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3 years ago

Google complains about antitrust issues, pointing fingers at Microsoft and Nokia

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Just when we thought the patent wars were over, Google has announced yesterday that they've filed an antitrust complaint in Europe, pointing a finger at Nokia and Microsoft regarding patents. The search giant is arguing that both companies are using third-party agencies (which are internally branded "patent trolls") to increase the costs for mobile devices, which would in-turn provide a strong advantage to the Microsoft ecosystem. An example is provided by Google, where the company states that Nokia and Microsoft have entered into revenue-based agreements with the likes of Mosaid Technologies.

Last year the two companies in question transferred a total of 2,000 patents to Mosaid, as well as Nokia selling 450 to IP Bulldog. Google views a threat on the horizon where more fees placed on OEMs may force manufacturers to look elsewhere, Windows Phone in this case, for cheaper production costs. While details of the filing has not been published, a statement from Google has been provided:

"Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that sidestep promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices."

By colluding with both Microsoft and Mosaid, Google alleges that Nokia has betrayed its previous open-source commitments. A Microsoft representative has responded to these claims with the following comment:

"Google is complaining about patents when it won't respond to growing concerns by regulators, elected officials and judges about its abuse of standard-essential patents, and it is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95% of mobile search and advertising. This seems like a desperate tactic on their part."

Nokia has also publicly responded to the filing:

"Though we have not yet seen the complaint, Google's suggestion that Nokia and Microsoft are colluding on IPR is wrong. Both companies have their own IPR portfolios and strategies and operate independently.

Nokia has made regular patent divestments over the last five years. In each case, any commitments made for standards essential patents transfer to the acquirer and existing licenses for the patents continue. Had Google asked us, we would have been happy to confirm this, which could then have avoided them wasting the commission's time and resources on such a frivolous complaint.

We agree with Google that Android devices have significant IP infringement issues, and would welcome constructive efforts to stop unauthorised use of Nokia intellectual property.

Nokia has an active licensing program with more than 40 licensees. Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license."

We'll have to see how these complaints progress through the European regulators. We'll never get tired of patent news.

Source: Wall Street Journal; via: AllAboutWindowsPhone

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3 years ago

E3 Sneak Peek: Xbox Smart Glass

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E3 Sneak Peek: Xbox Smart Glass

The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is just a few days away and Microsoft has given us a small glimpse at a new Xbox companion, Xbox Smart Glass. Xbox Smart Glass will be optimized for Windows tablets and phones to allow users to control their Xbox console, play videos and other media from their tablets and phones, and send videos to the Xbox to play on the television.

The app sounds similar to the Windows Phone Xbox Companion app but with a lot more gusto. Plus there's the Windows 8 tablet coming into play which is appealing in and of itself. Xbox Smart Glass will also be available for Android and iOS tablets and phones.

Microsoft will be demoing Smart Glass at E3 next week and hopefully will shed more light on the capabilities of Xbox Smart Glass. We'll be in attendance at E3 and hopefully we can shed more light on Xbox Smart Glass.

Source: Examiner Via: Engadget; Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Sneak Peek: MonsterUp Adventures for Windows Phone (Video)

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We've covered the popular "jumper" game MonsterUp previously on Windows Phone Central--published by Karios, the game features great music, bold, adorable graphics and interesting twists on an old concept. Though Doodle Jump gets the headlines, MonsterUp to us was always more creative. Now, Karios has returned with MonsterUp Adventures and we got a little sneak peek of the upcoming tile.

Instead of just a straight sequel i.e. yet-another-jumper, MonsterUp Adventures is more like a proper video game now. It features:

  • Levels you need to complete
  • Multiple "bosses"
  • Gems, jewels and coins to collect to unlock new monsters
  • A shop to purchase new monsters (who each have unique powers)

Whereas before the goal was to just jump as high as you can, now on each level you need to "jump to the end" to complete it. It takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes per level and yes, it's quite challenging at times (especially on the 2nd half of the island). The collecting of jewels to purchase new monsters is well done as it gives you motivation to try new combinations, plus it adds to the replay value.  The bosses, while not very difficult, add a nice break to the jumping and the exquisitely drawn and unique backgrounds keep the visuals fresh.

