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3 years ago

From the Forums: New applications this week

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We are taking a look at some of this week’s new applications posted in our Applications Spotlight forum. What are these spotlight forums? They are our forums area we dedicated to developers. It’s a place for developers to pimp their new apps.

Gym PocketGuide - 70+ workouts all with HQ guides from Bodybuilding.com - This is what Dominic_W has to say about his app:

“Hey everyone, I recently found a passion for making WP7 apps so I thought why not combine it with my other interest, going to the gym. I wanted to make a quality app for fellow users so I contacted Bodybuilding.com to seek permission to use their high quality workout images (which I received).”

This is a nice app. It includes Programs for different body types, workouts for target areas and even includes stretches to help you get warmed up. You’re going to be listening to Zune music while you work out, right, so why not have an app on your phone to help you with your training?

AppVegas, a new marketplace browser/app finder! - Now this is a fun title. It puts the Windows Phone Marketplace on a slot machine that pays off every time. You shake your phone to start the fun. Then the app gives you a not so random app selection from the Marketplace where you can then tap on the selected app to get more information or shake again to get something else. This app is a fun way to search the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is what SelesGames has to say:

“We released a new app just a couple days ago, it's called "AppVegas" and it is a fun way to find apps and games for Windows Phone. The idea for the app was inspired by UrbanSpoon on the iPhone (for those who haven't used it, UrbanSpoon uses a slot machine interface to find local restaurants). We've *coughstolencough* that concept and used it for finding WP apps and games - a more noble cause if you ask us! Please try it out and let us know what you think!”

Right Size for WP7 - This app added to the Spotlight by Krestor costs $.99 in the Windows Phone Marketplace and it does have a trial version. This app has an easy to use interface as you just pick a flag for your country then the flag for the country you are buying clothes in (Odd, it seems that I am larger in every other country in the world) Krestor has this to say about their application:

“Right Size is a clothing size conversion tool supporting US, UK, European, Japanese and Russian standards. If you cannot take your body measurements right now, you can enter a size you know and the application will convert it into all global size standards. With Right Size, a trip abroad, online shopping or buying a surprise gift for your significant other will be so much easier!”

These are just some of the applications posted this week in our Applications Spotlight forum. There are hundreds more available for you to check out and even give the developer some direct feedback.

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3 years ago

AT&T HTC Titan II on backorder from Amazon Wireless

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Despite being the phone of choice for a few of us here at WPCentral, the HTC Titan II on AT&T with 4G LTE, a 4.7" screen and 16MP camera has not been the hottest selling phone. Due in part HTC all but ignoring it (from a marketing standpoint) and it largely being overshadowed by the "hero" Nokia Lumia 900, the Titan II may go down in history as the least appreciated Windows Phone.

So it's a bit surprising to see it backordered on Amazon Wireless with a 8 to 9 day wait on the phone where it is selling for $150 on a two year contract, $50 less tha direct from AT&T.

Perhaps sales are better than expected? Probably not. The phone is sitting at #76 for top selling across all carriers and #23 on AT&T indicating that the device is not exactly pushing massive inventory.

Our cynical speculation on the matter is that HTC may be redirecting production capacity towards their Android phones, especially their One X and One S series which are gaining a lot of positive feedback and seeing high demand. Of course it could also be Amazon Wireless just not stocking properly although that seems to be along wait for something just out of stock.

For now, if you want the Titan II you'll have to either get it from AT&T direct where it is still in stock or wait for Amazon Wireless to get in a new shipment.

Source: Amazon Wireless

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3 years ago

Microsoft, Barnes & Noble settle litigation, form massive new partnership

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This morning, Microsoft announced a new partnership with Barnes & Noble for their eReader business having settled the previous litigation on claimed patent infringement.

The new subsidiary of Barnes & Noble called Newco (not the real name, just a placeholder to be determined later) will focus on the digital and college business of the company. Microsoft is investing $300 million into the venture and will maintain a 17.6% equity stake in the new company.

Of course it should come as no surprise that a NOOK eReader will be one of the first priorities of the nw partnership with a client for Windows 8 in the works. Barnes & Noble commented on the newly announced deal noting:

“The formation of Newco and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft’s investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business.”

