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3 years ago

Win a Nokia Lumia 800 with "into" by Windows Phone

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Windows Phone UK has started up a social rewards program, titled "into by Windows Phone" that provides followers with intriguing prizes should they accumulate enough points. It's a great way to get Windows Phone owners advertising and promoting the platform to friends and family to win the rewards.

Offers are handpicked, as well as unique events and experiences (such as an Arctic Cold Adventure). The video located after the break explains the program best.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Better Movie Manager

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Looking for an easy way to manage your movie collection? Want to manage your collection from your Windows Phone? Take a look at the Windows Phone app Better Movie Manager.

Better Movie Manager taps into TMDb movie database (not endorsed by TMDb) to pull movie details and cast/crew information on movies in your existing collection or movies you hope to buy or see in the future. Better Movie Manager is a nicely laid out application to manage your DVD or Blue Ray titles.

Read more after the break.

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 800 feedback from carrier and retailer sales staff

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While the HTC Titan and Samsung Focus S are both proving to be fairly popular in the U.S., we've heard analysts down Nokia for Lumia 800 sales and the manufacturer bouncing back with positive statements. MyNokiaBlog have compiled some feedback (published at Nokia Connections) from carriers and retailers in Europe, which all show positive signs on how well the Lumia 800 is selling. Nokia (and Microsoft) have the daunting task to help train sales staff in stores to push out Windows Phone handsets and is needed after reports we've received from those who reside in the U.S., Europe and (more recently) Australia. We're going to leave this to the employees at UK carriers and retailers to explain how things are going.

Joe Moody, Orange:

"This phone is the best phone out there by far. I have managed to switch 15 customers within a week to pre order the Lumia, I love the device so much I can’t wait to get one when I’m due a new phone, the customers that are interested in apple iPhones or galaxy s 2 I manage to persuade some to go for a Lumia."

Ian McLaren, Carphone Warehouse:

"The Lumia is flying off the shelves, especially from one who has really taken the training on board and pitching them to everyone. The main things that are selling the phone are the design, superb screen and the way the social networks are integrated into the phone OS so don’t need to keep switching apps and all the messages are compiled into one thread.

From a standing start, Nokia have really grabbed people’s attention with the Lumia and the advertising is starting to pay off as people are coming in and asking about the handset, and asking to upgrade to it."

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3 years ago

Monday Brief: December 5, 2011

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Monday Brief: December 5, 2011

3 years ago

Pictures Lab updated to version 4.0 bringing festive effects and more language support

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Pictures Lab has been updated to version 4.0, two months after hitting 3.0 with the Mango refresh. Much like Thumba Photo Editor, Pictures Lab is a must have for those who wish to edit photos on-the-fly. Features including Pictures Hub integration and direct camera access make the app extremely useful with the introduction of more APIs in Windows Phone 7.5. Now, in 4.0 we have two new festive effects that can be applied to photos and a handful of translations for foreign markets. A full run through:

  • Added the "add another effect" functionality which allows to stack effects and borders on top of each other and therefore combine multiple effects.
  • Added two Christmas borders and one for New Year
  • Added Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian translations.
  • Fixed issues with Bulge and Tilt Shift effect.
  • Other minor bug fixes and many little tweaks.

You can download Pictures Lab from the Marketplace for $0.99 (£0.79).

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3 years ago

AT&T has no plans to add Internet Sharing to original Samsung Focus?

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For those hoping that AT&T may deliver that firmware update to the original Samsung Focus to enable WiFi tethering/mobile hotspot, you may want to temper your enthusiasm just a tad. Over at Windows Phone Down Under, our friend Sheeds has been going back and forth with AT&T over their plans for the Focus in this regard and the results are not positive. At least according to one AT&T PR rep:

"What I was able to secure:  at this time, AT&T has no additional upgrade plans for the first generation Focus.

Know that response doesn’t address your specific desire to know if/when those plans might change or touch on plans for subsequent generations, but I’ve also reached what I think is the limit on what I’m going to be able to secure as responses on this issue."

This was after numerous back and forth with other AT&T folks, all of them signaling that no update was coming for the Focus because it was not part of the final Mango build that AT&T received for testing back in late summer.

