Windows Phone News

Gartner has released Q4 2011 data for worldwide smartphone sales to consumers, which shows some interesting signs for the Windows Phone platform. The dip in both number of units sold and marketshare is more-than-likely due to the drop of Windows Mobile. The push by Nokia has had some positive effect regarding the brand of both the manufacturer and the mobile platform, but numbers are still yet to reflect any solid progress.

As of Q4 2011 Microsoft was sat behind Samsung's Bada and the pesky 2%. With Nokia and Windows Phone "Tango" to target the emerging markets as a Symbian replacement, and upcoming "Apollo" to introduce a massive OS overhaul, by the end of 2012 Gartner predicts the platform to hit 8.6% marketshare. The analyst firm also believes these numbers to reflect Windows Phone sales only.

We may be in the second year of its life, but Microsoft's platform is still relatively young. The promotion and brand awareness campaigns that Nokia are running may require more time to take affect. The good news is the outlook for 2012 with the two OS updates (as well as new handsets). Bring on MWC.

Source: Gartner, Economic Times, via: WMPUthanks, Steve, for the tip!

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The NZ Herald, popular newspaper in New Zealand, has released an app for Windows Phone, providing frequent readers on the mobile platform with more convenient access to articles. Though it should be noted that to read full news stories IE is required. Some highlighted features:

  • View all your favourite sections of the Herald - National, World, Business, Sport, Technology, Video, Entertainment, Motoring, Lifestyle, Travel and Opinion.
  • Swipe between sections, tap on a headline to preview and read the full story if you want more.
  • Easily share stories with your social networks.
  • View the latest photo galleries and video in full screen.

Hopefully we'll see more integration, with support for full articles, offline reading, etc. in future updates. It's good to see more official support for Windows Phone nonetheless. You can download NZ Herald from the Marketplace for free. 

Source: NZ Herald

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We're giving away a T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710! All you need to do is snap a photo with your Windows Phone, post it in this WPCentral Forums discussion and we'll select the best photo out of the bunch to take home the Lumia 710.

Sounds easy right?

Here's the fine print. Only one entry per reader and the photo must be taken by a Windows Phone camera (we'll stretch it to any smartphone camera). The photo theme - Black and White.  You can submit a photo of people, places or things but it needs to be presented in black and white (grayscale to some). You can use apps such as Thumba or Fhotoroom to convert the picture to black and white or use desktop software (e.g. Photoshop) to take care of things. Image size? Keep it around 5x7 at 72 dpi.

You have until February 24, 2012 until 5:00pm CST to submit your photos. Give us a few days to judge everything and one lucky contestant will win the Lumia 710 and one runner up will walk away with a $75 gift certificate to the WPCentral Store.

Good luck everyone!

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We mentioned that Indonesia was slated to receive the Lumia 710 and 800 sometime in February and it looks like that day is today February 17trh. We have some photos from one of the launch events, presumably Jakarta, and it looks to be quite a blast.

And in the image below is a shot of some of the 800 coders on hand for Nokia Developer Day which was run in conjunction with Microsoft. The goal: 800 devs for 800 new apps. Now that's a way to kick start development in Indonesia.

Seems like a lot of action is going on in Indonesia as Nokia also appointed a new country manager in the last day. As reported in the Jakarta Post, Martin Chirotarrab is taking over operations in that country and will focus on the Windows Phone Lumia devices and developers “One of the keys is to let consumers know what the Lumia phone is. We are going to put forward ways for people to experience the phone”.

Sounds good to us. Congratulations to Indonesia on the launch! Big thanks to Aca S. (@superaca) for the images

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The tablet wars are heating up! Apple is getting set to announce the iPad 3 next month. BlackBerry is going to release a major PlayBook OS update any day. The Kindle Fire is hot as is the Transformer Prime in a sea of Android tablets. And Windows 8 tablets are getting ready to enter the battle.

With so much going on we wanted to take a moment and find out where you weigh in on the tablet wars. We have five quick questions (and one bonus) that will take you less than a minute. Hit the link below.

Take the Survey!

