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2 years ago

Can't wait for the Windows Phone Tango update? Download the CAB file now and do it yourself.

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File this under: Experienced users only

Warning:  We’re just going to say that Windows Phone 7.5 Tango is not that big of a deal. It’s a tiny update with a few MMS enhancements and some minor tweaks (most of which are undocumented, but see our hands on video to get an idea). So we’re not sure that trying to manually update your Windows Phone with Tango 8773.98 is a high priority. Nor is the risk of damaging your phone and blocking the upcoming 7.8 update.

And let's be honest, a lot of "fixes" and "tweaks" for your Windows Phone will come from the OEM firmware which this does not provide. Finally, this does not provide the new Start screen. That's Windows Phone 7.8 this is still 7.5.

Having said that, user bobzero on the XDA Forums has posted the Tango OS cab files direct from Microsoft and the needed language files to get the update started. It will break inter-op unlock (for the tiny few of you who have that) but you can go through the process again re-enable it.

The big question for many of you will be How do I do this? It’s not Android-custom ROM hard, but it does require a little prep work and some careful reading.

Luckily for you we wrote a nice little tutorial on how to manually update your phone to 8107 to get the much needed “disappearing keyboard fix”. That same process should work here so long as you replace the 8107 CAB with the 8773 one, obviously. Likewise, you’ll need the language packs too which bobzero has given you.

We haven’t done this yet ourselves but we do have our trusty Samsung Focus 2 and a bottle of Wild Turkey that says we’re going to try it soon.

As usual, sound off in comments on your experience and please, don’t blame us if you damage your phone. Remember: read, ask questions and take your time. And if you're on OS 8107 you need to go to 8112 first.

Source: XDA Forums; Thanks, bobzero for this tip and your past ones ;-)

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2 years ago

Magenta Lumia 900 ROM for AT&T shows up on Nokia's servers. Close to release?

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A non-working, magenta Lumia 900 for Italian Nokia stores

For a few months now we've been teasing the Magenta variant of the Nokia Lumia 900. We first reported that it was scheduled for a Mother's Day release, which would have seen appropriate but alas that never came to be. Since then we've seen the Magenta device show up worldwide a few times including Nokia's own Facebook page but it has yet to be released anywhere.

Now, if you load up NaviFirm Plus and check Nokia's servers, you'll see a Magenta ROM for the Lumia 900 looking pretty. The listed file name is RM-808 VAR ATT MAGENTA (059N3B9) and it corresponds with the same ROM and firmware available for the current cyan, matte black and glossy white versions already available on AT&T.

A snapshot from Navifirm clearly showing a Magenta Lumia 900 ROM for AT&T

While there is no word on availability we're going to take this as a major sign that AT&T is gearing up for its release and it is rather close too. 

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2 years ago

Sweet Sync for SugarSync gets updated, adds background photo sync

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An update is heading our way for the Sweet Sync for SugarSync app. Sugar Sync is a cloud storage option, similar to Dropbox or Skydrive, and Sweet Sync is your unofficial Windows Phone connection to the cloud service.

The update takes Sweet Sync to version 1.4 and brings background photo synchronization into the mix. When enabled the app will detect new photos on your Windows Phone and sync them upon startup.

The version 1.4 update also adds the option to sync only when your on wifi and select any sync folder in your account to sync to (or not to sync to). This is a nice data saving feature.

The update has just passed Marketplace certification so look for it to be pushed out in the next 24-48 hours. In the meantime, you can find Sweet Sync for SugarSync here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. There is a trial version with the full version of Sweet Sync for SugarSync running $1.29.

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2 years ago

The competition - Google's Android 4.1 announcements and a new 7" tablet

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Android is currently the thorn in everyone's side—from Apple to Microsoft to RIM—the “free” mobile OS is continuing to dominate and today they added just a little bit more.

