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3 years ago

Civilization Revolution brings strategy to Xbox Live for Windows Phone next week

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When Microsoft announced that Civilization Revolution would be coming to Windows Phone, strategy fans were understandably excited. They won’t have to wait much longer, as Civilization Revolution from 2K Games is next week’s Xbox Live game.

In the Civilization games, players start at the dawn of humanity and lead their civilization through the ages, including modern times and even the future. You’ll need to gather resources, build new cities, research technologies, and either war against or form alliances with neighboring countries. The mobile version of Civilization Revolution includes 16 countries to choose from, and four possible victory conditions: Technology, Economic, Cultural, and Domination (war). Like the iPhone version, this one won’t have multiplayer, but the single-player game truly has endless replay potential.

We’re still investigating whether Civilization Revolution will sport any Windows Phone-specific improvements; enhanced visuals over the iPhone version (pictured) would be nice. But we do know about its Xbox Live Achievements thanks to our friends at Xbox360Achievements.org.

Civilization Revolution comes to Windows Phone on Wednesday, April 4. It will cost $2.99 (!).

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3 years ago

Windows Phone was not supposed to get LTE support until Apollo

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In late 2011, one of the sticking points for Verizon Wireless in broadly adopting Windows Phone was the lack of 4G LTE support. AT&T also took issue with this missing feature as strategically they are looking to offload network congestion to their new high-speed spectrum.

There was just one problem: the Windows Phone OS was not set to get LTE support till Windows Phone 8 aka "Apollo" in late in 2012.  That's a long wait as six to nine months in smartphones is an eternity these days, especially when you're in a distant third in the smartphone race.

So how are we on the cusp of not one but two LTE Windows Phones in early 2012? We're told AT&T approached and asked them if they could bump up that feature set earlier. Microsoft in turn was receptive to such a request, much like how Microsoft Corporate VP Joe Belfiore or Brandon Watson take great strides to carefully listen to you, the customer.

To get support into the OS, Microsoft reportedly took members off of Apollo and re-appointed them to work on LTE for Mango Refresh (RC2) in order to meet market demands. Throw in Qualcomm, who has worked hard with Microsoft on chipset compatibility and Nokia, HTC and Samsung who were all eager to get more high end devices in the US and you have AT&T's new 4G Windows Phone lineup launching earlier than planned.

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3 years ago

Pre-order your AT&T Lumia 900 and you'll probably get it early

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Just a little FYI for you folks: On March 30th, AT&T will begin taking pre-orders for the Black and Cyan Nokia Lumia 900. What you may not know is that you face a real good chance of getting that highly anticipated Windows Phone before the official Sunday release on April 8th if you do that pre-order. That's right, they're shipping them before Sunday.

So says AT&T, who told us as much this morning.

However, if you want the joy of buying it in person, some AT&T stores will be open on Sunday allowing you to purchase it that very day. You'll need to check your local AT&T outlet to see if they'll be there to take your business but if they are, you'll have yourself a special Easter gift.

Oh and one more thing, the "glossy-white" Lumia 900 will be available in stores only, starting on the 22nd.

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3 years ago

Noteworthy apps created in Windows Phone Hackathon

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During a Windows Phone Hackathon, we witnessed what Rudy Huyn is capable of with his "Bi(n)g Maps" project that enables 28 Windows Phones to be controlled by a single device to create a massive Bing Maps app. There were two more apps developed that are more than noteworthy.

First up is Space Shooterz, developed by student Julien Noble. It's a retro-style spaceship shooter, which is controlled by either touch or the accelerometer. Created in XNA in only 30 hours, Noble is adding the finishing touches (sound - promised to be retro) and will be releasing the indie title to the Marketplace soon. Check out the video below for a quick demo of what's to come (as well as his website for more info).

The second app that requires a mention is WibasWP, another home automation solution for Windows Phone, developed by Arnaud Weil. The concept is based on "ZiBase" box, by Zodianet, and will be able to connect to sensors, receptors and remotes all over the house. Basic tasks include turning on / off lighting, and custom scenarios can be added for even more automation.