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If you've been watching the world of Windows Phone and Microsoft you'll know that last year Microsoft bought Skype in what was it's single biggest acquisition to date (and all for a quaint $8.5 billion).

Well despite being approved by the FTC and EU courts at this point, Cisco has decided it will start legal proceedings challenging the deal on the basis that it may in fact be damaging to the competition.

Now before we all cry "foul" and question why Cisco have only just decided to make it's voice heard it's important for me to stress that Cisco are not opposed to the deal itself. Instead they are calling for the EU commission to impose standards on Microsoft to ensure that there is inter-operability between all video conferencing services.

It's hard to argue with Cisco here and when you consider that Skype now has over 650 million worldwide users, it's easy to see that Cisco realises Microsoft stands to control the video conferencing market. What is instead being suggested is that such VOIP and Video calling systems should be the same kind of experience as one would get when making any normal voice phone call.

So with Skype due to be integrated into future Windows Phone versions in a big way (and an app on the way sometime soon we're assured), do you believe that a standards compliant Skype would provide a better experience to all consumers worldwide? Or do you see such standards de-valuing Skype in such a way that Microsoft's acquisition would suddenly seem all too expensive? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: BBC News, Reuters

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The site AppDreamr has a great idea in mind for consumers and developers: submit your app ideas, including any screenshots or features you want and let the community vote on it. Then a developer will see which app "dreams" are the most popular and will basically call "dibs" on it bringing the idea to life. From Arian Kulp, the site's creator:

"This isn't just a way to suggest that apps on other platforms are ported, but to be able to pitch a great idea for a new app.  The main audience is for the end-users to dream up the app features and screen mockups, and discuss them.  The expectation is that devs will see the highest-voted app ideas and will want to produce them (less of an unknown if it will succeed).  I envision a community of passionate users dreaming up great concepts, and developers getting popular by implementing them."

It's really a great idea as users get the apps they want and devs can find work and new concepts to start off from. Plus, as pointed out, devs will have more confidence in the app being successful if folks are demanding and voting on the idea.

So devs and thinkers, head over to http://www.appdreamr.com/ to get started.

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Think you're fast?  Then head over to Nokia's Facebook page for a chance to win a Lumia 800...a WHITE one!  As soon as you get there, you will have 60 seconds to catch the white tile by clicking on it.  Your score will be displayed and you will be prompted to enter your information for a chance to win.  If you really want a challenge, give hyperspeed a try.  You'll need to log into your Facebook account to enter the contest.

Source: Nokia (Facebook); Via: GoWindowsGo; Thanks to Sam for the tip!

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From the WPCentral Forums...

Well they went and did it. That's right AT&T doubled their upgrade fee and we're none to happy about it. "AT&T To Double Upgrade Fee (From February 12th 2012)" was our hottest thread in the forums this week. If it's all too confusing to you, jump in the forums and join the discussion even if you just need to vent a little. It has also been speculated that AT&T had this same pricing before. Forum member ninjaap says "I've been with AT&T for a long time and I'm positive the upgrade fee used to be $35 then at some point it dropped to $18. Now it's back up to $38. Oh well. If you ask, sometimes the CS rep will credit you the fee." Is this increase really that big of a deal? Join us in the forums for the discussion.

Forum member baseballbert wants to know if he should get the Nokia 900 or wait for an Apollo Nokia phone? Bert is one of our more colorful members and he is also one of our favorite thread starters. He seams to have a way with starting threads that draw a crowd and this thread is right in line with that. If your considering getting a Nokia Lumia 900 when it is released on AT&T, this is the thread for you.

My WP7 "Aha! Moment". We have all had them haven't we? Forum member GlassAdam wants you to share yours. There is even talk of turning one of these "Aha Moments" in to a commercial. Well were talking about it in that thread, who knows what could happen.

"What I want to see in Apollo" is a topic we get a lot of threads about. Forum member justwar88 has a great idea and he even provided a picture of what he would like to see.

Do you have a wish list for the Apollo update?

Forum member Oronolek has a word of advice for you Lumia 800 owners in this thread: "Word of advice, don't drop this thing" He included a picture in the thread. Ouch! That hurts just looking at it!

