manage it
  • Library of manga for downloaded chapters
  • Recent list of viewed manga
  • Latest update from server as reference for manga update
  • Custom background of the application
  • Sort chapters in settings

Should you be interested in checking out Manga while on the move, you'll definitely need to have Manga Reader in your app arsenal. The offline viewing functionality gives the app an edge with expanding usage to commuting and when in roaming situations. You can download Manga Reader for free from the Marketplace.

Thanks, Jeremie, for the tip!

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YouTube Pro in disguise as SuperTube for Windows Phone

We reported last week that with Microsoft's new Marketplace policy enforcement, trademark complaints will be acted upon more quickly than before. As a result, all things Google are being pulled due to their use of terms like "YouTube", "Google", etc.

One of those apps was YouTube Pro made by Fast Code.

YouTube Pro was actually a re-launch of SuperTube, one of the original third party YouTube apps and one of the first to do HD and HQ video playback on Windows Phone. YouTube Pro superseded SuperTube, though Fast Code kept both up to date (each had a "pay" version in addition to free).

Now in a funny twist, YouTube Pro is gone from the Marketplace so the old SuperTube is back as their main app for video streaming. The app itself though looks exactly like YouTube Pro including the very Metro inspired UI.

There was a paid, ad-free version of the app but due to the YouTube Pro/Google complaint situation, developer Fast Code is now offering the paid version of SuperTube for free for a limited time. That means you can get some of the best YouTube features on Windows Phone not even for a nickel. Those features include some new stuff in version 2.3:

  • Lift restrictions of trial version on downloading and syncing videos
  • New Metro design
  • New channels page
  • New channel and message live tile. The front of channel tile will show the numbers of new videos. The back will show thumbnail of the newest video.
  • Add the subscription page after sign in on the main page
  • Fix bugs

That's on top of video downloading, video uploading to your account, HD and HQ video playback, comments, like/dislike and a Live Tile. What's not to like about this offer?

Go get SuperTube v2.3 for free here in the Marketplace. Remember, this is the paid version marked-down, so lock it in now for future updates.

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We ran across something interesting this afternoon where Romit Mehta over at Techie-Buzz noticed a Visual Voicemail prompt appear on his Nokia Lumia 800. Keep in mind that Visual Voicemail is supposed to be limited to AT&T's 4G LTE phones.

After entering the password, sure enough the Visual Voicemail page appeared on the Lumia 800's call screen. While it seemed promising, the voicemail page was stuck syncing new voicemail messages with no real functionality.

We tried this out on a Samsung Focus, Samsung Focus S and an HTC Titan and could not replicate Mehta's results. It could be a case where AT&T is testing the waters in select markets to offer Visual Voice Mail to non-LTE phones.  Then there's always the possibility a technician over at AT&T hit the wrong switch.

We really like Visual Voicemail and wouldn't complain a bit if AT&T did throw the switch and let non-4G LTE Windows Phones have this feature. Let us know below in the comments if you've seen Visual Voicemail pop up on your non-4G LTE Windows Phone.

Source: Techie Buzz; Thanks, Romit, for the tip!

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A lot of hay has been made over Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3/build 8773 of Microsoft's mobile OS. The update contains a lot of minor things and is mostly focused on compatibility with 256MB devices for emerging markets and low-cost Windows Phones.

Nokia is hard at work with updating their ROMs for all Lumia phones and in fact if you use Navifirm to check, the Lumia 710 and 800 are getting heavily populated with new Tango updates, presumably being readied for roll-out in June.

We grabbed one of those ROM, OS 8773 with firmware 12120 from Mexican carrier Telcel to see what it has on board. Presumably, these changes you see in the above video will also be on the Lumia 800 and 900 ROMs as well, so consider this a sneak peek. Here is what's new:

  • Call forwarding - forward your calls to a designated number for (1) all calls (2) when I don't answer (3) when I am busy (4) when my phone is turned off
  • Call waiting - enable/disable
  • SMS delivery confirmation* - on/off
  • MMS delivery confirmation* - on/off
  • SMS Character set - Reduced (no accents, standard SMS) or Full
  • Send MMS acknowledgement* - on/off
  • Internet Sharing (aka WiFi tethering)
  • Enhanced MMS - Send voice notes, multiple images, video
  • Nokia branded Marketplace icon

As you can see, some of those features are pretty great (especially Internet Sharing) but they're also not necessarily "must have" items either, making Tango a minor update, something we've been emphasizing for some time now. Still, Nokia has done a nice job here and we expect T-Mobile to roll this out sometime in June officially (just a guess).