Sadly, MonsterUp Adventures as submitted to be an Xbox LIVE game but was denied by Microsoft. Like Karios, we're not sure what the criteria is for making into that coveted camp but compared to the last few stinkers on Xbox LIVE, MonsterUp Adventures more than makes the cut in our mind.

The plus side is MonsterUp Adventures will get to your phones sooner than if it were on Xbox LIVE and Karios can deliver more updates, more frequently.

So our verdict? We really like this game. Jumpers are fun but they can get old fast. Karios Games have taken that concept to a new level with 'Adventures, breathing new life into the growing franchise. With fantastic graphics, a catchy tune and high re-playablity we're impressed.

Look for MonsterUp Adventures to arrive in the Marketplace very soon. Check out the promo vid after the break...

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3 years ago

HTC Titan and Radar Windows Phones get unlocked bootloader and custom ROMs

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"Enthusiasts" can now load custom ROMs on devices like this HTC Titan

Good news for those with "2nd generation" Windows Phone like the HTC Radar and HTC Titan, the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have released their custom Hard Secondary Program Loader (HSPL) for those devices, including a "wizard" to guide you through the somewhat complicated process. Announced back in March, the team has made solid and steady progress over the last few months on the project.

HSPLs are needed to "unlock" the bootloader of certain smartphones in order to get custom ROMs to load onto them (think of it as a layer of security). Without this tool-set, modified OS's for those devices simply have nowhere to go. Now that these tools are available comes the second step: the creation of custom ROMs which will require some "chefs" to cook them up,

Second generation HTC devices have been notoriously difficult to crack for DFT so this is a fairly big win for the homebrew community. Unfortunately, devices like the Titan II still won't work with this tool so it's best to still wait for DFT to get that going.

In a well planned release, there are at least two custom ROMs now available too:

  1. HTC Titan by mwang - Tango OS (8773), Replace HTC Apps software,add Registry editor,file explorers ...etc; Few tweaks ,DFT FullUnlock support XAP IE download and install,full play XBL games; ISharing,Static MAC Address
  2. HTC Radar by mwang - Tango OS (8773), Replace HTC Apps software,add Registry editor,file explorers ...etc; Few tweaks ,DFT FullUnlock support XAP IE download and install,full play XBL games; ISharing,Static MAC Address

Once again we need to stress to proceed with caution when attempting these modifications as this can "brick" your phone if you don't follow the directions carefully.  Regardless, it's exciting to finally see some movement on these two fantastic Windows Phones. We're sure the community will be releasing some fantastic creations over the next few months.

Source: XDA Forums; via: WP7.com.pl; Thanks, Tony and dragonide, for the tips

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3 years ago

Best Independent Games for your Windows Phones

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Windows Phone Central's round-up of the best independent games

Well.... we've taken a look at the best camera apps, best must have games, best must have apps, best free games and best weather apps for your Windows Phones. Now we turn our sights the independent game developer for the Windows Phone platform.

They make code from their basement office or from a start-up company but some of these games can give the larger software companies (EA, Microsoft, etc.) a run for their money. We've rounded up a handful of games from the Marketplace's independent developers that we have found to be entertaining, fun, well presented and a worthy addition to anyone's Windows Phone gaming library.

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3 years ago

Lumia 710 available at Carphone Warehouse for just £99.99

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The Carphone Warehouse has the Lumia 710 at an attractive price of just £99.99 (excluding required £10 top-up), which widens the gap between itself and the supposedly "dirt cheap" Lumia 610 priced at £180 with Clove UK. The Windows Phone is the first Nokia smartphone to be priced below £100 since the partnership began with Microsoft. 

The Lumia 710 will remain priced at £100 with Carphone Warehouse until June 7th, so be sure to get in quickly should you be looking to pick one up. The Windows Phone is perfect for those who don't require a device like the Lumia 800, Samsung Omnia, or HTC TITAN, and sports a 1.4GHz processor, 512MB RAM, and 8GB storage.

Source: Carphone Warehouse, via: AllAboutWindowsPhone; thanks everyone for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 shows up on Fox's "Touch", sports AirGraffiti app

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Well, if there's one thing we learned tonight it's that a lot of you watch Kiefer Sutherland's "Touch" series on Fox, at least judging by the amount of tips we received. Evidently tonight was the two-part season finale (yes, the show was renewed) and the main child prodigy gets his hand on a cyan Lumia 900. What's more, the scene is fairly long by product-placement standards, resulting in some nice screen time for the hit device on AT&T.