When you're done with those threads be sure and check out our Applications and Games Spotlight forums where our developers post up all there new App and Game goodness. Here is a small sample of what has been posted this week:

Applications Spotlight:

Games Spotlight:

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

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We made mention of the Nokia Lumia 800 becoming available at Microsoft Retail Stores starting February 14th a while back. We are now hearing the phone is indeed on store shelves and available in black and magenta.  The Lumia 800 is being sold optimized for the AT&T network.

For the time being the Lumia 800 is being bundled with the Nokia Play 360 Bluetooth Speaker, Nokia Purity HD headphones and a Luna Bluetooth headset. Out the door price is $899 (plus local taxes).  While the price may seem high, you do get a lot in the bundle.

In talking to a retail associate from the Atlanta Store, there is no telling if the Lumia 800 will be offered outside the bundle or not.  Unfortunately the Lumia is only available in store. Head on over to Microsoft's store listing page to see if there's a retail store within driving distance.

Thanks, Jesse, for tipping us on this!

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Today's a big day as DFT have released their HSPL RSPL tool version 3 for Windows Phone. Previous versions allowed access to GSM editons of Generation 1 HTC devices which is why they're able to run those custom ROMs that we've reported on previously. This latest version of the HSPL RSPL tool released today now enables support for two CDMA phones: the Verizon Trophy and Sprint Arrive (7 Pro). From the changelog:

  • Added support for 'SCHU1000' and 'PD291200' MIDs
  • Removed OTA update inside RSPL and HSPL, this allows to keep HSPL after
  • HTC OTA Zune update.
  • Added warning screen about 4.XX and 5.XX
  • But still NO support for 4.XX and 5.XX
  • Support for CDMA devices: GoldC and SparkW (Edit: Gold_C is the codename for the Sprint Arrive and Spark_W for the Verizon Trophy)
  • Wizard UI: only WWE support remains

This tool is the first needed to unlock the bootloader allowing the loading of custom ROMs onto the device. That means "ROM chefs" can now begin the cooking and testing of custom builds, eventually getting to the point where a stable version can be released to the public.

That's good news for those who don't want to wait for the latest build of the OS to get "officially" released (assuming it will even happen). In short, whether Verizon or Sprint officially release 8107 to fix the keyboard, you should be able to load a custom ROM with it in the near future.

Stay tuned for those custom ROMs over the next few weeks as we'll report any that come forth.

Source: XDA and DFT; Thanks, DavidinCT, for the tip!

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We've touched on the Lumia 610 (or 601 as it was referred to) previously, which is set to be announced at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2012 and will be powered by Windows Phone "Tango". LiveSide has received confirmation that the Nokia handset has passed through certification in Indonesia (as shown above).

Although not much detail is displayed, we do know that this device does indeed exist, which will make MWC fairly exciting with the unveiling of Microsoft's next Windows Phone update "Tango". As well as featuring the usual Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, the Lumia 610 will support GSM 900/1800 and WCDMA 2100 bands.

Source: LiveSide

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When working on the Reinstaller review I was a little surprised how many app's I've purchased since Windows Phone hit the market back in 2010. For those not familiar, Reinstaller compiles a list of all the app's associated with your Windows Live ID and then helps walk you through the installation process.

I knew I had a healthy number of apps but still I couldn't help but say "good grief" when the final tally hit 678. Other numbers shake out with Rich Edmonds having 199 apps and Dan Rubino tops the charts with 1,078! Granted we go through apps at a faster pace due to the nature of our work but we started to think how many apps you guys and gals have. One thought led to another and a giveaway was born.

We'll give whomever has the largest list of apps a $50 gift certificate to the WPCentral Accessory Store. Just download Reinstaller, go through the steps to create your app list, take a screen shot or photograph of your Windows Phone showing the number of apps and post it in this WPCentral Forums discussion.

Let's keep it honest so don't go out this afternoon and download a few thousand free apps to your phone. We'll cut things off this Sunday, February 19, 2012 and put up a braggin' rights post on the 20th.

I'll be really curious if anyone tops Dan's number.