Although lots of pundits like to criticize Microsoft for "patent trolling" others would claim that the company is looking out for their shareholder's interest by defending what they see as their intellectual property. Despite this, some saw in B&N as standing up to Microsoft, fighting them publicly in the matter. Instead, B&N made a deal with the devil perhaps even angering Google along the way (Android powers the new Nook eReader).

Either way, Microsoft's strategy seems to be paying off for although B&N does not have to admit any guilt for the claimed violations, they clearly were forced to the table for what looks to be an exciting deal for both companies. In fact, this could be the lifeline the fading book retailer needs in its life and death struggle with adversary Amazon.com.

No mention of a Windows Phone client has been announced which has been missing since Windows Mobile and the HTC HD2. However, rumors suggest that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are based on the same kernel and have large amounts of overlapping code. As a result the announcement of a Windows 8 client may in fact be a dual one for Windows Phone.

Regardless, you can imagine B&N will be getting some favorable treatment from Microsoft in the future. Something that Apple and Google will have trouble in matching. For this, we' very excited by this deal (even if we're Kindle fans here).

Full press release after the break...

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3 years ago

LG focusing on Android with no new Windows Phone planned

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This morning LG Electronics reported to the Korea Herald that they have no immediate plans to introduce new Windows Phone to the market. Instead LG are focusing on Android for their future smartphone releases noting that "The total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure."

The company claimed that the partnership between it and Microsoft remains good but the plan to focus on Windows Phone, announced in 2009, has not worked out for them financially. LG ended up losing money for seven straight quarters and only recently turned a profit. As a result they lost a lot of market share, especially with HTC and Samsung having a winning portfolio of Android devices.

Regarding Windows Phone specifically, a spokesperson for the company told the Herald that they will “continue research and development efforts” on Microsoft's mobile OS.

This news comes on the heels of an announcement of Steve Ballmer headed to Seoul Digital Forum on May 22 where he will be meeting with various business and developers. Though LG claims to not know his business schedule the implication is that Ballmer may meet with LGE for some damage control regarding their recent smartphone decision.

One can claim that LGs offerings for Windows Phone have been extremely lackluster with only the LG Quantum (review), limited to AT&T and a few regional carriers, showing any real innovation. And despite being only one of two hard-keyboard Windows Phone devices it never sold well anywhere. Even the LG Jil Sander phone was a bomb having its price constantly cut, in fact when we got our hands on it we panned the phone as feeling cheap and unexciting.

While prototype devices like the E740 remain floating around (we'll have our mini-review of it later today), the phone is a far cry from anything interesting and would do nothing for LG or Windows Phone were it to be released. It's one unique feature, NFC, has very little support in most major markets in 2012.

Clearly LG is facing stiff competition, poor R&D and they are feeling the pressure from the Microsoft-Nokia partnership which they commented on in 2011. Perhaps they will use this to leverage a favorable deal from Microsoft if Ballmer meets with them later in May. While it could look bad to lose a major OEM like LG, we're not exactly too saddened either.

Clearly Nokia, HTC and Samsung are the future of Windows Phone.

Source: Korea Herald

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3 years ago

Like electricity? Hack wireless charging on to your Nokia Lumia 800

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If you have a few minutes you can watch the video above of reader Oli Gill bravely modifying his Nokia Lumia 800 to enable wireless charging ala Palm/HP and their Touchstone charger.

There is no doubt that any of us, especially with the more high-end Lumia 900 would love to have this feature in our Nokia Windows Phone. In fact, we wonder if and when Nokia will take the big plunge and be the first Windows Phone OEM to do this officially. After all, if there was one hardware company that could do this on a wide scale it'd be Nokia (though HTC and Samsung are fully capable too).

We're not going to lie though, this mod is quite advanced and we're pretty sure we won't have the time or skills to do this. But we also know a lot of our audience is highly educated and love to do things like this, so for you folks, here you go!

Oh and Oli, if you ever want to start a small side business, we're sure many of us would gladly send you our Lumias to have this warranty-voiding hack. Anyone else?

Thanks, Oli, for the tip and video

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3 years ago

Bring back Windows Phone Marketplace in Zune with simple registry addition

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Microsoft removed the ability to browse or purchase new apps for Windows Phone in the Zune Desktop app last week causing a stir amongst users. While Windows Phone users can still get podcasts, videos and music, the only apps available are for Zune HD users (who have no other method to get apps). Instead, users are instructed to use the Web Marketplace or the store on their phone, which is how most users are doing it anyway.