Some of you may wonder if the OS feels any different (faster, smoother, etc.) and to our eyes, no, it feels exactly the same. Perhaps there are some optimizations here and there but we really didn't notice it. We should also note the MMS issues we had in the video are probably due to this not being a T-Mobile ROM and more over, Nokia pulled their Network app to be fixed  (it'll be back soon) so we can't configure our MMS gateway for T-Mobile.

If you have any questions, ask away in comments. And yes, we'll see about whipping up a tutorial on how loaded Tango on our T-Mobile phone for you 'leet hackrz out there.

* Items with asterisk were not covered in video

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Siri, the personal assistant found on the iPhone 4S, has been making headlines for Apple today, but for all the wrong reasons. The image above explains what's going on better than any words in this article. Should you happen to ask Siri "what's the best cell phone ever?", you'll be greeted with a surprising response. Not only does Siri choose a device that's not an Apple product, but it chooses the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. 

This result is produced by taking the mobile phone that's rated the highest by consumers and the cyan AT&T Lumia 900 just so happens to fit the bill. Siri found the above answer by using Wolfram Alpha, which lists the Windows Phone when visitors type in the same query. The launch of the Lumia 900 was met by an extremely high level of satisfaction from customers who purchased the handset, regardless of the issues that appeared.

We gave it a shot with Ask Ziggy to see what the Windows Phone Siri-like assistant thought of all this. Unfortunately, it appeared to be slightly smarter than Siri with leading us to a Bing SERP listing articles covering "top ten mobile phones", etc. Smart move Zig-meister. Smart move.

Does anyone find it even remotely humorous how the Windows Phone community (and tech media) have jumped on this story? At the end of the day, Apple can take something away from this - Siri has proven to be relatively accurate.

Source: Techtudo; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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An unofficial UK National Health Service (NHS) app has been released for Windows Phone. The app, in collaboration with NHS Choices, pulls down information and services for users to interact with. Integration with Microsoft HealthVault (see our review of the official app) is present should the user wish to connect to their account and retrieve / store personal details, local services and more.

Using NHS Choices, NHS services can be searched by name, location or by how close they are to your current GPS location. Within each service card are details including address, directions (opens Maps), contact numbers and website if available. Patient ratings are displayed, which can prove useful when choosing a nearby practice, especially with regards to waiting times and how patients rate resident doctors. As well as ratings, key indicators are displayed with how many patients recommend that service coupled with survey results.

Health A-Z uses content from NHS Choices to display condition symptoms and treatments within the app. A large number of conditions are listed, accompanied by detailed information, symptoms, diagnosis, causes and treatments for that specific condition. Using the app bar, users can locate NHS services that are able to treat the selected condition and compare them within the app. 

The latest news from NHS Choices is pulled down, and contact details of local NHS services can be pinned to the home screen. As mentioned above, this app connects with Microsoft HealthVault (optional) to securely retrieve and store personal details covering conditions, local services and more. my NHS is a perfect companion for anyone who relies on the NHS in the UK. With information for hospitals, GPs, dentists, opticians, carers and more, the app is up-to-date with information supplied by NHS Choices. Best of all - it's free.

You can download my NHS from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing.

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Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3 is the OS update everyone wants though very few know why. Indeed it brings only a handful of updates, mostly revolving around MMS options and geolocation icon. The OS update is mostly aimed at the low-end 256MB devices that are now hitting the market though it does give companies a chance to tie in precious firmware updates with the OS.

While the AT&T Lumia 900 sells with 8112 (CR2), everyone is anxiously anticipating 8773 (CR3). That OS update won't actually do much but the accompanying firmware presumably will (read: bug fixes).

Having said all of that the Finish Tango ROM (8773 with firmware 12140) popped up on Navifirm this morning and yes, can be downloaded. Does that mean it can be flashed to your AT&T Lumia 900? We wouldn't recommend it as down-grading the ROM to the proper one is not guaranteed. Still, we know many of you are anxious on this end so we'll see what the more ambitious folks have to say if someone dares to flash.