Also note the appearance of the AT&T AirGraffiti app for Windows Phone. For those of you who don't know, AirGraffiti was a concept app from AT&T that allows users to "...leave videos, photos and songs “in the air” at physical addresses for friends or others to retrieve when they visit that location". It's a very cool concept that uses the phone's media resources, social networking and Location Based Services (LBS).

AirGraffiti on Windows Phone?

No word though is that app is actually coming to Windows Phone or AT&T and Nokia are just teasing the hell out of us. Let's hope it's the former as that'd be a very cool win.

Anyway we managed to get a video clip of the appearance on the show--there were two scenes--and we mixed 'em and posted 'em for you to peep. The video is on SkyDrive and if you're wondering why it's not on YouTube, you can blame their Draconian copyright enforcement.

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3 years ago

Deal Alert: Dragon's Blade goes on sale, now $.99

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The popular Windows Phone RPG game Dragon's Blade has seen it's price slashed from $6.99 to $.99. We aren't sure how long this sale will last but it's not a bad deal on a decent little RPG game.

You create a party from seven classes that includes warriors, templars, thieves, juggernauts, archers, sorcerers and clerics. Once you have your team assembled you explore the lands to discover treasure, explore dungeons and battle monsters.

There is also an online mode where you can chat with others in your area, backup your gaming progress online, and play mini-games within the game such as blackjack.

Graphics and animations are nice and if you've been on the fence about buying the full version of Dragon's Blade now may be the time to act. You can find an ad supported, free version of Dragon's Blade here and the ad-free version of Dragon's Blade DX (currently $.99) can be snatched up here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, Jonas, for the tip!

                    

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3 years ago

Windows 8 Release Preview now available to download

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Microsoft has made the anticipated Windows 8 Release Preview available to download in 14 supported languages. This version is the final release before the next major operating system hits gold, and includes a number of improvements made by Microsoft using feedback received from the community in past releases.

Should you be familiar with Windows 8, and have installed the Consumer Preview, you should look forward to more features and apps, including news, travel and sport. If you've not picked up a copy yet, you might want to do so to see how Microsoft is changing things on the desktop / tablet to match Windows Phone.

You can download the Windows 8 Release Preview from Microsoft.

via: MSDN

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3 years ago

Official WorldMate app for Windows Phone to be available next week

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WorldMate (website) is a popular mobile travel organiser, which has witnessed success on the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia (S60) and Windows Mobile. The Windows Phone app will feature an itinerary organiser that will enable users to share WorldMate content with the community.

WorldMate for Windows Phone will also be able to connect to Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for convenient sharing, as well as the ability to check out who's nearby to trip destinations. It's a must-have calendar for any soul who travels often. We last covered the app when it was named runner-up at the Microsoft Acceleration Week.

WorldMate is set to be available next week. We'll be sure to alert you when it's live and have a quick video walkthrough published. 

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3 years ago

Recap of last night's Windows Phone UK celebration

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The Windows Phone UK team held an exciting event in Camden last night. The Into Live Event saw live performances from local bands, and even the popular Noisettes. As well as the music, a steady flow of food and alcohol were on the table with each attendee receiving two free drink tokens (much like the HTC launch event for the TITAN and Radar). I went along with Robert Brand from Glance and Go Radio and also managed to meet up with Tom Warren from The Verge. So what was down at Proud Camden?

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3 years ago

Statistics of the Windows Phone Dare to Live UK tour thus far

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The Windows Phone UK team has been busy taking the Dare to Live challenge on tour throughout the UK. They first began the challenge marathon at Westfield in London and has since arrived in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle and Sheffield, challenging the public to see if their smartphone can beat a Windows Phone at common tasks. From uploading a photo to Facebook to publishing a status update to social networks.

The team were also present at the Into live music event, which took place at Proud Camden last night in London. So, how about some statistics? According to the team, they've enjoyed a 98% win rate with 22,782 wins under the belt, accompanied by 568 losses (similar to the Smoked By Windows Phone competition's). A week breakdown is also available under the graph.