We reported on an interesting hack the other day to bring back the Marketplace but it was a bit convoluted requiring a server intercept of a config file.

Today though, reader Thomas W. sent us a simple registry trick on your PC that can instantly bring back the Marketplace. All it requires is adding a new Key with a new DWORD and you'll be good to go. If you have a registry editor on your PC, simply do this:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Zune
  • Create KEY: FeaturesOverride
  • DWORD: Apps = 1

Now restart Zune Desktop and in a flash, your Marketplace is back. Of course such a trick will disappear when Microsoft updates Zune or they somehow permanently disable the feature. But for now, we were able to successfully trial and purchase apps just as before.

While we personally have little use for this method of purchasing apps, you're needs may be different, so here you go!

Thanks, Thomas, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Developer Interview: David Hamilton, CTO and co-founder of Pepper

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This week in our Windows Phone developer interview series we're joined by David Hamilton, CTO and Co-Founder of Pepper. We took a quick look at Pepper from a recent Windows Phone User Group meet-up and were intrigued by both the idea behind the app and the vision for future cross-platform development.

So what's the deal with Pepper and how did it come to be? We threw Hamilton a set of questions for an insight into not only app-specific development, but how the team views Windows Phone against competitors. Head on past the break for the full interview.

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 listed on Amazon.com UK, Clove drops their price a bit

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While the Nokia Lumia 900's release in the U.K. has been slightly delayed, we're seeing signs that the May 14th date is holding firm. The black Lumia 900 has popped up on Amazon.co.uk for pre-order. The Windows Phone is being offered Sim-free for £479.99 (about $780 USD). The cyan or white models of the Lumia 900 are not listed.

The shipping information notes that the Lumia 900 is due to be released on May 14, 2012.  We're not sure if the phones will ship on the 14th but delivery in the U.K. is free with Amazon's Super Saver Delivery. 

Amazon U.K. joins Clove in offering the Nokia Lumia 900 for pre-orders. Clove's pre-order price for the unlocked Windows Phone is a little more attractive at £458.40 (about $745 USD) which is down from the original price of £486. Clove is still indicating the first stock of the Lumia 900's is expected on May 16, 2012.

Originally slated for a April 27th release in the U.K., the Nokia Lumia 900 was pushed back to May 14th due to high demand in the North American markets. While delays are never comfortable with consumers, for those waiting patiently for the Lumia 900 we think you'll find the new Windows Phone was well worth the wait.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Frog

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3 years ago

Skype Giveaway could land you a Titan II or Lumia 900

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Hot on the heals of the Smarter Apps Sweepstakes over on Facebook, another giveaway has surfaced. The Windows Phone Skype Giveaway is also being held over on Facebook and gives you a chance to win either an HTC Titan II or Nokia Lumia 900. Ten Windows Phones will be given away.

Just go to this Facebook page, watch the Skype video and then complete the entry form. You have until June 7, 2012 at 11:59PST to enter. Unfortunately we couldn't find the fine print so we don't know if you can enter daily or if you only get one entry.  Our guess, one entry per Facebook account per day but we could be wrong.

Oh...and the contest is only open to residents of the United States and District of Columbia (don't hate the messenger).

Good luck everyone and if you win will you choose the Titan II or Lumia 900?

Thanks, Ruslan, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Siri-like app for Windows Phone, Ask Ziggy, gets another major update

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While we don't have Siri (and Woz misses it) we do have Ask Ziggy which is getting closer and closer to Apple's AI. Some of the last few updates were interesting for Ziggy but the one for today comes across as stabilizing in addition to adding a few new features:

  • Live Calendar integration
  • Fixed annoying pop-ups ("query canceled", etc...)
  • New toggle to add/remove secondary Reminders tile
  • Yelp integration local and remote with multiple tappable areas on results
  • Improved splash screen animation
  • Fixed greeting issue + mic states
  • Improved overall performance
  • Search Tweets by topic "Tweets for NFL Combine"

We've been throwing lots of questions at it and the results seem more accurate (and quicker too) than in previous versions.  The Live Calendar integration looks to be a huge bonus for many of you who need to make appointments and the search Tweets feature is certainly a new twist.  Using Yelp for search results should also help you find that local bar or coffee shop too.

