2 years ago
Microsoft teases announcement for Photosynth app on Windows Phone [Updated: now live]
Update: Photosynth for Windows Phone is now on the Marketplace. Read here for more info and download link.
It was about two weeks ago we demonstrated that Microsoft had bumped Photosynth (photosynth.net) to version 1.0 seemingly making the release imminent for Windows Phone. The popular photo stitching app has been in the works for well over a year as we had to watch iOS users take advantage of Microsoft's panoramic software.
At the time, we speculated that the app was coming out of beta hence the 1.0 designation and now we believe that to be accurate. The Twitter account for Windows Phone just tweeeted this little bit of info in the last hour:
"If only there were a great new way to stitch your photos to create a panoramic image. If only we had something to announce soon. IF ONLY :)"
Indeed. We can't think of many apps that would be worthy of such an announcement except for Photosynth and when combined with the v1.0 status from two weeks ago, dare we say we really think it's about to happen.
Hopefully we'll hear more from Microsoft within the next few days on the release. From our experience, companies announce releases only under one condition: when the app has cleared certification in the Marketplace. That could mean less than 24 hours before we get our hands on the app.
Source: Microsoft (Windows Phone); Thanks, parthp90, for the tip
2 years ago
Mobile marketing expert says Facebook could purchase Nokia to build "FacePhone"
We wrote up quite a lengthy article the other day detailing the possibility of a Facebook smartphone, or "FacePhone" for giggles, so we wont go into too much detail here to save your eyes some repetition. According to a report over at Computerworld, a mobile marketing expert based in Paris has predicted such hardware will emerge in 18 months. Yep, we know what you're thinking. Take this with a truck-load of salt.
Paul Amsellem, managing director of Mobile Network Group and the soul who believes such a device will become reality, also states that Facebook could buy Nokia with the state the manufacturer is in, which would give the social network an easy opportunity to get into the mobile market. This in itself is a wild prediction.
"Facebook will launch the FacePhone. And whether it has a blue color and a logo with a big F on it, it will definitely be disruptive. Even at this moment, Facebook doesn't know what it will look like, but they need to do it. Facebook needs somebody with an understanding of networking, technology, carrier relationships and logistics. They can acquire one of these two players [Nokia / RIM] for not a lot of money."
Amsellem goes onto say that the company needs to do something, which everyone will agree with. Facebook has found itself in a hole with stocks, revenue streams and innovations for the service itself. For the time being, the social network hangs on as an integrated service or app for current mobile operating systems. This will have a negative impact on advertisement revenues with more and more computer users moving to / adopting portable devices.
Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group, hits the Facebook situation nail on the head though.
"Facebook appears to be trying to emulate Google, much like Google tried to emulate Apple. A copy of a copy likely won't end up well, given how powerful both of the primary iOS and Android platforms are."
It boils down to the fact that Facebook really is just a place to communicate with friends, and occasionally water the crops. Is there space for Facebook as an ecosystem with a mobile platform to compete with Microsoft, Apple, RIM and Google? Probably not, but then again this is just an analyst's prediction, and we all know first-hand how inaccurate these can be.
What do you guys think? Would Facebook be punching above its weight?
2 years ago
Windows Phone Game Review: WordHog
2 years ago
Amazon Instant Video comes to Xbox 360
Amazon and Microsoft have joined forces to bring Amazon's Instant Video to the XBox 360 console. Not only will users have access to Amazon's 17,000 film and television titles, but they will be able to control it all using Kinect voice and gesture commands. Speaking of the new joint venture, Ross Honey, general manager of Xbox LIVE Entertainment and Advertising at Microsoft had this to say:
“Working with Amazon.com marks a significant milestone in our mission to make the entertainment you love more amazing on Xbox. By bringing the Amazon Instant Video app to Xbox LIVE and adding voice search and voice control through the magic of Kinect, we’re transforming the way people discover and experience entertainment.”
Amazon' put out a comment of their own via their vice president for video, Anthony Bay:
“Amazon Instant Video on the Xbox 360 console is among one of the most requested video features from our customers, so we are excited to offer yet another way for customers to enjoy Amazon Instant Video.”
This is a significant move for Amazon, as XBox 360 continues to be the top-selling gaming console in the country. Microsoft, too, will benefit greatly from Amazon's huge media catalog as they strive to make XBox a one-stop place for gaming, music, video and social media.
