Windows Phone News

We're going to batten down that hatches on this one for the comment storm that is sure to follow, but at least according to an AT&T Community Manager, the company is not planning on supporting the famed 8107 Windows Phone OS update. That's the one that fixes the super frustrating "disappearing keyboard" bug as well as some other security fixes.

The word comes from Jamileh, a Community Manager on the official AT&T support forums. In response to an ongoing discussion about the update and whether or not it will be coming, Jamileh finally chimed in today with what sounds like a definitive answer:

"I got some news about the Windows Phone 8107 update and wanted to share it with you all. We are not currently planning to offer the Windows 8107 update. I don’t have any additional information right now. If and when I get details, I will update the thread."

While we can leave some wiggle room here for the company (Jamileh does work for AT&T but obviously is not an official PR person), her response does sound like a fairly black and white one with little room for reinterpretation.

Of course this raises all sorts of questions e.g. is it because they are opting for the bigger "Tango" update which would be a legitimate delay (why role out 8107 when you you have build 87xx coming in a a month?) or is it because they just don't have any immediate plans to update their current lineup? For now, we're going to assume that AT&T won't be supporting 8107 but we're not ready to get the pitchforks out yet either.

Hopefully AT&T will chime in sooner than later to give some respite to worrying customers who have a lot invested in their Windows Phone.

Source: AT&T Community Forums; Thanks, Sheeds (WPDownUnder) and Bill J., for the heads up

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The Lumia 900 is available unlocked in white on eBay for £499, with an availability date of April 9th. The seller is sunnydayshopping, who has a positive rating history, and the location is Manchester, UK. Bands supported are: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 and HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100. An unlocked international version of the handset was previously available on eBay from the U.S. not so long ago for the same price.

The Lumia 900 is also destined for AT&T on April 9th, when we'll expect consumers will be able to get their hands on the device, which sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 1830mAh battery, 4.3" AMOLED ClearBlack display and 8MP shooter (with FF camera).

Three have been sold already, so be sure to check out the listing should you be interested in the high-end Windows Phone. Of course, WPCentral cannot take any responsibility for your purchases on eBay, and we always recommend caution.

Source: eBay; thanks hamza for the tip!

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There has been a lot of talk today about Angry Birds Space and whether or not it will find it's way to the Windows Phone platform (see our earlier post). First we had reports from Bloomberg that Rovio were not bringing the new fowl-flinging iteration of the game to Microsoft's platform, information received from Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's chief marketing officer. Analyst Richard Windsor speculated this meant that Rovio may not have confidence in Windows Phone looking into the future, more on that shortly.

However, the story has since been contradicted by Rovio's CEO, Mikael Hed as quoted on Reuters:

"We are working towards getting Angry Birds Space to WP7"

Whilst Mr. Hed's statement is somewhat lacking in detail one would be inclined to believe that the CEO's position on the company's intentions would be the more reliable source. No release date or expected time of arrival has been communicated.

Here at WPCentral we've been discussing this story in some detail, particularly around suggestions from the Bloomberg article that the lack of Angry Birds on Windows Phone would make it difficult for Nokia to "attract gaming-oriented users and persuade developers that [Windows Phone] is growing".

It's an interesting point, can one app make or break Windows Phone alone? The answer of course is no, but it is a very important game which will be seen as important to the average phone owner. Whether you're a fan of Angry Birds or not, the game is huge, successful and a marked influence in the rise of Smartphone popularity. Just look at what Rovio can afford to do for publicity:

Angry Birds Space is the first major innovation the game has seen since the original version found it's way on to mobile screens everywhere. The game is superb, new gravity mechanics genuinely do create a completely different experience to the game, this time it's not just some new textures or types of bird, it's an almost entirely new way to play.

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Nokia UK announced a new TV advertisement for the Lumia 800 today, which follows the recently unveiled U.S. Lumia 900 commercial with the "Beautifully Different" theme. The video focuses more on the visual appeal of the Windows Phone itself and how live tiles can help the consumer.