Of course, we all know that the Focus can run Internet Sharing just fine, it even performs darn well. In fact, many of us have "hacked" our trusty Focus to do just that (just be careful not to get snagged by big blue). However, it looks like AT&T is putting the Focus behind it (except when they need a stand in for the Focus S) and are solely concentrating on so-called Gen 2 phones.This seems like quite a weak excuse on their part as other Gen 1 phones have received the Internet Sharing update--heck, just about all HTC devices have it on board now. But nothing is written in stone and perhaps AT&T will come around at some point--after all, the original Focus was one of the top selling Windows Phones here in the States, it deserves some respect, eh?

Read the whole saga at Windows Phone Down Under.

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3 years ago

NextGen+ custom ROM for HD7 brings performance and new features

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For all of those with HTC HD7's, even if it is just laying around having been supplanted by the TITAN, you may want to take a look at this. Zloy Pryanik at XDA has bumped his NextGen+ custom ROM to v1.8 and we have to admit, this is starting to get real nice looking. The latest version brings the 7740 OS update as well as the latest drivers and radio software to the venerable Windows Phone. On top of that, there are quite a few interesting and unique enhancement to the ROM that has piqued our interest:

  • Light ROM (~260 mb *.nbh include radio)
  • Full-Unlocked (full support registry edit / ie install .xap ... etc) Mega Thanks DFT Team
  • Firmware reduced by 31MB , registry - 500kb
  • Update OEM software , add Touchexplorer, registry editor
  • Deleted Device Feedback
  • New sound camera shot
  • New Wallpapers, pictures
  • Ringtones and Sounds from Apple iPhone
  • Facebook-blue accent color
  • Custom system graphics
  • Watch videos from Zune in Bluetooth Headphones
  • Enabled IPV6

How's that for a feature-set? As you can probably discern, all of that reduction in file size and stripping of things has resulted in a clean, fast ROM with some neat customizations. For instance, the text emoticons are now colored as are the icons for setting up new email accounts--subtle, but nice. Even battery life seems remarkably improved, with one user's screenshot show the battery at 90% and an estimated 1 day, 13 hours remaining--we're a bit envious! If this sounds like something you want to give a go, head to the source link below.

Source: XDA; via WP7.com.pl

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3 years ago

Creepily keep track of those you love (and who don't love you back) with PhoneStalker

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Ah, the combination of GPS technology and distrust of your loved ones. Forget making phone calls! What better way to use your smartphone than to track those around you?

Well, if you fall into the camp of wanting to use your phone, most likely illegally, to spy on those you supposedly care about, you may want to try out the combo-software suite of PhoneStalker and RealTimeSpy. Together, the two apps will reportedly allow you to record where folks are going. Granted, you have to literally give up your phone to do so by placing in the person's vehicle, but someone's gotta sacrifice, amirite? Here are the features of PhoneStalker:

  • Total Trip Measurement - The trip recording function creates a 3D breadcrumb trail of any trip the phone is taken on. The Map screen shows the phone creating the breadcrumb trail real time as the phone moves. You can save the trip on the local phone and restore it back to the Phone's map at any time. Your total distance, average speed, and time taken are recorded. You can tell the app to send you an email with your trip file included where you can then view the trip 3D on Google Earth, Bing Maps, or Google Maps on your PC or Mac.
  • Distance Measurement - The Mark and Measure functions allow you to measure straight line distances.
  • Real time GPS Stats - The GPS screen shows you real-time your speed, direction,longitude, latitude, and altitude.

So the idea is you place your phone running PhoneStalker on someone's vehicle, then launch their website from your mom's basement (watch those Cheetos, you're running low), enter in the pre-set email address and bam, instant violation of Federal law. But what if you're a busy stalker and you need to get more Cheetos? You bust out your second Windows Phone and enable RealTimeSpy. That program will allow you track the object of your desire from the comfort of your unmarked white van:

RealTimeSpy is a free* viewer for owners of either myTripTracker or PhoneStalker Windows 7 Phone apps which allow you to view trips being taken in real time by going to the DeanBlakely website.  RealTimeSpy allows you to view such trips from another Windows Phone 7. RealTimeSpy increases the usefulness of the tracking apps by allowing you to track someone while you are moving about.