Unfortunately, no video was made available for WibasWP, but we are pleased to report that the app should be available on the Marketplace in the next few days. All-in-all, the hackathon was a busy one with around 40 apps being created by 90 developers in just 48 hours. 

More photos from the event can be viewed on Facebook.

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3 years ago

AT&T planning for a post-8107 OS update for current Windows Phones

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AT&T caught a lot of flak over the weekend regarding their semi-public announcement to not support the 8107 OS update for their current Windows Phone lineup. That update, as many of you know, is critical for security fixes as much as for fixing the famed disappearing keyboard bug.

We just spoke with AT&T on the situation and we can confirm and clarify a few things on the record. First, it is true that they have passed on 8107 or what they referred to as "Windows Phone Mango Commercial Refresh 1" or just CR1. They've also passed on CR2, which is what the Lumia 900 and Titan II are running (that's build 8112). That update brings LTE and Visual Voicemail support for AT&T with the first aspect obviously being pointless for current Mango phones.

So that's the bad news.

The good news is they have not shut the door on OS updates for their current lineup including the Samsung Focus S, Focus Flash and HTC Titan.  Stacey Harth, a spokeswoman for AT&T, told us this morning "AT&T plans for a Windows Phone update that will contain the improvements in the 8107 update and more" with no commitment to a time-frame.

So what does that mean exactly? It means "Tango", which goes by the alternate name CR3, is something that they are looking to evaluate for an OS update. While they did not want give any time-frames they are definitely committed to updating those devices with a post-8107 OS update from Microsoft. "Tango" (or a build post-Tango) is certainly the most viable candidate for such an update.

Of course what you want to know is why are they passing on 8107? It's a bit complicated and you don't have to agree with their position but they do have a rationale (and it's not to get you to buy a new phone). In short, each update comes with a corresponding OEM firmware update which also fixes hardware bugs and/or optimizes the software (these are often at the request of AT&T). Those updates need to be scheduled with the "bits" from Microsoft and it does take a bit of coordination to get that to happen. Moreover, while 8107 does fix a pretty annoying bug, the updates in CR3 (aka "Tango") brings that fix and even more . For example, AT&T very much likes the idea of multiple-photos in MMS, voice notes, etc. that Tango brings to the table.

And that's the crux of the matter: AT&T is admittedly conservative on OS updates and would prefer to not certify every single one that Microsoft releases for evaluation. Instead, they prefer the method where you can pack numerous bug fixes and new features into a single, bigger update. It's similar to the "do I buy this phone now or wait 3 months for a better one?" scenario that many of you face when you follow technology. For AT&T, the question is do we push this update or do we wait for that even better one just a few weeks away?

That does raise a larger, ongoing issue, which is why can't Microsoft just push out mini-bug fixes to the OS without interference by AT&T, especially if it does not touch the radio firmware? It's certainly a very valid point and the reason seems to be a combo of "this is how carriers operate" and Microsoft has not made "patching" as easy (or perhaps they've just conceded too much power to the carriers).

Regardless, the take away point is that AT&T is planning to update your phones and that update will be a larger, post-8107 update which will include that keyboard fix and even more features. We can disagree on what makes an update imperative and yes, we consider the keyboard fix to fall into that, but that is the current situation.

In the end, it may not be the answer you want to hear but we think it is a lot more palatable than the perception left from this weekend.

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3 years ago

Canadian carriers pleased with Nokia Lumia Windows Phone sales

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Canadian carriers have been pleased with how the Lumia Windows Phones have been selling, according to a report by MobileSyrup. While carriers aren't known to reveal negative sales publicly often, TELUS and Rogers have both stated that they are happy with their Lumia handsets, and that customers share this satisfaction.