For those who weren’t aware, Google I/O kicked off today. It’s their BUILD, their MIX, their random secret Apple announcement where they show off their big plans for Android over the next few months. Here’s the recap of the big news today which will surely keep Redmond on their toes:

Google Nexus 7 – A 7” tablet that is branded by Google themselves. Analogous to their Nexus line of phones, the mini tablet will set the standard for Android going forward and boy, do they need it. Android tablets are currently fairly terrible (we speak from personal experience with the lauded Samsung 10.1) and Google really needs to get their act together here before Microsoft takes a swing with the Surface.

While a 7” tablet is quite meager and far from ideal, Google did win in a couple of areas. For one, they announced the specifications—we mean all the nitty gritty. It has a 1280x800 display, quad-processor, 9 hours of video playback, WiFi, NFC, GPS and Bluetooth.  It also got a price tag at $199 with pre-orders starting today for a mid-July release.

And that’s where Microsoft lost everyone last week—no price and no date on availability. That $199 will guarantee this device gets into a lot of hands. Will it be enough to keep Surface from taking off? We doubt it but it’s not helping either. Think Kindle Fire though as Google’s main target though as opposed to an iPad or Surface. Check out our pal Phil's hands on with the tablet here.

Android 4.1 ‘Jelly Bean’ – Ah yes, the ridiculous names of Android continues and Android 4.1 was shown off today. What’s more, the SDK is now out and available for download too.  Some of the new features include offline voice-to-text dictation, new notifications which expand upon the current model, improved voice search akin to Apple’s Siri, redesigned camera app and a new service that uses your Google data to recommend things.

Is 4.1 killer? No, as the 0.1 bump indicates this is a minor revision and it’s nothing compared to what Microsoft is doing with Windows Phone 8 and the NT kernel. Still, like iOS 6, Android is continuing to build off of their foundation, adding new, somewhat interesting and useful features for consumers.

Jelly Bean 4.1 will be available by mid-July for their Nexus devices but the big question is what about everyone else?  Android has a terrible update record and 4.0 is barely on 10% of devices. In other words, Microsoft has some breathing room here for the fall and its new Windows Phone 8 devices (see, it would have been easier to say “Windows 8 Phones”).

Oh and their unlocked, Galaxy Nexus phone dropped to $350 for those in the US

Google Maps with offline caching – Like the Nokia-Microsoft mapping announcement for Windows Phone 8, users can grab the brand new Google Maps now with offline caching. Powerful stuff

Chrome for Android out of beta – While it’s no IE10, Google took the beta off of Chrome for it’s new Android browser. It should be interesting to see how it compares to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 in the fall.

Nexus Q - Think of it as Google's answer to Nokia's Play 360. A device to stream your music too but price higher. It will fetch for $299 with preorders starting today.

All in all, Google did not announce any game changers, nothing disruptive except for the 7” tablet. That Nexus 7 will do a lot to drop prices on mini-tablets and force Apple and Microsoft to rethink some options in the future but we're not sure it's going to fix Google's problems here.

Google doesn’t  win because it’s better, it wins through market saturation. Read more I/O 2012 coverage at Android Central.

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2 years ago

Qualcomm offering $200,000 for best Windows RT apps

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Qualcomm has announced a Windows RT Metro Style App developer contest at Uplinq 2012. Before you get yourself excited, the competition is only available to those who reside in the states, but should you be eligible you can pocket a chunk of the $200,000 prize - not bad, eh?

Winners will be selected in a number of categories, including 'Best Overall Windows RT app" ($100,000), "Best Compelling Connectivity Use Case" ($20,000), "Best Gaming App" ($20,000), "Best Productivity App" ($20,000) and "Best AllJoyn Peer-to-peer app" ($40,000). Each entered app will be evaluated by a panel.

To enter one must submit their working application where it will then be judged. The entry period is active until October 1st 2012. For more information, check out the competition website. Full press release can be found after the break.

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2 years ago

Microsoft to open an Australian flagship Store in Sydney by 2013?