Creepy and convenient! If any of this sounds remotely interesting, you can head to the Marketplace now and grab PhoneStalker here and the companion app, RealTimeSpy here. There's also myTripTracker. which is less malevolent.

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3 years ago

Xbox Companion App coming Tuesday, December 6th

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Hot on the heels of the Xbox 360 Dashboard update comes the Xbox Companion App for Windows Phone. The Companion App for Windows Phone is one of the first apps that will truly augment your Xbox 360 user experience, giving you a parallel method to effortless retrieve current information about media, in addition to selecting things to watch. From the Windows Phone Blog a few months ago:

  • "Finding Content: Just like on your Xbox, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. I used it to search “Featured Content” and pulled up the X-Men: First Class.
  • Learn more about what you’re watching, listening to, or playing: Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about. And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the “cast” page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content.
  • Control & Play: Once I selected the content and hit play, the Xbox Companion flips into “controller mode” in which I could navigate my Xbox, or control video playback of your video. The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote."

We got to personally play with the app back in October at Nokia World and we were quite impressed with it. The main reason? It didn't feel gimmicky or something "cool but we'd never use" (like our front-facing camera on our phone), but instead it felt like an app that we would use a lot and for legitimate reasons. Combined with that Xbox 360 Dashboard update, which we've been rocking for a few weeks now, this mini-overhaul to the Xbox should be pretty killer for an already great system.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for it on Tuesday and in the meantime, you can check out our video hands on after the break.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: November 28 - December 4, 2011

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Phew, what a week! Before we get into your Windows Phone weekly summary, the WPCentral app has been updated to 1.8, which includes a number of bug fixes that appeared during website development. We've also been joined by Gergely Orosz for this week's developer interview who's the brains behind AppFlow, Cocktail Flow, and Flashlight 7. For the full summary, head on past the break. 

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3 years ago

Four big name apps for Windows Phone present at Microsoft Acceleration Week

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Last week was Microsoft Mobile Acceleration Week 2011 in Israel, where inneractive, an app monetization exchange, helped judge an app development contest for the week. This contest saw not only indie developers creating apps in the tight time frame, but big names were present also. Three winners, who also have apps on other platforms, included Doat, Touch Apps, and Babylon. All three received the Nokia Lumia 800 as prizes. Runner up was WorldMate, a well known cross-platform travel app.

From the app descriptions written by inneractive, who reported on the event:

Doat - "A mobile app that will change the experience of searching on your phone. Instead of presenting non-optimized links as search results, Doat offers your HTML5 apps based on your search query. The UI of the Windows Phone app is beautiful and actually very different than the same app on other competing platforms."

Touch Apps - "A less well known developer, Touchapps has seven apps all together on various platforms and spent the week developing one of their top apps called Makeup Girls. Yes, I know how it sounds, but it is actually kind of brilliant. Maybe me or you are not the target audience, but the ability to choose a picture and apply makeup as you see fit appeals to millions of girls across the world, as the app’s download numbers have shown. Well, now Makeup Girls, following in the footsteps of iOS will be available to Windows Phone users."

Babylon - "As the leading name in text translation, it was only natural that Babylon would transition over to mobile devices. And so they did. Already available on iOS and Android, Babylon for Windows Phone allows you to translate any word, in any language, to the language of your choice, in real time. Of course, there is a lot more to the app including a currency converter, since presumably you will be using the app when traveling. The UI is super simplistic and hence very intuitive and does exactly what it is meant to do, how it is meant to do it."

This follows the four major apps unveiled at Microsoft Mobile Acceleration event in New York. Sure, while these apps aren't unique to the platform or a major game changer, it's good to see quality choice coming to Windows Phone, which will slowly dissolve the problem potential buyers have with Microsoft's OS - the lack of big name apps.

Source: inneractive; Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Sloppy AT&T store uses original Focus for Focus S display

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We're pretty sure if you took a tour of the thousands of AT&T stores across the country, you will find tons of sloppy displays, errors, etc. Anyone who has ever managed retail knows the difficulty in trying to control appearance, which is why chains employ internal checks, secret-shoppers, etc.