Not too shabby, eh? Check out the calendar for details as to where the team will be next, we'll revisit the Dare to Live campaign once it's finished in July.

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3 years ago

Amazon Mobile app for Windows Phone gets UK and Germany support in latest update

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We do love our Amazon Mobile app for Windows Phone--beautiful, useful and well designed the app is one of our must-haves (especially since we have Prime). However, we do get a lot of complaints about it, specifically its lack of support for the UK market (and others).

Version 1.8 just went live in the Marketplace today and support for the UK and Germany is now included (in addition to un-named bug fixes). Our own Rich Edmonds verified that the app is working there which should make many of you finally pleased. This update follows a previous one just weeks ago which added social features to the popular app.

Amazon Mobile gives you access to Amazon.com's vast array of goods from their location as well as 3rd party retailers. Allowing 1-click purchasing and a nice bar-code scanner, the app allows you to comparison shop when you're out in a brick-and-mortar store. In addition, you can access your account and track your orders.

Since the app is "new" to the recently added Marketplaces you can't search for it just yet. No worries as you can just use our download link to get it now. Thanks, Ben D., for the tip

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3 years ago

New Windows Phone 8 OS builds & WXGA display resolution spotted in the wild

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Windows Phone 8 concept

In mid June, Microsoft is expected to start revealing info on the much anticipated Windows Phone 8 OS (aka Apollo) but until that day, we have just crumbs of data to work with. One of those sources comes from peeping OS builds that various developers "see" when looking at their app data usage.

Such an example is illustrated by Marios Karagiannis (aka Karios) developer of the popular (and Windows Phone Central favorite) MonsterUp. In a recent blog post on his site, the developer listed some new OS builds that apparently come from Windows Phone 8 devices:

  • 8.0.9698.0 69
  • 8.0.9697.0 35
  • 8.0.9696.0 4
  • 8.0.10101.0 4
  • 8.0.9691.0 4
  • 8.0.9695.0 2
  • 8.0.9699.0 1

Likewise, our own Rogue Code, who makes Ffffound as well as Pocket Meme, has also seen similar numbers in his apps including 8.0.9673, 8.0.9644, 8.0.9627 and 8.0.9699.

We assume by this point that Microsoft has to be testing Windows Phone 8 and seeing OS builds floating around probably should not be too surprising. Unfortunately, more info cannot be gleaned from such build numbers making this observation more entertaining than revealing.

Turning to our own Google Analytics for this site, we can discern some interesting tidbits as well. Specifically under our "mobile visits" we now have 768x1280 resolution devices running Internet Explorer 10 making rare but occasional stops to our site. Display colors were set at 24-bit (a bump from 16-bit that we usually see) and many pings originate from Redmond, WA.

Google Analytic data from WPCentral.com showing supposed WP8 devices (click to enlarge)

Furthermore, we can officially confirm with other independent sources that 768x1280 will be a supported resolution in Windows Phone 8 in addition to three others including 480x640, 480x800 (current WP7 resolution) and 720x1280.

While a WXGA resolution may seem a bit odd, in Jul 2011 Samsung were reportedly working on a mobile phone running that exact screen resolution, albeit sporting Android. To put such a resolution in perspective, as Phone Arena notes "...on a 4.5 inch screen, the pixels per inch would come in at 332, topping the 326ppi reading of the Retina Display on the Apple iPhone 4". No doubt an impressive statistic. 

Of course we'll just have to wait and see what Microsoft officially tells us in the coming months. Until then, the above info should be treated as rumor/speculation as things like emulators (versus actual hardware) may be playing a role.

Still, we think the info presented above is accurate and will be the path for Windows Phone 8.

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3 years ago

Purchase UK train tickets with RedSpottedHanky and thetrainline.com apps

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RedSpottedHanky and thetrainline.com are both websites that allow UK residents to purchase train tickets for travel on the public network. Both services are now available on Windows Phone with two official apps being released this month. So how can both apps help you get the best deals for your travel?

Using either RedSpottedHanky or thetrainline provides Windows Phone owners, who reside in the UK, the tools to effectively use the rail network. From ordering train tickets to checking the latest departure times, the combination of functionality will ensure that journeys are less stressful and more reliable. Windows Phone Central takes a quick look at both apps available on the platform.

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