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According to a tipster over at WPDownUnder, Microsoft may well be looking to unveil a flagship store in Sydney, Australia. The report suggests the software giant will open up a bricks and mortar store before 2013 to follow the US advancement.

WPDownUnder notes that should a UK store open its doors, it would spark the beginning of an alteration to the partnership with Arvato, a third-party outsourcing provider who manages Microsoft's online store in 31 countries.

With Microsoft soon to launch Windows 8, the Surface tablet range, and Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo") it makes sense for the company to look at ways to further engage with consumers directly. We've seen this with Windows Phone so there's no reason why we can't see a different Microsoft from the corporate beast what we've grown to love and hate.

Would you prefer to see the company expand globally with stores to combat competition?

Source: WPDownUnder

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2 years ago

Windows Phone Refresh (a.k.a. Tango) starts global roll out

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The Windows Phone Tango update started rolling out to the Nokia Lumia 710 in Canada from Rogers last week. We expected a more global roll out to start today for the Lumia 710 and 800 Windows Phone and sure enough, we've received several tips confirming that today is in fact the day.

It appears that Europe, South American and the U.S. are reporting that they are getting the alert to update their Windows Phone to Tango.

The Tango update includes internet sharing capabilities, a fix for the disappearing keyboard and a handful of other improvements. You can follow along with the global roll out here at Nokia's Tango Update page.

Thanks, everyone, for the tips.

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2 years ago

Review: Nokia Gel Case and Bumper cases for the Lumia 900

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From launch, Nokia has offered a Gel Case and a Bumper case for the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. The two cases offer minimal protection, mainly against scratches.

The cases are constructed from a rubbery plastic that is thick enough to maintain durability without adding any thickness to the Windows Phone. Each case style comes in an assortment of colors and each run $20. They both have a degree of appeal but after using both for a few days, I couldn't help but think Nokia could have done better.

First up, we'll take a look at the Nokia Gel Case.

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2 years ago

British personality Stephen Fry is moonlighting with a Lumia 900. Still prefers the iPhone.

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In our continued "look which celebrity is using Windows Phone now" series, actor, comedian, writer, playwright and all around swell guy Stephen Fry evidently has a Nokia Lumia 900

The famous British personality is well known for his love of all things Apple and is quite fond of his iPhone too. In fact, Fry doesn't seem to be swaying from his love of the iPhone as he took its picture with his Lumia 900.

The evidence comes from this Tweet where the actor comments "My iPhone, pimped into @NCFC colours by the geniuses from @JailBreakCon - I'm blissed out!". The Tweet itself comes from "Microsoft" which we know is the default reference for Windows Phone. In addition, a quick look at the EXIF data from the photo (hosted on SkyDrive) reveals that the photo was indeed taken with a Lumia 900.

Unfortunately, a quick peruse of his Twitter timeline reveals he also has an Android device too and the Lumia 900 gets no mention from him. Meaning? We assume Mr. Fry was given a promotional phone at some point and unfortunately just never really took to it.  Still, maybe he just picked it up and is giving it a go. Either way, we won't hold it against him.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Craig H., for the tip

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2 years ago

Gerbil Physics is the cutest Xbox Live Deal of the week ever

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This must be animal week for Xbox Live on Windows Phone. First we get the simian-themed Super Monkey Ball 2 as a new release, and now the sale game features hundreds of cuddly rodents. Plus it’s never been on sale before, unlike the previous June deals! Gerbil Physics from Pencel Games is on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Sure, Gerbil Physics is a physics-based puzzle game, and we all own like twelve of those already. But this one’s 20 times cuter than the competition! Each level presents stacks of adorable, well drawn gerbils which players must then knock over with well-placed bombs. The Windows Phone version includes 72 levels (three times as many levels as the original Xbox 360 game), lots of new animations, music, and some entertaining story sequences, too.