2 years ago
From the Forums -- Battery life and the Lumia 900 (Hot thread)
Sometimes in the Windows Phone Central Forums we discuss serious issues which brings us to today’s hot thread. Today we are talking about the Lumia 900 and more specifically we are debating about the Lumia 900 "BP-6EW 1830mAh" standard Li-ion battery. Forum member ninjaap wants to know “Did your battery life get better?” as he has a Lumia 900 and he thinks his battery has become better over time.
“The first 2 weeks my battery life was terrible. It only lasted about 8hrs with normal use before wanting a charge. Then it consistently got better after every week, averaging about 12hrs. Now fast forward a few more weeks, about a month after purchase, I'm getting about a day and half on a single charge! I take it off at 8am every morning, and usually put it back on the charger at around midnight for overnight charging.”
The Lumia 900 runs on a BP-6EW 1830mAh standard Li-ion battery which is non-removable. Nokia states that this battery should provide you with 7 hours of talk time and 300 hours of GSM standby (you can get more information at Nokia). What we want to know is how your battery is and more important has your battery become any better with time? Forum member Mayoo agrees with ninjaap:
“I noticed this as well... Battery is getting better and better”
Forum member jimski has a different opinion. He thinks that heavy use of our new phone alters our perception e.g. when we first get our new phone we use it more thereby wasting more battery. We guess it could be true but how do we really know if we're using our phones less?
“Just a guess, but it is probably related to honeymoon syndrome. The first week you had your L900, like me you couldn't put it down. A few weeks later and now you are into a more normal routine. Think that plays a big part in perceived battery performance.”
2 years ago
Skype working to add notifications to the Windows Phone app?
The trusty New York Times just ran a nice behind-the-acquisiton piece on Microsoft on Skype discussing how the deal is panning out between the two companies. The article is mostly positive but it does of course address a few shortcomings of the MS-Skype deal that haven't materialized so far.
Windows Phone users are no stranger to the current limitations on the Skype app for Windows Phone, specifically the inability to receive calls or messages in the background. We outlined why such a system can be problematic for the mobile OS in a separate piece though it still doesn't alleviate disappointment for those wanting a richer VOIP experience.
Addressing that criticism, a Skype spokesman told the New York Times that such a shortcoming would be addressed in a future version of the software. While certainly positive sounding it still leaves many questions for us. For instance are we still talking about on Windows Phone 7.x or Windows Phone 8? Is there a distinction between the two development branches? What about devices like the Nokia Lumia 610 who can't run Skype? And of course, when will said update come?
At least from the tone it seems Skype and Microsoft are well aware of the criticism and plan to remedy them sometime in the future. Some other noteworthy tidbits
Skype client for Xbox 360 is not expected this year (though we bet we'll hear more on that next week at E3 in Los Angeles. We'll be there to cover it.)
Microsoft will integrate Skype into Lync
Nokia is in talks with carriers about ways to bundle Nokia Windows Phones with Skype and "lucrative high-speed data plans"
Ballmer is quoted as saying that Skype has not hurt Windows Phone (with the carriers) and that those carriers know "...the future of communications doesn’t look like the present of communications"
From our own conversations with Microsoft and Skype employees, we gather that the big hold up are the technical challenges presented with Skype's infrastructure. In essence, it's a bit of a mess from an engineering perspective and Microsoft-Skype need to walk cautiously when updating and reconfiguring the network.
We'll see more of this partnership pay off in late 2012 and early 2013 as Microsoft rolls out Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 but until then, we're expecting baby-steps. And so should you.
Source: The New York Times
2 years ago
O2 confirms availability of 32GB Nokia Lumia 900, not a typo on the website [Updated]
Well colour us all surprised. O2 Germany has confirmed, via Twitter, that the 32GB Lumia 900 is actually what's on offer and is not a typo on the website as we first presumed. The Windows Phone in question isn't just any old Lumia 900 either, it's the glossy white version, which has been listed on the carriers website as "coming soon"
There's still no word on pricing or availability just yet, and it'll be interesting to see if this 32GB variant makes its way elsewhere, especially with some owners demanding more storage.
Check out O2's tweet below (ignore the rough translation):
As well as the above official confirmation, Twitter user XB-Mod tweeted a photo of an O2 product listing documentation detailing the same specification. Looks as though Germany will either get to play around with a Lumia 900 with larger storage capacity exclusive to O2, or wake up tomorrow to an apology from the carrier for an error that has escalated to both the website and pressers.
Amazon.de also lists the Lumia 900 with an availability date of May 31st, at a price of EUR 575,00, but with only 16GB storage.
Update: Sorry folks, it seems O2 has changed the Lumia 900 specifications on their website to reflect 16GB. Looks like it was a typo and O2 was incorrect when confirming that it actually was 32GB. Thanks Pavel for letting us know of the change!