Reade Barber, Senior Director Data Product Management at Rogers, had the following to say:

"Rogers is proud to have the widest selection of choice for our customers. The Lumia 710 is proving to be a customer favourite and has been a great addition to our Smartphone Lite lineup. We're also very excited to be the exclusive carrier of the Lumia 900, Canada’s first Windows Phone LTE smartphone."

Rogers packs the inexpensive, but highly rated Lumia 710. MobileSyrup spoke with a number of sale staff from Rogers and the majority were pleased with how the Windows Phone sold in-store. The carrier has the device priced at $29.99 on a 3-year contract, or $255 SIM-free.

Brent Johnston, VP of Mobility Solutions at TELUS, mentioned the Lumia 800 (currently on sale for $25) has met the company's expectations:

"We are very pleased with the sales performance thus far, with Lumia sales meeting our expectations."

Unfortunately, it's impossible to judge how positive this response is due to not knowing how high / low expectations were to begin with. Then again, should the handset be exceeding low expectations would also be on the right path with TELUS then able to be more confident with future Nokia handsets.

With how competitively Nokia is pricing the Lumia handsets, and how dissatisfied many Android users are with low-end hardware, it should be comfortable to assume the Lumia 710 will start to pick up speed while the 800 is available at a reasonable price for those requiring that little bit more (or an award winning design).

Good news is good news, nonetheless.

Source: MobileSyrup; thanks bilzkh for the heads up!

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3 years ago

DEAL ALERT: Microsoft essentially giving away Windows Phones in "Challenge"

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A few days ago, it was announced that Microsoft was upping the stakes in their "Smoked by Windows Phone Challenge," giving away bigger prizes to winners and offering losers the opportunity to trade in their device for a new Windows Phone.  It turns out that anyone can trade in just about any non-WP smartphone.  Just bring a working smartphone to a participating Microsoft store and tell them you want to take the challenge.  You will then be asked to fill out a recycling form and given your choice of the following devices:

ATT: HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S
T-Mobile: HTC Radar, Nokia 710
Verizon: HTC Trophy

This offer is only valid through tomorrow, March 29, so get a move on. 

Some people have reported that you don't even need to take the challenge, but why not give it a go anyway?  If you've been able to swap out your old, out dated smartphone for a new Windows Phone through this deal, let us know in the comments.

Source: Microsoft; Via: SlickDeals

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Newsy

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Windows Phone App Review: Newsy

Here's an interesting news reader for your Windows Phone.  Newsy is a news app that presents two minute videos on daily news stories that are compiled from various sources. A summary video of sorts that puts all you need to know on a current event/news item in a nice, two minute package.  As the Newsy tag line reads, "multiple sources, the real story".

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3 years ago

28 Windows Phones controlled by 1 for one big Bing Maps [Video]

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Ah, we always loves these cool little projects for Windows Phone enthusiasts.

Take this case where, as our title says, 28 separate Windows Phones were linked together and controlled by one phone using Bing Maps. As a result, when you scroll at the one Windows Phone, you'll move the map on those 28 screens at the same time. What's it called? How about "Bi(n)g Maps", eh?

Who was behind such mayhem? Why it's Rudy Huyn, the man behind the super popular Windows Phone apps TVShow, Fuse and MyEncyclopedia, of course.

Useful? Not really. Ingenious and clever? Definitely. (See the similar 144-screens linked together for a world-record here)

Source: Rudy Huyn; Check out another video with a different angle after the break...

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 800c officially launches in China

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China Telecom and Nokia have launched the first CDMA Windows Phone in China, the Lumia 800c. Following the official launch of the Windows Phone platform itself earlier this month, the 800c will likely be accompanied by an expensive marketing campaign to really provide the device with some steroids in able to throw a heavy punch at competitors.

Stephen Elop explained the company's excitement:

"We're excited to introduce our first Lumia smartphone, the Nokia 800C, to this important market with our exclusive launch partner, China Telecom. Working closely together, we've created a compelling, locally relevant experience on the Nokia 800C especially tailored for people in China."