This could be the beginning of the second wave of marketing from Nokia. We've become used to seeing "The Amazing Everyday" campaigns on a global scale, so perhaps it's time for something different to keep interest peaked? We do agree with the new advertising though - Windows Phone (especially the Lumia handsets) are "beautifully different".

Source: YouTube

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For those curious as to what OS version the AT&T Lumia 900 was shipping with, wonder no more. It is version 8112 which is just a few builds higher than the current release of 8107, an update that brought the much needed keyboard and security fixes to the OS. That release started rolling out last month to numerous phones and is currently still being pushed out to devices as we speak.

Likewise, the firmware for the AT&T Lumia 900 is at 12082, which is slightly higher than the 12070 firmware that dramatically addresses current battery issues on the Lumia 800 and bug fixes on the Lumia 710.

What makes 8112 OS build interesting is that it's not Windows Phone "Tango" which is thought to start around build 8731 and is shipping at 8773 in China. In fact, even the Lumia 610 has 8763 (thought to be a beta build) which was back at Mobile World Congress.

So what does that mean for AT&T users? Not too much as Tango is mostly an under-the-hood optimization release for those low-end devices that only have 256 MB of RAM. But Tango does have some goodies on board, including a more robust MMS client (multiple picture support, read receipt, voice notes and video) and the GPS-location icon, not to mention any other smaller tidbits we may have to uncover.

In the end, Lumia 900 users will get a solid OS though with no keyboard bug and 4G LTE support which should be good enough for most. It of course will be interesting to see what updates the phone gets though in the coming months.

Thanks, Jeffery B., for the photo!

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To celebrate the launch of the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 in Brazil this week, Nokia has teamed up with Microsoft to host the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge. Although the presentation is in native tongue, most of us can still follow the cheesy music and the humiliation of challengers.

It has been relatively quiet on the Brazilian front with Windows Phone, but both the Lumia 710 and 800 are now officially available for purchase. 

Via: Microsoft Insiders Brasil; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Telerik, the company behind the RadControls suite for Windows Phone Developers, has released an interesting update to their software. The introduced RadHubTile will enable developers to create live tiles within their application (just like the home screen) to further increase the good looks meter.

There are a number of hub tile classes available, which include: RadHubTile, RadMosaicHubTile, RadSlideHubTile, RadPictureRotatorHubTile and RadCustomHubTile. More information about each class is available in the Telerik blog article, do check out some of these supported tile effects in the below video demo. 

RadControls for Windows Phone is a suite for developers that will set you back by about $99 ($1,200 for the full bulk - .NET controls, analysis & data tools, etc.), although there is a free trial available. While it's pretty expensive for the odd garage developer, the results can be absolutely stunning (just look at Tasks - a free todo app by Telerik).

Source: Telerik Blog

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While Nokia appears to be on an OEM app updating spree, the Finnish manufacturer has also included their Nokia Music app for Windows Phone, which has now been bumped to version 2.0. This follows both Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive that were both recently updated.

Nokia Music enables Lumia Windows Phone owners to listen to genre mixes, and is the manufacturer's attempt to provide consumers with a solution should Zune not be readily available. The said mixes are available to play offline and can be pinned to the home screen for convenient access. Background playback is supported, but there are some limitations such as the inability to rewind the mix, it's best to think of this app as a personal radio.

The mixes are updated every so often with new tracks included and the best part of the service is it's completely free. "Progressive downloading" is taken to the next level with the included functionality for "Music DNA" to scan your PC library and tailor the mixes to your personal taste. If you'd like to have even more control over what content is available to you, you can even select individual artists for the app to take into account.

As well as streaming and personalisation options, we have a gig finder, which will search for local gigs near to your location, and access to the Nokia Music Store where the latest hits are on sale. Although it's well suited for emerging markets, Nokia Music is a superb music streaming app that would fulfill the needs of a daily commuter, or someone who enjoys music but doesn't wish to pay for a Zune Pass.

As for version 2.0 - we've reached out to Nokia for the update change log, but unfortunately it appears as though only UI and audio improvements are included. Be sure to let us know in the comments should you find anything. You can download Nokia Music from the Marketplace on your Lumia Windows Phone (not available in the U.S.).