Source: O2 Germany (Twitter), @XB_Mod; thanks Ruben for the tip!
2 years ago
TalkBox getting early update, first images of Windows 8 desktop client appear
The mobile messaging service TalkBox had a nice little launch last week and has since racked up some solid reviews grabbing 4.5 stars out of 5. Not bad for a version 1.0 though clearly the app can use some fixes and features e.g. landscape for typing, Toast notifications that take you directly to the message, perhaps pinnable contacts, etc.
The good news is an updated version should be coming this week. We're not entirely sure on the changes but we'll get you that list as soon as possible. One thing we're certain of, the TalkBox team seems set on delivering a rock-solid experience on Windows Phone, which leads us to Windows 8...
As you can see below, the TalkBox team is evidently working on a a desktop application for their push-to-talk messaging service, which will allow you chat via texting or voice clips to all of your contacts on Windows Phone, iOS, Android and eventually even BlackBerry.
No word on specific features but as you can see from the images, it looks to support everything the mobile clients handle. The design also looks bright and minimal which should keep the Metro-peeps happy out there.
It's great to see developers taking the ability to co-develop for Windows Phone and Windows 8 seriously as we can only imagine such a strategy will be very helpful to their brand. We'll keep you posted on any more info that we get, so stay tuned.
Pick up TalkBox for Windows Phone for free here in the Marketplace.
2 years ago
Pre-order the Limited Edition Batman Lumia 900 from Phones 4u
UK mobile phone retailer Phones 4u has published their pre-order page for the limited edition Batman Lumia 900. Available for pre-order today, the special Lumia 900 is set to be in stock online and in selected flagship Phones 4u stores from June 1st.
As well as receiving the limited edition Windows Phone, each purchase will be bundled with cinema tickets to see The Dark Knight Rises, with a chance to win a VIP experience at the premier. Phones 4u states this offer is also available to those who purchase standard Lumia 900s (in case black isn't your colour).
The device itself features a Nokia app for The Dark Knight Rises that packs wallpapers, trailers, ringtones and a location-based game using Foursquare. The limited edition Batman Lumia 900 is available for free on contracts starting at £30/mo on Orange and Vodafone, but should you wish to purchase one without a plan, you'll be set back by £599.95.
Selected flagship Phone 4u stores, which will all stock the Batman Lumia 900 are as follows: Merry Hill (Dudley), Newcastle upon Tyne, Metro Centre (Gateshead), Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Plymouth, Oxford Street (London), Stratford (London), Manchester, Luton, Portsmouth, and Cardiff.
Source: Phones 4u; thanks, Alex, for the heads up!
2 years ago
Lumia 900 TV advertisement shows off Windows Phone features
Nokia has an enticing television advertisement for Germany, which sports an identical theme to commercials aired in other countries. What's special about the Lumia 900 in to Germany is a 32GB version (16GB only - was a typo on O2's end), which appears to be exclusive to O2 DE thus far, is on its way.
This Windows Phone will feature the amount of storage that has been continuously requested by consumers. Still no word on when the device will be available for order, but for the meantime (should storage not be an issue) you can always pick up the 16GB version from Amazon.
Source: YouTube; thanks, Jan, for the heads up!
2 years ago
Sonic 4 Episode II Xbox 360 Impressions
Windows Phone Central has eagerly covered SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II ever since its first official announcement. The Windows Phone version is still due out in July, but the console and PC versions have already arrived. As such, here are my impressions of Sonic 4: Episode II on Xbox Live Arcade.
Episode II has a larger budget than the original game and it shows. The game starts out with an actual intro sequence, followed by more story bits later on. Graphically, Sonic and Tails are fully 3D and look great in close-ups like those in the bonus levels. The backgrounds feature more interesting and varied locales than before, such as White Park’s snow-covered theme park. New lighting and show effects impress as well. These graphical improvements extend to the currently-available iPhone version, so expect a similar boost on Windows Phone as well. I wish I could say the music had improved, but it sounds as unimpressive as the last game. Can’t have everything, I guess.
As with Episode I, there are four zones, each with three acts a piece. My favorites are the third and fourth zones, Oil Desert and Sky Fortress. The desert stage involves features unique set pieces like sliding down oil slicks, jumping to avoid sinking into quick sand, and frantically climbing silos as they fill with more death-dealing sand. Sky Fortress starts out with Sonic riding along on Tails’ biplane, just as he did in Sonic 2. After that engaging aerial sequence, look forward to navigating the exterior of an airship, running along walls, and firing Sonic from cannons to reach new areas.
