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3 years ago

Windows Phone exclusive Wordament goes Xbox Live a day early

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One week ago, the Wordament at Microsoft announced that their word-finding game would become an Xbox Live title on Wednesday, April 25. That’s a long time to wait though, and thus somebody decided to publish the Xbox Live version of the game a day early. That’s right, you can start earning Achievements in Wordament right now!

Wordament, much like Boggle, involves trying to find as many words as possible from a field of 16 letters, all within a time limit. The hook? You’re competing against hundreds of others in real-time over the internet. Rounds last for a couple of minutes. Once they end, you get to see how you compared against everyone else, and then the next round starts a few seconds later. Some rounds have hidden themed words and digrams (words that use a specific combination of two letters) to find as well. You can also add specific players to your Frenemies list and always see how you stack up against them. It’s all incredibly addictive.

Wordament has a few tough leaderboard-type Achievements, including one ('World Champ') which won’t even be attainable until two weeks from now (May 9 suppodely). But Wordament is a game that you play long-term and in all hours of the night. If you’re persistent and good with words, you’ll get them eventually. Might I also suggest that Spanish speakers try out the Spanish language option, which offers far less competition than the standard English setting? It could make that Achievement for coming in number one significantly easier to get.

Wordament is free and supported by ads. Get it here on the Marketplace posthaste! If you’ve already downloaded the indie version in the past, you can either choose to update the game (which will upgrade it to Xbox live status) or reinstall it to get the latest version.

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3 years ago

No plans for Google to create an official Voice app for Windows Phone

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Google has no immediate plans to release an official Google Voice app for Windows Phone, according to reports. CNET received an official statement from the search giant detailing a development focus on Android and iOS. The statement does note that should sufficient demand spark for a Google Voice client on Windows Phone, the team will look into kick-starting the project.

"We're focusing our Google Voice efforts on Android & iOS and don't have a plan to extend this to the Windows Phone. This may change if we start to see greater demand from Windows Phone users for Google Voice."

Previously we've witnessed what the power of Windows Phone users can achieve by demanding official support from companies, with Draw Something proving to be the best example. For now, until we receive word of an official app in development, those who wish to use the Google service can look at third-party alternatives available on the Marketplace - GoVoice is a free unofficial client, which we've covered previously. 

As CNET rightfully points out, users should always be cautious when downloading apps from the Marketplace. Luckily the developer of GoVoice got in touch and provided the following statement to address any potential concerns:

"We take your privacy seriously and we don't store your password on the device unless if you choose to do so. Even if your device is compromised you can still revoke GoVoice's access. Your password is encrypted on the device and only sent to the Google Voice servers over Secure Sockets Layer (https). We care about your security."

It's a positive sign to say the least. The Windows Phone Marketplace has a number of indie developed apps that boast the functionality missing official apps would feature, which is something many forget when choosing their next smartphone. The only app Google has produced for Windows Phone is the search app, though there are unofficial apps for a number of the search engine's services, including Google Maps.

Are you looking forward to more official support from Google, and do you believe they should start actively developing clients now? Let us know in the comments.

Source: CNET, via: Neowin; Thanks vincentw56 for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Social Mints

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Windows Phone App Review: Social Mints

Windows Phone features deep social integration, whether it be the People Hub or popular social networks, there are a number of ways to communicate with the world requiring little effort. But what if you wanted to monitor what was being shared across the social sphere? Should you be heading up a brand and are interested in what the general sentiment is on social networks, or if you simply wish to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, you'll want to check out Social Mints for Windows Phone.

Just what is Social Mints? It's a free app by Techark Solutions, the developer behind Windows Phone apps including Mood Swing, Dress Pal, Smart Goals Pro and RedMinder, that enable users to keep up with trending topics as well view insightful data on searchable interests. Data is pulled down from Facebook, Twitter, blogs / comments (Digg, etc.), and news (Google, Yahoo, etc.) sources that is then displayed in a number of broken down formats. The best way to think of Social Mints is a light social media analytics client.

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3 years ago

Nokia comments on Fitch's downgraded credit rating announcement

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Nokia has released a press statement commenting on the recent credit rating downgrade carried out by Fitch Ratings. The rating agency cut Nokia Oyj to 'junk' and announced that the outlook for the manufacturer is bleak. This negative move follows Moody's credit rating cut to the lowest investment level, as well as Nokia's recent Q1 2012 finance report detailing a heavy €590 million loss.