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The Lumia 900 AT&T 4G Windows Phone has been spotted in an advertisement that we've not yet come across. What makes this different than the countless other videos we've already covered? It's a unique approach to show off the award winning polycarbonate design, with an emphasis on being "beautifully different" when compared to other handsets. This seems to be the new tag-line for the flagship phone as AT&T is also using it on their webpage for the device.

The AT&T 4G Windows Phone is set to launch on April 9th in retail stores, where consumers will finally be able to pick up their own Lumia 900. Nokia and the U.S. carrier are prepping everything for the release, so we expect the dates to be relatively accurate for early April.

Source: YouTube; thanks Ellis for the heads up!

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To celebrate the launch of the Lumia 800 in Denmark, Nokia and carrier Telia have teamed up to pull off an interesting stunt - the "Human Keyboard". We've previously seen the scale of the country's Lumia handset launch with an event being held in Copenhagen back in January, but it's good to see carrier support added in.

The Human Keyboard features a keyboard mat laid out on the pavement in front a store. We then have five musicians stood in the store window who play corresponding music notes with instruments in the attempt to match the members of public who step on the mat.

Of course, you'd have to have some fun and try to trick the musicians, which is exactly what we see in the above video. You can purchase the Lumia 800 in cyan at the Telia online store.

Source: YouTube; thanks Ellis for the tip!

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Microsoft's ever increasingly famous marketing campaign, Smoked by Windows Phone, is really stepping up the game by improving the $100 prize for beating a Windows Phone with a competitor handset. The challenge, which originated at CES 2012 where Ben (the 'PC Guy') Rudolph began taking on smartphones from other platforms (the iPhone, Android and Blackberry handsets), puts handsets against one another to see which is more efficient at common smartphone tasks.

Those who lose against the Windows Phone have to publicly announce their defeat, "I've been smoked by a Windows Phone", but for those who manage to best Microsoft's OS, they're handed $100. Things are heating up as Microsoft has raised the reward to $1,000. Yes, $1,000. But not in cash.

Should you manage to beat a Windows Phone in the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge at the participating Microsoft Stores, you'll walk away with a Hunger Games Special Edition PC, valued at $1,000, to celebrate the release of the upcoming film. What if you lose? You can swap your smartphone for a Windows Phone (excluding the Lumia 800), right there, right then. It's a "win win" situation.

The challenge will close on March 29th, opening times are from 9am - 10pm. Be sure to read the official rules.

Source: Microsoft Store, via: Down Right Wireless; thanks SeNiLe911 for the tip!

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Microsoft has announced the opening of AppHub submissions to the 23 new countries added to the pool of support. Developers in these countries (and beyond) will be able to submit their work to the localised Marketplaces, which will open up to consumers in the near future.

To recap on the newly added countries: Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam. The total number of supported markets is now at a respectable 63.

A quick reminder to developers - it's now reportedly taking more than 7 days to approve Marketplace submissions. Something to consider when keeping to announced release dates.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

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We've heard numerous times that the Nokia Lumia 900 will be a "hero" device for AT&T, a term that is unfamiliar for many who are not in the business of smartphones. Here, the usage refers to AT&T promoting the Lumia 900 on the level of the Apple iPhone meaning we should expect a very intensive media campaign for the flagship Nokia device and it taking center stage on one of the largest carriers in the US.

One way to do that is to put the phone in the hands of those on the front lines -- the sales reps at the AT&T stores. More information has rolled in over the last few hours since we broke the April 9th street date for the 900. First, we know that the phones started arriving at AT&T stores over the last two days and that employee training on the Windows Phone OS (and this specific hardware) will take place on March 26th, April 6th and 7th at those outlets.

Next is the big news: AT&T has designated the Nokia Lumia 900 for 'Company Use' meaning all Front Seller employees are eligible to receive the phone at no cost. The trade off is though is that employees have to turn in their current 'Company Use' phones, namely the iPhone and certain Android devices.

You read that right: Nokia is paying, we hear up to $25 million, for AT&T employees to exclusively use the Lumia 900 instead of the iPhone and Android. Nokia is expecting more than 80% of employees to be using their flagship Windows Phone for participation in the CU program (employees can opt to use any phone they want at a discount, but CU phones are provided for free), which should go a long way in convincing those employees the merits of the OS, resulting in positive word of mouth and high sales.