Overall, we're impressed with the update and seeing as the app is still free (and ad free) we so no reason for you to not try it. And if you have tried it in the past, you may want to re-download it and give version 2.3 a spin.

Hit us up on comments if you're seeing any improvements or have some tips to make it better. Grab Azk Ziggy here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Thanks, Vishal, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Amazing Weather v3.0 with new themes is now available for download on Windows Phone

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In the race for the coolest weather app for Windows Phone, you're the winner. Which is why we love to bring the news of app updates in this area for Windows Phone, since so many of you have your favorites and lets be honest, everyone needs a weather app.

We reported earlier that Amazing Weather (review) was going to get some major new themes in version 3.0 and sure enough, that update has just gone live in the Marketplace. Here are the changes:

  • 3 beautiful themes
  • 3 distinct live tiles
  • weather alerts
  • offline mode
  • auto location using GPS
  • 5 different cities,
  • refined UI with charts
  • support for new languages

The auto-location using GPS is great as you can pin that tile to your Start screen and it auto-updates your location when the weather is refreshed -- perfect for those of you on the go.  The new themes are great and a clear shot at Weather Flow (who went after the "realistic weather" model that Amazing Weather had originally brought).

So far we're really liking Amazing Weather and the update mostly because it delivers radar and a detailed weather forecast. The app fetches for a $1.29 in the marketplace with a free trial. Is it the best? We'll leave that up to you but we'll consider this as one of the top contenders.

Make sure you take a look at our "Best Weather Apps for your Windows Phone" if you need some more ideas!

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3 years ago

Nokia's Lumia 900 $100 credit rolling out

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We all know the story surrounding the connectivity issues with the Nokia Lumia 900, right? The Lumia 900 had a software bug that caused data connections to drop and in the span of a week Nokia acknowledged the problem, worked up a fix and distributed it ahead of schedule.

Customers had the choice of swapping out their Lumia 900 for a new unit or simply updated their existing Lumia 900 with the fix. To help compensate customers (who bought the Lumia on or before April 21st), Nokia also threw in a $100 credit.  The credit was scheduled to be applied within the next sixty days according to a reminder text message from AT&T.

Just as Nokia wasted no time rolling out the update, they aren't wasting any time rolling out the $100 credit.  We're getting reports from several readers that they are already seeing the credit showing up on their AT&T account. I just checked mine and sure enough, it's there.  

Kudos once again to Nokia for promptly addressing the problem, fixing it and crediting our accounts.  Is everyone else seeing the credit?  We've got a forums discussion going on about the credit rolling out.  Feel free to chime in there or in the comments below. 

Thanks to everyone for tipping us on this!

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3 years ago

AT&T reportedly stepping up advertising in May and June for Lumia 900

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"Operation Rolling Thunder": a slow, steady and gradual increase in marketing for Nokia in the U.S.

At least that's what we're lead to believe how Nokia and AT&T are approaching the Lumia 900, the flagship Windows Phone on the nation's largest carrier. While supplies have been tight these last few weeks, Nokia seems to be increasing the ship rates for the devices in all colors with most outlets now having stock (and we're still expecting that Magenta version in a few weeks).

According to AT&T employee Jeffery Brown, there are a few changes coming down the line:

  • AT&T reps are now required to sell at least one Nokia Lumia 900 by the end of April
  • "Marketing to go into high gear in May, June."

Both of those certainly sound plausible and we're contacting some of our other AT&T reps to confirm. But in all likelihood as the Lumia 900 continues to makes waves e.g. the comments by Steve Wozniak and regular non-tech users get their hands on the phone, Nokia and AT&T will ramp up their advertising accordingly.

In fact, reader Franklin S. contacted us the other night with this little gem:

"The Lumia 900 has taken over 42nd St - Grand Central station (NYC). They have lots of ADs, from the "S" shuttle passageway to the 4,5,6 side.  Unfortunately I did not take pictures."

Well, we'll try to grab a few pics today if we get a moment to show everyone but we still think, despite everything that has happened so far that this is just the beginning.

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