Wan Xiaochu, Chariman of China Telecom, also expressed enthusiasm:

"This grand launch for China's first CDMA Windows Phone represents our optimism and excitement for the future of Windows Phone and Nokia Lumia in China."

The manufacturer and carrier aren't halting at just the Lumia 800c, as there are plans to introduce the low budget Lumia 610 (also in a CDMA variant) to China Telecom's customer base in Q2 2012. The Lumia "610c" (following the 800c with regards to branding) will be targeting younger audiences - something Nokia intends to achieve on a global scale to rejuvenate the company brand.

The Lumia 800c is available in both black and cyan colouring, and sports a 3.7" AMOLED ClearBlack display, 1.4Ghz processor, 8MP rear-camera (with Carl Ziess optics), and 16GB storage. Consumers who make the purchase will also be able to enjoy the experience with exclusive Nokia apps.

Nokia Maps will be available, with local content support from Fantong, Jiepang, Ctrip, Qunar and Soufun. Nokia Drive is also present for the Chinese market and will sport the same turn-by-turn navigation enjoyed by those in other supported countries. Finally we have Nokia Music, but the service comes limited with 12 months worth of free music, after which it's unclear whether consumers will have to pay a fee to continue using the streaming service.

So what's next on the cards for Nokia and China Telecom now the handset has been officially launched? The two companies are collaborating on a number of plans, including one to feature the Lumia 800c prominently in Tianyi FlyYoung shops, a youth-centred sub-brand of the carrier. Another plan is to bring integrated China Telecom services right to the Lumia 800c home screen, including music, games, videos and integrated reading apps.

Those who purchase the Lumia 800c will be eligible for exclusive apps, including magazines from Trends, and special offers for the free download of popular titles on the Marketplace - 100,000 free downloads of Fuit Ninja and Plants vs Zombies. Speaking of Trends, the provider of fashion magazine apps, the company will be providing Lumia owners with free access to "For Him Magazine" (FHM), Harper's Bazaar and Esquire magazines in the Marketplace.

Microsoft will also be playing a part with the Be Top programme, which is designed to encourage and support developers in creating apps in China. As for availability of the Lumia 800c, the smartphone will be available for purchase through Tianyi FlyYoung shops (China Telecom), Nokia brand stores, China's top chain electronics stores including Suning, Gome, Funtalk, D.Phone, and CentreYou, as well as regional channels and online shops such as 189.cn and hicdma.com. The Windows Phone is sold without contract for 3599 RMB ($570).

Check out some more photos after the break (below photo credit: @Chassit). Source: Nokia

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3 years ago

Puzzle Quest 2 returns as the Xbox Live Deal of the Week, matching gems and taking names

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While several Xbox Live games have yet to go on sale, we still see the occasional repeat Deal of the Week. Last week it was Glow Artisan, and this week it’s Puzzle Quest 2 from Namco. Seeing as how this is the third time the $6.99 game has gone on sale for $4.99, maybe it’s time for a price drop.

Puzzle Quest 2 is a puzzle role-playing game. Players explore large dungeons, take on quests, and collect plenty of loot. Whenever a battle occurs, the fighting is done via Bejeweled-like match-3 gameplay. It’s an extremely long game with beautiful art, multiple playable characters, and several clever minigames.

A few problems like poorly-thought out Achievements, lengthy loading times, and annoying lack of Fast App Switching keep Puzzle Quest 2 from greatness. Still, the gameplay is just super addicting. If you like Bejeweled and RPGs, you really can’t do any better. Check out our exhaustively-researched (seriously!) review for more details.

Puzzle Quest 2 will be on sale for $4.99 for one week only. This gaming treasure can be found here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Philippines set to get Nokia Lumia 800 on Globe Telecom

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With Nokia launching the Lumia series all over the world, one area which wasn't mention and we've been asked about is the Philippines. It's no small country either with 94 million people, some of which we know are yearning for a Nokia Windows Phone. The good news is you're finally have your day.