Timo Ihamuotila, Nokia's Executive Vice President and CFO, commented the following:

"We are quickly taking action to position Nokia for future growth and success. Nokia will continue to increase its focus on lowering the company's cost structure, improving cash flow and maintaining a strong financial position. Nokia's financial position remains strong. As of March 31 2012, Nokia had gross cash balances of EUR 9.8 billion, and a net cash position of EUR 4.9 billion. Nokia reported its first quarter 2012 results on April 19, 2012."

Windows Phone enthusiasts know first-hand that Nokia's pockets are extraordinarily deep for a company in such a financial (and market share) hole. The marketing expenditure alone has been huge, it was only last year that we reported the manufacturer tripled expenses on promoting Lumia Windows Phones.

Ihamuotila highlighted in his comment that the company is still in its 'transition' stage by getting to grips with the Windows Phone adoption. As well as focusing on the mobile platform and partnership with Microsoft, Nokia will look to continue to lower the company's cost structure, while improving cash flow and maintain a strong financial position. A few figures were thrown into the statement for good measure - gross cash balance of €9.8 billion and a net cash position of €4.9 billion

Both Nokia and Microsoft has had Windows Phone in mind as a marathon and not a sprint. The companies (as well as other OEMs supporting the platform) do not expect marketshare and sales to suddenly skyrocket, but it's positive to see Nokia able to hold its own for a while longer. Let's keep our eyes peeled for the Q2 finance report from the company which should take into account the Lumia 900 push in the states.

Source: Nokia, via: Reuters, MyNokiaBlog

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3 years ago

White Lumia 900 joins the Cyan as being "Temporarily Out of Stock"

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Released only a few days ago, the white Nokia Lumia 900 is now listed online as "Temporarily Out of Stock". The cyan Lumia 900 is also being listed as "Temporarily Out of Stock" and this is likely a case where demand with only the black model currently available online. As far as availability in-store, both the white and cyan model are hard, if not impossible, to find.

While it may sound impressive that the white Lumia 900 sold out in a matter of days, supplies were rather limited at launch. While demand was present, it may simply be a case that AT&T didn't stock their shelves enough.  Still you have to wonder how brisk sales could have been if inventory was higher.

As far was when the cyan and white models will be in stock, Nokia had this to offer.

We are building and shipping devices constantly – so stores are receiving more units to fulfill demand on a regular basis.

Nokia has had an impressive launch with the Lumia 900 Windows Phones. Sales are strong, they promptly addressed the connectivity issue and clarified any confusion over the updates with the white model.  Hopefully Nokia will keep the positive effort going by restocking the shelves quickly. That and have plenty of magenta Lumia 900s available whenever that model should launch.

If you've had any luck in finding the white or cyan models, sound off in the comments.

source: mynokiablog

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3 years ago

Huawei set to wait for Apollo and push out Windows Phone 8 hardware?

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The handset maker Huawei, or "Who are we?" - no one seems to know when it comes to Windows Phone, was supposed to be revealing new Windows Phones for China with Microsoft's recent Windows Phone launch in the country, according to a report by Digitimes. Unfortunately this fruit never ripened and we were left wandering whether or not the company had dropped support for the platform.

Fast-forward a few months and WPDang is now attempting to shed some light on the situation of the OEM. According to the site's sources, Huawei has been distracted by their Android (go figure) expansion programme and has either had little motivation or man power to push forward with Windows Phone development. This would explain why they've been a no-show with the China platform launch.

Not all is doom and gloom though, as the Chinese website also reports that the manufacturer has since turned things around and now sports a Windows Phone development team consisting of over 70 engineers. Huawei is also allegedly working closely with Microsoft in the states that puts the manufacturer aiming for Windows Phone 8. But if "Apollo" wasn't enough, WPDang also highlights the possible Windows 8 tablet (with LTE support) which will surely please those Lumia 900 / TITAN II speed freaks.

Should this information hold out to be reality, and Huawei is actively developing Windows Phone 8 handsets / Windows 8 tablets, it'll be interesting to see the next step from the OEM.

Source: WPDang, via: WPSauce

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3 years ago

Nokia now claiming Skype works on the Lumia 610 but we already knew that, right?

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This whole Skype-256MB RAM situation is getting a little chaotic. First we all ran the beta, then came version 1.0 and the app requirements which strongly hinted that Tango phones (Lumia 610, ZTE Orbit, etc.) can't run the program due to only having half the required RAM. Heck, even Skype commented to us on the matter that they're working on improving the Skype app, etc.

Now, Nokia are claiming after "some challenges early on" Skype works just fine on the Lumia 610 and it'll be available for users in late April when the device launches.

Of course, we kind of knew that already as our trusty Jay Bennett remembered that a Nokia employee by the name of Justin Angel guested on our podcast a few weeks ago. What was remarkable about his appearance was how he was speaking to us -- via Skype on his Lumia 610.