So why is AT&T so keen on promoting Windows Phone, specifically the Nokia Lumia 900? Sure, there is money involved but in addition but we're told that the feeling at AT&T is that the company is trying to get away from being "the iPhone carrier" and are looking to differentiate their lineup from their competition. The Lumia 900 is a device they can get behind to do that -- not just because of the financial incentive, but because this phone represents a real chance for the fledgling OS to shine. That should sit well with many of you who are worried about the fate of Microsoft's mobile OS.

Oh and before we close out, we're also told that the HTC TITAN and Samsung Focus S are to be put on the End of Life (EOL) list, meaning their future availability will be phased out from current inventory without being replenished. (Well, there had to be some bad news, right?)

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As if the world is watching, AT&T just threw up an official "Coming Soon" page for the Nokia Lumia 900. The page doesn't have a street date nor pricing but does feature the main selling points of the device including the ClearBlack 4.3" screen, Carl-Zeiss camera optics and the "stunning" look and feel of the phone.

Combined with today's earlier news of an April 9th street date, it should be obvious now that AT&T and Nokia have given the green light for this device to launch in the very near future. We expect more news of the coming days so stay tuned.

Source: AT&T, Thanks, Shelby M., for the heads up!

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We first told you that AT&T was planning on an April 8th (online) and 9th (stores) release for the Lumia 900 and sure enough, it's accurate. Since that report we've had numerous tips from store employees on the matter all stating the same dates, so we think it's safe to call it now.

Reader David just returned from an AT&T store where an employee had both phones (black and cyan, see above) to toy with. Here are his thoughts:

"Also, the matte finish on the back cover makes the phone feel SUPER nice in hand and you only notice the 4.3" screen with one-handed use.  Also, with its' rectangular corners and flat front/back panels, the pocket is a really nice place for it to go about the day with you. Nokia did a really awesome job with this one and I can't wait for April 9 to get here!"

Indeed. From our hands on experience (see here), the Lumia 900 is set to impress and with the April 9th launch date confirmed, it should be an exciting Easter for many of you, so long as you start saving your pennies now.

The Nokia Lumia 900 features a 4.3" AMOLED screen, 1.4GHz CPU, 1830mAh battery (non-replacable), 16GB of storage, 8MP rear and 1.3MP front cameras with 4G LTE support. It is expected to sell for $99 on contract. Online orders should start Sunday, April 8th with in-store availability April 9th. No word on full-price yet.

Thanks, David, M., for the tip

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Microsoft has kicked off "Project Detroit", a concept car using various connected technologies including Windows Phone to give developers ideas for next generation automobiles.

Currently, Microsoft has embraced the SYNC/OVO system which curiously has little Windows Phone support at all. However, they are looking to change that with Project Detroit which extends Microsoft's vision for an all-connected future. The project is built off of Ford SYNC but it incorporates just about everything Microsoft has control over including Kinect for Xbox 360, Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, and Bing.

The demo car should also raise some eyebrows for fellow car enthusiasts:

"To create Project Detroit, a 2012 Ford Mustang with a 1967 fastback body, Microsoft teamed up with Ryan Friedlinghaus, an award-winning automotive designer based in Corona, Calif., and star of the Discovery Channel's Velocity network reality TV series "Inside West Coast Customs."

Just as exciting is the Windows Phone app that was created to control everything in the car,

"Using a Windows Phone, remotely watch and listen to the live video stream and audio from the Kinects embedded in Project Detroit. From this same application, your Windows Phone becomes like a microphone for the car’s external audio PA system."

More impressive is the ability to control other added functionality to the car including the accent lighting, the horn sound “ringtone”, activating the “projector screen” and sending a message to the rear windshield all using the Windows Phone app.

While such a car-system is merely for demonstration purposes, it really sets the imagination on fire thinking of all the different things one could do with a car (and some money). We don't imagine Ford or other car companies will be throwing all of these technologies in the car in the near future, but safe to say system like Microsoft Kinect as they become miniaturized will be inserted into more and more everyday applications. Likewise, with Windows 8 running on ARM processors, the ability to transplant these various systems should be easier as time goes on.