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Perhaps not too surprising, Samsung today has announced the Omnia M, a follow up to the Omnia W and obviously riding the Focus 2's mid-range specs.

The device is a ho-hum 1GHz  CPU with a 4" Super AMOLED screen and a disappointing 4GB of storage on board. It features HSPA at 7.2MBps which is even a low-end data, bypassing the much preferred HSPA+ or HSPA+ DC like on the Lumia 900.

It does have a front-facing camera though and the design, while reminiscent of every other Samsung phone especially the W, still looks svelte and comfortable to use.

Having said that, this is obviously Samsung's "Tango" phone, playing up against Nokia's 610 and the ZTE Tania, meaning most of you will probably want to pass on such a phone and wait for Windows Phone 8.

We're curious though how such low-end devices will sell. In theory, if this phone is offered for next-to-nothing on contract it could be a very desirable phone for those who don't yet have a smartphone. That's an important market and while it doesn't earn headlines, for market share, it's an important demographic to consider.

No word on release though we imagine it will be out in a few weeks. It's planned for Europe and "other regions".

Source: Samsung

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Nokia has announced on their blog today that the manufacturer is looking to start rolling out the Nokia Reading app for Windows Phone in a number of launch countries. We previously took a look at Nokia Reading back at Mobile World Congress.

The app, which enables Lumia owners to browse, purchase and read ebooks, will be launching on a country-by-country basis. The first batch of markets that will be able to download and use the app include France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK. Remaining countries will follow throughout the remainder of 2012.

As for the catalogue itself, the store will feature numerous localised books as well as major English titles including The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; One Day; and The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes. More will be added to the catalogue over time so fear not if you can't locate a specific book. As well as purchasing ebooks, there are also 'thousands' of international titles freely available for download.

Genre categories coupled with filters including 'top ebooks' and 'new releases' make it more convenient for users to search through the store and available content. It's positive to see Nokia tackling ebooks with its ClearBlack display used on Lumias, not to mention Microsoft's ClearType technology more effectively rendering fonts. Should you enjoy reading at night the app will use a black background with white text instead of black on white - this mode will also be more battery-friendly with AMOLED Lumias.

Updates for Nokia Reading are already on the horizon with features to bring a virtual magazine with RSS support, as well as provisions for audio books. Check out the following video for a visual representation of the Nokia Reading. Be sure to look out for Nokia Reading which should pop up within the next few weeks should you reside in one of the launch countries.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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Before you rush to your phone, it's not in the marketplace just yet! However I'm pleased to announce that the official WPCentral app v2.2 has been finalised and was submitted for certification 2 days ago.

So what's new this time around? We've been focusing on three key improvements: user experience, error reporting, and 256mb device compatibility. Most of these changes are a direct result of feedback or suggestions that our amazing community has sent us, so read on to find out exactly what's changed.

 

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The Lumia 900 is now available at UK retailer Phones 4u in black and white. Both versions are reported to be only available at Phones 4u until May 27th when other sources will be able to stock the device. Purchasing either colour today from the retailer will also see a free Nokia Monster Headset, free Nokia Play 360 speaker and free 12 months unlimited WiFi bundled with the Lumia 900.

The Lumia 900 is available from £21/mo (£199 upfront fee) with O2, £31/mo with Vodafone or £33.50/mo (£59 upfront fee) with Orange. Note that delivery for the handset on an O2 deal is set back until 14/05, no reason is supplied. Also, should you have pre-ordered the Lumia 900 before April 16th, you're eligible for free earphones.

After the delays we've witnessed in the states, it's good to see Nokia pumping out stock for high demand.

Source: Phones 4u; Thanks, Marco, for the heads up!

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It’s time to talk developers and apps again. Over at the Windows Phone Central Forums, we have spotlight forums dedicated to developer discussions on their apps.This week our developers have been putting out the good stuff. Here's just a sampling of what all is being discussed.

TalkBox for Windows Phone is soon to be released and developer gilmanyu is bringing it to us in the forums. What is TalkBox? Check out our review: TalkBox gets teased for Windows Phone This is what gilmanyu has to say about this application.

“TalkBox Voice Messenger, one of the most popular multi-platform messenger apps, is now bringing its signature push to talk feature to Windows Phone.”

If TalkBox is the app for you, then you won’t have much longer to wait.