We’ve heard whispers that a Gerbil Physics title update is in the works. I say whispers, but I might’ve put in a few suggestions as with the recent Chickens Can’t Fly update. Hey, I just mentioned another animal game! If only I could’ve worked Kinectimals into this post too… Oh well. Anyway, we’ll talk more about that update as soon as we can.

Gerbil Physics is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and start saving those gerbils!

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2 years ago

Xbox Live - Super Monkey Ball 2 brings deja vu and minigames to the Marketplace

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Let’s face it; there just aren’t enough monkeys in your life. That’s where SEGA’s Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition comes in. The Super Monkey Ball sequel is now available on the Marketplace and as expected, it’s packed with both monkeys and balls. How could you go wrong?

After the first game’s high levels of crapulence, I was concerned that Super Monkey Ball 2 might follow suit. Well, it's pretty much the same, for better or worse. The tilt controls are as finicky ever, often making it a challenge to slow the monkey ball or bring it to a stop. A new tilt meter at least shows how the game is reading your device’s tilt, slightly reducing the difficulty. Basically, the tilting is not as good as a virtual stick could have been, but you can get used to it after a level or two.

The secondary goal of earning crowns on every level (by picking up all 10 bananas without dying) is just as frustrating as before. If you fail to earn a crown on a level, you’ll have to play a batch of 10 levels in order to get return to it and have a shot at earning the crown again. Smart ideas like allowing players to pause and retry a level or pick a specific level and try for its crown have sadly remained in the waste bin, covered in discarded banana peels and (presumably) empty whisky bottles. Anyway, if you can put aside the desire to get all the crowns (hard as that is for Achievements lovers to do), the game will be a lot more enjoyable and less frustrating.

SMB 2 definitely one-ups its predecessor in one key area: minigames. All three minigames: Monkey Bowling, Monkey Target, and Monkey Golf work nicely and have easy Achievements. The minigames only support pass-and-play multiplayer though, unlike the iOS version, which had local Wi-Fi multiplayer. Perhaps this one got ported before Microsoft finally started allowing Wi-Fi multiplayer. You never really know with Microsoft; they don’t seem to have a coherent multiplayer game plan for Windows Phone.

Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Zebrasqual for the tip!

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2 years ago

Zynga announces ‘With Friends’ social gaming network with Windows Phone support

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Last week at the Windows Phone Summit, it was finally revealed that Zynga will be bringing Words with Friends and DrawSomething to Windows Phone this fall. Actually, Microsoft's Ben Rudolph teased that both games are "so-close-you-can-taste it" meaning we may be getting those marquee titles by the end of the summer (fingers crossed).

It also looks like that Zynga partnership is going deeper than just those two games. The popular online gaming company just announced 'With Friends' which is hailed to be their own social gaming network and it sounds a lot like Xbox LIVE--you can create a profile, see your friend's profiles, message them and see what they have been playing. Heck, you can even meet people with similar game interests.

What makes this fascinating though is the fact that it works across platforms. The social network will launch on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and of course be on the web, making it a true cross-platform gaming social network...thing

We're not sure if it will be any good but we just like the fact that Zynga is on board with Windows Phone these days.

Source: Wired

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2 years ago

Nokia providing Tango update page to check availability. AT&T Lumia 900 waiting for next update?

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Continuing that trend of providing the best customer experience on Windows Phone, Nokia has put up a page where regular users can check to see if Windows Phone 8773 aka "Tango" has been released yet, or even just the status of the update.

Located at www.nokia.com/global/support/software-update/lumia/software-update-for-nokia-lumia/ uses can select which region they are in and the drill down to their carrier or Lumia version number.

Interestingly enough, the AT&T Lumia 900 is not even on the list for North America which strongly implies that the carrier is skipping the update and heading right for Windows Phone 7.8 which will include the few Tango features. We're not sure if that's good or bad as Tango doesn't really bring much more than a few MMS enhancements to the 900 but still, it would have been nice to see it as there is no ETA on 7.8.