To see "Project Detroit" in action, tune into Inside West Coast Customs Sunday, March 25 at 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT).  We'll try to bring you the video when it goes up.

Source: Microsoft; Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

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Nokia handed Jed Cullen, professional skateboarder, a Lumia 900 to use around Barcelona in a marketing stunt. The above video follows on from Pip Andersen free running around the city, and shows Cullen using numerous features including Zune, Bing Search and Tango (video conferencing). 

Taking the Lumia 900 to the extreme, how far could you push wielding the Windows Phone?

Source: YouTube

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Microsoft and Nokia are set to launch the Chinese Lumia 800 ("Lumia 800c") earlier than planned, according to an insider informed WPDang article. The Windows Phone platform itself officially launched yesterday with the goal of regaining markshare by releasing "Tango" and hardware from the likes of Nokia, HTC (Triumph) and ZTE (Orbit/Mimosa). 

The Lumia 800c is a CDMA variant of the Lumia handset (think Verizon and Sprint), is set to power Windows Phone Tango, and will be available in black, cyan and magenta on China Telecom. The original date of availability for the Lumia 800c in China was late March / early April. Unfortunately, the Lumia Momentum Map that Nokia has published (and relatively up-to-date) on their website does not display any information regarding the Chinese launch of Lumia Windows Phones.

As well as the 800c, Nokia is also believed to be launching the 710 and the WCDMA version of the Lumia 800 next month. Keep an eye out in the remaining weeks of March for more details surrounding the Lumia 800c.

Source: WPDang, via: WPSauce

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Microsoft's Smoked by Windows Phone marketing campaign is still going strong, which all stemmed from CES 2012 in Las Vegas where Ben Rudolph challenged event attendees. The campaign made the move to Microsoft Stores across California, Hong Kong, and is currently being expanded to cover TV advertising. The challenges involved are simple smartphone tasks - which ever phone completes the task first wins.

With $100 on the table there's never a shortage of interested smartphone owners who believe they can smoke a Windows Phone. We previously looked at the announcement made by Microsoft Singapore on their Facebook page, stating the marketing campaign would be brought to the country "very soon". 

The above montage of clips is from ITShow 2012 where the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge was held (March 9-10). End result from the event was: 38 wins, 3 draws and 3 loses.

Source: YouTube; thanks Greg for the tip!

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Nokia issued a statement challenging Apple's proposal to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) for a new SIM card standard, the 4FF, commonly called the nano-SIM.  The tiny nano-SIM, designed by Giesecke & Devrient, is Apple's attempt to define the future standard for SIM cards in Europe, and if the push succeeds, all other manufacturers will have to incorporate the design into their devices.  Nokia, Motorola and RIM have teamed up to submit an alternative proposal to ETSI and Nokia put out the statement to explain why Apple's just won't do.

Nokia's claim is that the Apple proposal fails to meet ETSI's prerequisite that the new design eliminate the possibility of getting stuck in a micro SIM slot, and thus avoiding damage to both the card and the device.  Because the nano-SIM is the same length and width of a micro SIM, that potential would still exist.  The other criticisms of the Giesecke & Devrient design are based on the fact that the card would require a tray that would slide into the device, much like Apple's current method of inserting SIM cards into their iPhone. 

Aside from the weak argument that a trayless SIM would be easier for end users to insert, Nokia contends that the need for a tray would increase the production cost of devices.  This is a minor deal when it comes to high-end devices, but potentially significant when trying to develop lower price point ones.  Furthermore, the statement says, that the tray design puts limitations on form factor design.  The Nokia/Motorola/RIM-proposed SIM is smaller and requires no tray, therefore opening the door to further miniaturization of future devices.

Nokia may have some legitimate gripes about the what Apple has submitted, especially if it does not meet some of the requirements set by ETSI.  Apple is sure to fire back in some fashion, though time may be running short, as the vote on the design could happen as early as next week.

Source: TheVerge; Photo: TheUnwired

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