WayTwoGood is seriously way too good and if you like daily deals this is the app for you. Developer Alkasai made this Windows Phone app and it aggregates all your favorite daily deal websites. If you like deals give WayTwoGood a try.

Birthdays Diary developed by lemonez is a nice utility app with a rich feature set. If you’re like me and couldn’t remember your Mothers’ birthday if your life depended on it then you need this app. This is how lemonez describes his app.

“Birthdays Diary is a great free app for browsing and managing your friends' birthdays. You can easily see birthdays coming soon or find the birthday of a particular friend. Birthdays Diary features a nice, customizable live tile, allowing you to peek at coming birthdays from your home screen.”

Fun Conversions - Fun with unit conversions is a new twist on an old favorite. This app by rbrunner offers unit conversions in a fun new way. I’ll let rbrunner tell you all about this app.

“Have you ever wondered how many ants would be needed to equal your weight? Or how many times one would need to stack Mount Everest on top of each other to reach the moon? Or how many times faster you walk than a common snail can crawl? If yes, Fun Conversions is the app for you”

There are many more apps available in the WPCentral Applications Spotlight forum.  Feel free to stop by and get you some application goodness. If you see something you like, help support our developers by giving there apps a try and post feedback on what you think of their efforts. Like it, don’t like it, let them know what you think.

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<a data-cke-saved-href='http://video.msn.com/?vid=e0aaf4ff-24c7-42a0-875f-40917489ea1b&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' href='http://video.msn.com/?vid=e0aaf4ff-24c7-42a0-875f-40917489ea1b&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Search with friends'>Video: Search with friends</a>

Microsoft is getting ready to overhaul Bing again and we like where it's going. The new Bing Search will integrate heavily with Facebook (leaving us non-users on the side) allowing you to quickly ping your friends, family and colleagues for tips, advice or to share your finds on the web with them directly.

In a way, it's sort of the logical next-step in search. Merging of social services with web inquiries makes sense and is the reason why sites like Quora have taken off .

The service just doesn't integrate with Facebook though as "social networks" is tossed around like the pop catch phrase it is implying that Twitter, LinkedIn and whatever Live can connect to today will also be on board. The system works by having a side panel that shows your friends' live stream, enabling you to quickly interact with them via the Bing Search page.

Clearly Facebook is front and center here for a few reasons, most notably the fact that's it the most popular of the bunch but also because Microsoft and Facebook love each sooo much it may almost may Nokia jealous.

Watching the demo video above, we can't help but wonder what Bing Search on Windows Phone 8 will be like. We have to imagine that this tight integration will carry over to mobile as well this Fall, giving Microsoft a new edge for search.

No word on when we can expect the new Bing to launch but you can sign up to be notified by clicking the source link. Question for you folks: Good idea or bad ? And do you think this will help them in their battle against Google?

Source: Bing (For US only for some odd reason)

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Two weeks ago we mentioned how Pandora altered their APIs resulting in all the unofficial Pandora apps for Windows Phone not working. At the time we mentioned that devs should be able to fix the issue with an update to their apps.

Although it's taking a little longer than expected, we're streaming Pandora just fine on Radio Controlled (beta) and we expect the same for the other apps eventually too. The developer of Radio Controlled, Greg Wenograd, let us know about this latest fix:

"This one was a difficult and involved update.  I have a feeling this update will be less impacted by Pandora changes.  If they change anything it will be sooner rather than later and I should be able to get any kinks worked out....If all goes well I will be submitting the final version tomorrow"

So stand by Pandora users as your fix should be coming soon. You can grab Radio Controlled here in the Marketplace and wait for the new, working update to appear in the next few days.

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Ready. Set. Code. The Nokia developer challenge, which we previously covered not-so-long-ago, will be kicking off this weekend. The 13-city hackathon will run through May and June, enabling developers (and teams) to come together to develop apps for Windows Phone. 

The Code Warriors are expected to be one of the pushes Nokia and Microsoft will make in their plans to bring big brand developers / apps to the platform. With Nokia forming partnerships with big-brand developers and companies to bring over official apps, this hackathon is a perfect way to get the community involved as well.