At the time that was the beta version of Skype and who knows what transpired since that day. And even though Engadget's story sheds some light on the matter, we're still unsure if this means there will be a special version of the Skype app in the Nokia Collection or that version 1.0 (as is) will run on all Tango phones, making the whole "512MB of RAM" requirement a moot and pointless number.

Yes folks, we now have more questions than answers. Hopefully we'll sort all of this out soon.

via: Engadget

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3 years ago

The origin of the Metro UI design language

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In a neat little historical post over at the site Project Metro, the origins of the Metro UI design language are given some detail. What makes it interesting is the information came from a Microsoft presentation on the topic at an early "Behind the Tiles" event.

We won't steal all of their thunder from the fun little read, so we'll just tease you with a bit of it:

"The whole idea started with the Swiss Movement in the 1960′s. They wanted a way to communicate to people through design, while being different yet direct. What was born from this movement was the font, Helvetica. It was the first simplistic yet sophisticated design font that delivered a clear and precise message. Microsoft knew with the rise of Apple and Android that they needed to make a change. They needed to be different but also wanted a clearer way to deliver its message..."

Very interesting stuff, especially about the use of Helvetica and Segoe fonts (Windows Phone uses a slight variation called Segoe WP). Personally, we'd like someday to see a detailed history of the evolution of Metro UI through Microsoft (we've seen some early iterations in Media Center, then through Zune to Windows Mobile 6.5 and up to Windows Phone 7).

Source: Project Metro

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3 years ago

Windows Phone developers: Take a moment and fill out this survey

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We got word from some Nokia folks that if you make apps for Windows Phone, you'll want to take a short moment to fill out a nice little developer survey that's evaluating the smartphone ecosystem i.e. dev interest in making apps for various platforms.

This is one of those surveys from Strategy Analytics that will end up in a report showing how much devs love or hate their OS and more specifically, registering interest (or disinterest) in Windows Phone directly. That translates into "We need you to fill this out otherwise Windows Phone gets a bad rap, ya dig?".

According to the survey's front page:

"The following questions will help us and key players in the apps ecosystem understand the current thinking of mobile app developers. This information will only be used in aggregate to present a picture of how developers feel about the apps market today and its future.

Developers that complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win either a BlackBerry PlayBook, iPad or Kindle Fire. The drawing will be held in early May. Developers that refer others to this survey will receieve (sic) additional entries into the drawing.

Please note that all individual responses will be kept confidential and results will be presented in aggregate. The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes. Thank you for your time."

That sounds like a pretty fair request and we think as developers, you'll want to register your experience with these folks. If so, just head here, grab a cuppa joe and get started here:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/803120/Nok

Original Flowchart image via Shutterstock

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Facebook team taking feedback seriously, detail upcoming version 2.5

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 trounces dual-core HTC One X in HTML5 Speed Reading

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Okay, we'll be the first to admit that a simple, single browser test does not make or break a device. We'll also admit that the Android-based HTC One X (review) is an interesting little number with some very impressive hardware (quad-core dual 1.5Ghz CPU, with a dual-core Qualcomm Krait processor plus a 720x1280 screen. Holla!).

Still, all that fancy hardware doesn't do much if your OS is dragging it all down. Even with the latest Android OS, 4.0.3 aka Ice Cream sandwich, the HTC One X still lags behind the single-core 1.4GHz Nokia Lumia 900 when it comes to the HTML5 Speed Reading test: http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/mobile/performance/speedreading/default.html

One of our AT&T ninjas has their hands on a One X and he decided to see how it performed. Results (combined with our Windows Phone ones):

  • HTC One X - 24 FPS, average draw 41ms
  • Nokia Lumia 900 - 45 FPS, average draw 22ms
  • HTC Titan II - 60 FPS, average draw 13ms

And if we throw the 1.5GHz HTC Titan II into the mix you can see it trounces the Lumia 900. Like we said earlier, there's more to device performance than just a single HTML5 browser test, so yeah, call this unfair/biased/silly, it's cool, we can take it. But we think it is an interesting result nonetheless, as you wouldn't expect such a high-end device to be so mediocre with all that firepower on board.

It also raises this interesting thought experiment: What if the One X ran Windows Phone 7 instead? Of course the joke's on us since we can't support dual core, let alone quad, so we'll never know. But we think it's safe to say, it'd be very fast.

Related: See the One X get "smoked" by Windows Phone.

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3 years ago

Nokia clarifies firmware issue on Glossy-white Lumia 900s

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Saturday when we picked up our Glossy-white Lumia 900, we were surprised to see that it did not have the latest firmware installed, despite having the green-dot on the box indicating that the data-issue had been resolved.