In that case, perhaps this AT&T store in Florida is not that different and we're just picking on a single case. But using the original Samsung Focus as the display phone for the brand new, much praised Focus S is a bit much (we're forgetting for a second the lack of display card too). And while mistakes and sloppiness like this are sure to happen on occasion, Windows Phone simply cannot afford to have instances like this occurring.

Update: Reader Justin A. sent us this photo from another AT&T store. Here they are mixing up the Focus S for the Flash. Sigh.

Big thanks to Jack F. for the photo!

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia ad shows up on Xbox 360 Dashboard

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In what seems like an obvious venue for pushing one of your flagship partner's phones, Microsoft and Nokia have evidently begun displaying Lumia ads on the Xbox 360's Dashboard.

The adverts appear to be localized, meaning if you're in the States you'll be hard pressed to find them. But at least in Europe and perhaps elsewhere, there's a good chance you could catch it.

Advertising Windows Phone on Xbox 360 has always seems like the most logical way to ramp up sales of the slow, but growing mobile OS. The Xbox is one of the top selling consumer devices (with the Kinect holding a world record), so riding on its coattails just comes across as the best choice. And while we think this is a right step, it is really just the beginning of what we think Microsoft should do with Xbox and Windows Phone.

Our advice? In every promo image or advert you have, place a Windows Phone next to it.

Source: @alextaylornet; via TheNokiaBlog; Thanks, @XB_Mod, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Bank of America app updated. No new features but it works again!

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The Bank of America app received a minor update yesterday, but it gives one new major function: it works! Yes, for nearly the last month, you've been rightly complaining that the BoA app would error out when you tried to log into one of your accounts, making this app pretty useless (less you just need an ATM finder).

While the app didn't add anything new and is still not Mango ready (c'mon folks, it's not that hard), at least its main function has been restored. From the changelog

  • Bug fixes
  • The same special characters (such as “/”) that are allowed in Online Banking Online IDs and Passcodes are now also accepted in Mobile Banking

Pick up the new version here in the marketplace.

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3 years ago

Native-code access "on the radar" for Windows Phone developers

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We have what looks like great news for current and potential Windows Phone developers. Now that Microsoft has made great strides with Windows Phone 7.5, they appear to be turning their attention to native access for developers, at least in some form. Up till now, developers have had no access to certain aspects of the OS, including telephony, codecs, graphic engines or deeper file access. Reasons for such restrictions were thought primarily to revolve around OS-stability and security. Now, Microsoft seems to be seriously considering opening up some native code to developers--either as part of a reconsideration of the policy or perhaps just being able to focus on implementation.

Stemming from a discussion on the Microsoft WPDev Feedback site, one of the most requested features is native development. In a subsection titled "How can we improve the WPDev application platform?" a suggestion of a Native SDK is sitting in the 4th spot with 1,000 votes. The thread is quite revealing as devs discuss how the current  limitations of the platform are hurting their work. One example comes from an iOS developer who states "I want to do DSP on WP7. My DSP algorithms in Tunepal (my app) take fractions of a second on IOS and Android (written in C++) and about 10 seconds to run on WP7." Likewise, others discuss the need for 3rd party gaming engines e.g. Unreal or Unity, both of which are currently not allowed in the OS.

Cliff Simpkins, Senior Product Manager for Windows Phone 7, posted a response to the native SDK request and didn't pull any punches:

"...we are interested in providing developers with more options to develop great apps for Windows Phone, and native is one item that is high on the radar."

The goal of his post, dated just three days ago, is to solicit specific feedback on what exactly developers want most e. g. C++, third-party gaming engines, etc.. As he points out, while it would be nice to give developers everything, Microsoft is on a fixed schedule needing to prioritize any such opening up of the platform. Clearly Microsoft would need time to develop the SDK, APIs and do what they do best which is make premium, easy to use developer tools. Putting that aside, it seems quite clear that Microsoft wants to open up the platform to developers, resulting in more feature-complete apps and games for consumers.

Microsoft's only hesitation at this time seems to be:  What parts do you want now and what do you want later?

Source: WPDev Feedback/User Voices; Big thanks to Amir, for the tip!

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