Event schedule:

  • May 12 - Columbus, OH
  • May 15 - Atlanta, GA
  • May 15 - Chicago, IL
  • May 19 - Sunnyvale, CA
  • May 31 - Houston, TX
  • June 2 - San Diego, CA
  • June 6 - New York, NY
  • June 7 - Boston, MA
  • June 7 - Miami, FL
  • June 12 - Dallas, TX
  • June 12 - Chevy Chase, MD
  • June 15 - Vancouver, BC

Check out the video parody “Dev City Kid" below, which kicks the challenge off.

Whoever said developers and geeks weren't cool? Should you be attending the events and have registered your place, you might be interested to know there are some prizes available. At each event, prizes will be handed out for the top 3 apps created, top student app, as well as most Nokia-branded developer. Apps will be judged on creativity, usability, technical difficulty and presentation.

  • 1st place: $500 gift card and Lumia 900
  • 2nd place: $250 gift card and Lumia 900
  • 3rd place: $100 gift card and Lumia 900
  • Student winner: $150 gift card and Lumia 900
  • Most Nokia-branded developer: $100 gift card and Lumia 900

We'll close up this article with some wise words from good man Joseph. Be sure to check out the Nokia Developer Eventbrite listing for details on the events.

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Nokia has been sending out invitations to the media for an event today, which will put the Lumia 900 and 610 on show at an undisclosed location in Sydney. Australia already have the 800 and 710, which will be joined by the flagship and budget Windows Phones to provide consumers more choice.

As the media event is on May 17th, speculations of a late June launch for both the Lumia 900 and 610 have already been published. A burning question will be if the Lumia 900 will be the 4G LTE or international version supporting just HSPDA+ DC.  The 900 sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 4.3 AMOLED display and a 8MP rear shooter with a 1MP front-facing camera. The low-end Lumia 610 features an 800Mhz processor with 256MB RAM, 5MP camera and a 3.2 LCD display.

Of course, Mobicity has already been taking pre-orders for the Lumia 900 for a few months now.

via: Techin5

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We've heard through the tip line during the last few days that the latest Tango ROM updates for Lumia devices features a slightly new Marketplace.

In short, the 'Nokia Collection' is being renamed to 'Nokia Market' on all Lumia phones, a move that we applaud ("Collection" never really fit). The move is accompanied  by a icon change for the Marketplace as the traditional bag is flattened for a more Metro look but also features a big 'n' logo emblazoned on the side.

The new logo can be seen in an unboxing video for the Lumia 610 in Vietnam at about the 3:25 mark

Certainly this is an unprecedented move by Nokia obviously done with the blessing of Microsoft. It also shows how deep the Nokia-Microsoft partnership can go with Nokia slowly but surely exerting control over the OS and user experience with the focus on Lumia and less on "Windows Phone". Even with all the advertising here in the US for the 710 and 900 the words "Microsoft" and "Windows Phone" are never mentioned, which is probably a good thing for now.

Users of the AT&T Lumia 900 should probably expect their Marketplace to be updated with a future software update which will most likely include Tango.

Source: Nokiapoweruser, XDA forums, Verge forum; Thanks, Dave S., and Simon G., for the tip!

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HTC Locations, the GPS app from the manufacturer, has now got a price tag for the app's navigation services. After introducing offline turn-by-turn navigation to combat Nokia's offering with Lumia Windows Phones, it was seen as a smart move by consumers. Unfortunately, now it seems the manufacturer either has other ideas or simply can't afford to keep the "free" label.

When running the app, users will be greeted with an option to purchase a license for maps, which enable turn-by-turn navigation. The U.S. pricing is $4.99 for 30 days, $19.99 for a year, and $29.99 unlimited. All of North America will cost you $9.99 for the month, $39.99 for 365 days, and $49.99 unlimited. Europe will set you back €49.99 and €39.99 for Eastern Europe.

Question being, what do you guys think of this move? 

Source: WinphoneBG; via: WMPU

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Nokia and the Windows Phone team have taken the "Dare to Live" challenge to Edinburgh and Glasgow as the next step on their UK tour. Like what we witnessed in London with the challenge being held at the Shepherds Bush Westfield shopping centre, the public are challenged by the team at common smartphone tasks. Should the participant win they pocket £20 there and then, but should they lose then a daring activity awaits.

In London there was height frightening tightrope walking, but Scottish losers of the Dare to Live challenge in Glasgow get to take part in a bungee launch.

Have you dared to challenge Windows Phone? Check out more photos on the Windows Phone Facebook page.

Source: Facebook (Nokia)

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