This afternoon we received an email directly from Nokia PR (and a follow up that went to numerous media outlets) clarifying the situation a bit. It's a tad confusing but we'll try to keep it simple. Basically the 2175.1000.8112.12082 firmware with the green-dot on the box is the fixed firmware. Did we just blow your minds? Hold on...

So why were we prompted for a software update? Nokia basically fixed the 12082 firmware at the factory directly with a patch but in order for Zune Desktop to push out the update for the phones people didn't return, they had to change the firmware build, which is why 12084 exists.

In other words there are sort of two 12082 firmwares out there -- one broke, the other fixed -- and 12084 is the same as the fixed-12082. Get that?

The short of it is this: if you get a Lumia 900 (Matte-black, Cyan or Glossy White) and it has the green dot, it's a-okay and will have zero data issues. You can still update to 12084 but in reality, you're just bumping the firmware number as it is not "fixing" anything at this point.

So Nokia, you're still doing a good job and consumers, there is nothing to worry about.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: April 16 - 22 2012

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Welcome to the summary of the week where we wrap up the Windows Phone news of the last six days. Before we crack on with the summary itself, WPCentral has been continuing with the Windows Phone tutorials covering the platform basics. We've taken a look at the People Hub, Windows Phone camera, and the best weather apps available on the Marketplace. This week we've also had the pleasure of being joined by Pratik Kothari, developer of Social Mints, for an insightful developer interview.

Our forums have continued to be the location for all discussions Windows Phone, this includes the story of a member managing to damage the Lumia 800 screen, which features Gorilla Glass. But enough of all things WPCentral, let's get straight into the summary.

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3 years ago

Skype for Windows Phone can't run on Tango devices and Skype responds

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Yesterday, Skype and Microsoft took Skype for Windows Phone out of beta and gave it the v1.0 designation, adding new functionality along with a more reliable connection.

Windows Phone Daily noticed that Skype app needs 512MB of RAM, which is fine for current handsets on the market but rules out so-called Tango phones like the Lumia 610 and ZTE Orbit which only have 256MB of RAM. So the question naturally comes up: What's the deal?

A Skype spokesperson got back to us on the matter and while it confirms the limitation, it appears that it is something that they are well aware of and are looking to address with future updates:

“As outlined in our Skype Garage blog, we are aware of various issues on the Skype for Windows Phone app, including minimum memory support requirement. This is our first version of the Skype for Windows Phone app. To ensure our customers have the best Skype experience possible today, the Skype for Windows Phone app currently requires devices with Windows Phone 7.5 and higher 512 MB of memory. We’re invest (sic) in improving the Skype for Windows Phone app to deliver a great experience and plan to resolve issues and build new features on an ongoing basis.”

If we were to read between the lines, we would have guess that Microsoft and Skype were pressed to get this app to the Marketplace and working with what they got on the backend (which we hear ain't pretty), hence the limitations. But it does sound like the Skype team is working hard on bringing updates to the Windows Phone app and we can hope that optimization of the code will allow a more streamlined experience for the Tango phones in the future.

Seeing as Tango phones are just getting ready to launch and the bulk of Windows Phones can run Skype mobile now, we're not too concerned. But it will be interesting to see how this goes forward in the future.

On another note, we'll have more this week on Skype and why background calls and notifications are actually a tricky thing to implement on Windows Phone. It should be an interesting read as our own Rafael Rivera will be doing the explaining. Stay tuned.

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3 years ago

Free Books lands in the Windows Phone Marketplace

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Here's another iPhone app that's landed in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Free Books delivers 23,469 classic e-books to your Windows Phone.  With Free Books you don't have to pay per download for the books you want to read.  The price of the app gives you full access to the complete library of titles.

Free Books sorts the titles across three main pages.

  • Featured Page highlights popular titles from the book collection
  • Collections Page that offers title categories such as adventure, classics, drama, etc.
  • Authors Page that lists all the authors (Abraham Lincoln to Thoreau to Shakespeare)
  • My Library is where your downloaded books will appear

In addition you can search for titles by keyword using the magnifying glass button that appears throughout the app.

Once you find a title, you can view a brief description of the title, read any reviews from other readers, and view a list of any related titles. From there all you do is tap the download button, choose the book from your My Library page and start reading.

Free Books has support for night mode reading, adjustable font sizes, and the reader will save your stopping point automatically.

The only downside is that the book collection may not appeal to everyone. You may not find the current best sellers but the selection isn't too shabby. Especially if you're a fan of the classics.

There is a free trial version available for Free Books to let you try before you buy. The full version will run you $1.99 and you can find it all here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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