For T-Mobile, we just posted that the Tango update for the Lumia 710 should go live tomorrow, June 27th, after a delay of a week. We'll be keeping an eye out for that one.

Edit: Some readers correctly point out that Nokia specifically mentions this update is only for the Lumia 710 and 800, so we shouldn't expect the 900 to be listed. This is partially true but only because non-North America (AT&T, Rogers) Lumia 900s shipped with "Tango" pre-installed already, so they don't need the update. Only AT&T and Rogers (as far as we know) and a handful of smaller countries don't have 8773/Tango pre-installed. 

Source: Nokia; Thanks, bilzkh, for the tip

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2 years ago

T-Mobile US pushes back Windows Phone Refresh (Tango) Lumia update 710 rollout to June 27

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According to a second leaked internal memo, T-Mobile US is set to kick off the Windows Phone Refresh (aka "Tango") rollout tomorrow, on June 27th. We previously received word from sources that June 20th was the destined date, but it seems as though the upgrade has been delayed slightly. 

The Nokia Lumia 710 is the Windows Phone that will benefit from the update that will be installed via Zune (or the Mac Connector). Internet sharing capability, disappearing keyboard fix, as well as a number of other improvements, are bundled with introduced features which will please those who have been waiting patiently.

Be sure to keep a watchful eye on the lookout for any update notifications.

Thanks, Jacinta, for the tip!

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2 years ago

Microsoft Job post hints at bringing Windows Phone and Kinect to cars

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Microsoft's Connected Car team may be looking to bring many aspects of the Project Detroit car to consumers. Project Detroit was a suped-up Ford Mustang packed with the technological horse-power of Windows Phone and Kinect. It's audio, security and lighting systems could all be controlled through a Windows Phone.

According to the job posting, Microsoft is looking for someone to help integrate not only Windows Phone and Kinect with automotive technology, but also Windows 8, Bing, Azure and TellMe. The result would be a fully-interactive vehicular experience:

"The new Connected Car will know its riders, and will interact with them naturally via speech, gestures, and face tracking. It will learn their habits, and offer personalized contextual information and driving assists to get them to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. Through a growing catalogue of applications, it will inform and entertain them, and keep them connected with the people and information they care about."

While Microsoft already offers its Windows Embedded technology in such products as Ford's Sync and Kia's UVO, along with many others, this goes above and beyond.

"The combination of rich local sensing, user identification, cloud access, and data mining will transform tomorrow’s cars from passive objects into intelligent assistants for both the driver and their passengers."

It looks as though the posting may have disappeared from the website, but you can read it in its entirety below.

"We, the Microsoft Connected Car team, have a strong track record and an extensive customer base in the automotive industry. In the past fourteen years, we delivered various iterations of our Windows Embedded Automotive platform to the automotive suppliers of major auto brands such as Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, and McLaren. We also partnered directly with select automakers to create integrated Telematics products such as Fiat Blue&Me, Ford SYNC, and Kia UVO. Featuring cutting-edge communications, travel information, entertainment, and accessory control via voice and touch interfaces, these products have been highly successful, increasing the automakers’ US sales of by up to 35% and telematics adoption up to 70%.

Yet our ambitions do not end there. For the next generation of the Connected Car Platform, we plan to leverage the full power of the Microsoft ecosystem including Kinect, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Live, Bing, Azure, and Tellme. The combination of rich local sensing, user identification, cloud access, and data mining will transform tomorrow’s cars from passive objects into intelligent assistants for both the driver and their passengers. The new Connected Car will know its riders, and will interact with them naturally via speech, gestures, and face tracking. It will learn their habits, and offer personalized contextual information and driving assists to get them to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. Through a growing catalogue of applications, it will inform and entertain them, and keep them connected with the people and information they care about. The possibilities are endless."

Source: Microsoft; Via: IStartedSomething

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