Globe Telecom is set to get their hands on the Lumia 800 on April 16th for "P1,499 a month, bundled with unlimited mobile browsing and call and text “freebies” and will come in both black and cyan colors.

Not a bad deal and we're finally glad to see the Philippines, who received access to the Windows Phone Marketplace in February, will have this top of the line Windows Phone very soon.

Source: Inquire Technology; Thanks, Daniel P., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: iStunt 2 freestyles onto the Marketplace

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Who says spring is too late for winter sports? The time is right for iStunt 2 (no relation to Jet Car Stunts), which is now on the Marketplace.

In iStunt 2, players steer a snowboarder around 2D courses, collecting stars and trying to earn high scores – not unlike the GameBoy classic Motocross Maniacs. Your border will have to survive crazy loops, buzzsaws, gravity portals, and other hazards in order to reach the finish line. Steering is as simple as tilting the phone to adjust the board’s position, while swiping down on the screen crouches and swiping up jumps.

iStunt 2 has four sets of levels containing at least 88 levels (we’re not sure of the exact number yet). The coins earned from completing levels can be spent in the game’s shop to unlock new rides, boards, and level skips. You can even unlock Gravity Guy and the protagonist from Fragger, Miniclip’s previous Xbox Live titles.

Miniclip was the first mobile Xbox Live developer to incorporate PDLC in their titles, a trend which continues in iStunt 2. Players can purchase coins for the in-game shop using Microsoft Points – it’s 80 MSP($1) for 1500 coins or 320 MSP ($4) for 20,000. But remember, spending money on coins is an entirely optional timesaver since you earn them in-game anyway.

iStunt 2 costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace and start boarding!

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3 years ago

Nokia hooks up with Good Technology for Secure Enterprise Messaging on Windows Phone

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We don't recall seeing this at the insanity that was Mobile World Congress, but evidently on February 27th, Good Technology, who focuses on enterprise and security (and who used to be owned by Motorola) announced a partnership with Nokia to bring their "FIPS-certified 192 bit AES encryption and end-to-end mobile messaging" service to Lumia Windows Phones.

The service is set to roll out in Q2 2012, which means we should see this very soon. The press release goes on to detail the features coming to the Windows Phone app, which by the sounds of it will be only available in the Nokia Collection through the Marketplace:

"Employees will be able to access corporate email, contacts, and calendars through the Good for Enterprise application on their Nokia Windows Phone smartphones—just as they access Microsoft Outlook® or Lotus Notes® on desktop computers at the office—using the intuitive user interface with panorama and pivot views with which they are already be familiar. IT managers will be able to protect corporate data with data encryption and easy-to-apply policies, such as requiring passwords and preventing 'cut/copy/paste' capabilities from the Good for Enterprise app. They will also be able to establish role-based policies using web-based management tools and perform remote wipe of enterprise information only, leaving music, photos, and other personal data present elsewhere on an employee's mobile device intact in the event the mobile device is compromised, lost or stolen."

A big gap in Windows Phone services is actually in enterprise, specifically the lack of encryption on the device or secure, non-Exchange based messaging. Unfortunately, while many in IT departments want more advanced features on current Windows Phones, there seems to be no plans for an "enterprise update" for Windows Phone 7. Instead, Microsoft is putting off a major refocusing on this area till Windows Phone 8, expected in late 2012 (rollout early 2013) including 128-bit native BitLocker data encryption.

While Windows Phone 8 looks promising, this partnership with Nokia for the Lumia 710, 800 and 900 devices will offer a nice stop-gap for mid 2012 and another reason to "go Nokia". Combined with AT&T's recent secure-messaging software for Windows Phones, Lumia 900 owners will have no less than three enterprise-focused messaging solutions: AT&T's, Good Technology and of course Exchange. We think that's a pretty killer combo for IT departments.

Read the full press release after the break...Thanks, bilzkh, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Tennis Pro

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