Head past the break for more Xbox 360 impressions and details on the upcoming Windows Phone port!
2 years ago
Unlocked Lumia 900 available at Unlocked Mobiles for £445
Unlocked Mobiles has joined Amazon by offering the Lumia 900 Windows Phone for £445.98, a fairly attractive price. The recently launched flagship device is also available at Clove UK for £468 after a delay due to high demand present in American markets.
Sporting a 4.3" display, 1.4Ghz chip, 512MB RAM, 8MP rear shooter (with FF camera) and 16GB storage, the black Lumia 900 is available for next-day delivery with optional insurance from Unlocked Mobiles.
Will you be picking one up?
Source: Unlocked Mobiles
2 years ago
BBC says no to iPlayer for Windows Phone?
Say what? It was only Friday when we reported that Nokia had told The Inquirer that a BBC iPlayer app is on the way for Windows Phone, and should arrive within the next few weeks. Now we have Pocket-lint publishing an article stating otherwise with a response from the British corporation.
"BBC iPlayer is already on over 500 platforms and devices including Virgin Media, BT Vision, FreeSat, Freeview, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and hundreds of mobile phones, tablets and Internet-connected TVs,” said the BBC spokesman.
We are always looking at new and existing platforms to bring BBC iPlayer to, but have no plans to launch a BBC iPlayer native app in Windows Phone Marketplace in the immediate future.”
We'd like to point out that we believe the above statement to be a template response, and shouldn't be taken as what's final on the status of such an app. It would be strange for Nokia to confirm that the BBC iPlayer is coming to Lumia Windows Phones when it isn't, especially since the manufacturer has been superb with public and developer relations thus far. But then again, anything can happen.
We've contacted the BBC and Nokia for more information. We'll update accordingly.
2 years ago
The Nokia Lumia 610 can't run Angry Birds but Rovio is going to fix that
A few days ago some sites made some hay over the fact that the Nokia Lumia 610 (and any other 256MB devices) can't run certain apps or games. Some of the big titles thrown out include Tango Video Calls, Skype and and Angry Birds which at first blush appears to be bad news. Insert fragmentation commentary, yadda yadda.
While certainly true, the situation is far from permanent or dire. In short, neither app has been updated for 256MB devices as requested by Microsoft. There's no real reason why Angry Birds can't be optimized for 256MB devices, nor presumably Tango Video Calls. Heck, Angry Birds has barely been updated at all on Windows Phone.
That's about to change though as Rovio is working on a 256MB optimized version for the Luma 610 and any other low-end Windows Phones. Heidi Lemmetyinen, Editor-in-Chief, Nokia Conversations, responded in comments on Nokia's Blog with the following (translated):
"The Rovio team is currently being Angry Birds Lumia 610 for the optimized version. Yet it is not therefore available to the public but we've known about this. We will notify you, of course as soon as possible."
So bump in the road? Yes. Permanent fiasco? Hardly. We expect Angry Birds and the remaining 5% of apps and games to be updated over the coming weeks as the Lumia 610 and other 256MB start to come online. Let's not forget: Nokia and Rovio have forged a partnership to fast-track Angry Birds Space and their other titles to Windows Phone, so making their previous title compatible with the 610 shouldn't be a surprise.
Sorry folks, nothing to see here. Time to move along.
Be sure to check our demo of Skype on the Lumia 610 and our unboxing video for more info.
Source: Nokia; via Nokia HD Blog; Thanks, simone, for the tip
2 years ago
Finland leads the Windows Phone pack with highest web traffic usage
According to data from StatCounter, Windows Phone is doing relatively well in Finland by capturing 8% of the smartphone web traffic, thanks to Nokia. The Finnish manufacturer is working hard at promoting not only the Lumia line of smartphones, but the Windows Phone platform too, and on a global scale. It's good to see brand support in its home country remain strong.
Unfortunately, the picture for the rest of the world is rather bleak. Microsoft's OS has only 0.53% of the worldwide mobile web traffic. The country sat in second place, behind Finland, is Iceland at 2.3%. Even though it's quite a considerable gap between the two spots, it's interesting to see Iceland near the top instead of the UK or other markets that have witnessed heavy marketing.
From first-to-tenth in terms of web traffic ranking for Windows Phone: Finland, Iceland, Martinique, Faroe Islands, Austria, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, and Spain. While web traffic doesn't equal sales or true market share, it's an indicator of where Windows Phone is performing well. IDC has recently put Windows Phone (combined with Windows Mobile) marketshare at just 2.2%.
Nokia is set to hold the Nokia World conference this year in Helsinki, Finland.
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