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It's Social Media Week (13-17 February) and Nokia, the global headline sponsor, has a few magic tricks to show off using Lumia Windows Phones. They hid two magicians, Matt & Prakash, in a secret trophy case accessible only by using Foursquare at the opening event of the Social Media Week.

This fits in nicely with Nokia's promotion on this side of the water, using London black cabs. Check out two more clips after the break, note that the third magic trick doesn't exactly use a Windows Phone as a prop.

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HeyTell, a popular cross-platform voice messaging service, has released an app for Windows Phone. HeyTell allows one to send and receive voice recorded messages, which can prove more efficient than standard SMS. The service requires no account to be created, just add an email and/or phone number and you're good to go.

Some highlighted features:

  • Send/Receive messages to and from contacts on Android and iOS.
  • Low data usage.
  • Toast notifications.
  • Messages can be saved and played offline.
  • Send/Receive current GPS location.

You can download HeyTell from the Marketplace for free. Note you may occur charges from your carrier from usage.

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If you own a T-Mobile HTC Radar 4G, check your phone for updates. We are getting reports that T-Mobile has begun distribution of the Windows Phone 8107 update today.

The 8107 update will improve the proximity sensor and Gmail contact sync as well as correct problems with visual voicemail, Microsoft security and the Arizona time zone.

You should receive a pop-up message alerting you of the update or you can connect to your Zune desktop client and check for the update under the phone's settings. The update will bump your software version to v7.10.8107.79. Let us know in the comments if you've gotten the update and any additional tweaks it may hold.

Dare we hope that AT&T's update will be next?

source: tmonews

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Tango has been in the spotlight for some time - the upcoming version of Windows Phone for emerging markets. We've already heard that Tango will lower the minimum RAM requirements to just 256MB, as well as a few tips detailing a few feature implementations. Now wp7forum.ru has leaked some screenshots of a Tango Windows Phone, and as well as some improvements being displayed, we can also see some drawbacks (see above shots).

wp7forum.ru reports that camera hardware will be dropped to just 3MP, while the lower RAM requirements may see users being greeted with potential Marketplace warnings due to not enough system resources being available. This could lead to some degree of fragmentation and will prevent users on low-end hardware being able to run certain apps, with the possibility of 3rd party Live Tiles not updating automatically. 

On the bright side, there were a few new features present. In the above shots we can see more functionality added to messaging, including the ability to record voice, attach videos as well as multiple photos to a single MMS. Microsoft will also be increasing the allowance for OEM/carrier installed applications from 16 to 40.

As we previously covered, Tango is set to be an update targeted at emerging markets. This could potentially mean the rest of the Windows Phone user base may not be receiving Tango as an update, and may experience a longer wait until Apollo is rolled out. 

Source: wp7forum.ru, via: WMPU, thanks to those who sent tips in!

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We mentioned it briefly but the new Windows Phone Xbox Live game Chickens Can't Fly now has its own Windows 7 theme. It joins other gaming title themes such as Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds and the Xbox Kinect game Gunstringer.

The Chickens Can't Fly theme includes wallpapers, sounds, and colors (no screen saver). The graphics look great and the sounds unique. But I have to admit it takes some time to get used to the chicken cluck as your alert sound.

You can find the Chickens Can't Fly Windows 7 theme pack here at the Windows download page.

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Tango, the cross-platform video calling application, appears to following in the footsteps of iPhone's Path application when it comes to the poor management of private account data. (Not to be confused with the Windows Phone update, codenamed Tango.) Today, a reader wrote in detailing how the PC client (version 1.6.14117 at time of writing) allows one armed with simply a mobile number access to any Tango user's contact data -- and account -- by simply using the application in a specific manner. While we won't share exact details, we must admit it's not hard to figure out. And just a few months ago, Tango was discovered to be downloading contact details without permission.

Using the steps provided, we were able to download a colleague's Tango contact data, make Tango calls, and manage account details with ease. This possibly indicates that Tango's security code-based account validation is simply an arbitrary client-side check -- a big no-no.

Update: Tango let us know the issue has been fixed and an update has been pushed out to users. Kudos to the Tango team for the quick response.

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