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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: April 30 - May 6 2012

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It's time for our weekly Windows Phone news summary, where we round-up all the stories that are worth reading should you be in a position of missing some headlines on the site. Before we kick off with the summary itself, we've had some insightful gaming discussion on our Windows Phone forum covering titles that have been published into our spotlight.

With all the issues surrounding the Lumia 900 since launch, we've asked the community what problems have been experienced through usage. To close off the WPCentral introduction, we've also announced the winners of our Lumia 900 Dicota Hard Shell Case competition. Head on past the break for the full run through of this week's Windows Phone news.

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3 years ago

Nokia reportedly has identified the purple-hue screen issue for Lumia 900, will fix with future update

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Nokia: "We have identified the issue and will be addressed through a future SW update."

While we haven't heard any official details, Nokia support via Twitter is reporting that they have identified the purple-hue problem that is occurring on some Lumia 900s. The screen irregularity is very obvious and easy to induce: simply disable automatic brightness and turn the screen down to "low" in Settings. Doing so on some devices will cause the grays to look purple throughout the OS.

We reported on this and other minor issues for the Lumia 900 a few days ago and even polled to see what percentage of you are affected. The information and poll were passed onto Nokia engineers along with our defective glossy-white Lumia 900 (we received a perfect replacement in return). Curiously, only about 10% are having the problem which is still quite high but we actually expected the number to be higher.

Anecdotal evidence suggests than many have this problem but are unaware. For instance, reader Jordan M. had a friend try to find a Lumia 900 without the purple hue. In three corporate AT&T stores in Wisconsin, twelve out of twelves phone had the problem though no AT&T reps were aware of the defect. That could mean either the problem is more widespread or this issue is the result of some bad batches of phones during production.

Though we still don't know the exact cause, the problem can evidently be fixed through a software patch according to Nokia, which sounds reasonable. After all, the screens can do grays accurately, just not on low-brightness. That tells us it is probably due to a calibration issue with the AMOLED display or something similar.

No word on an ETA for the patch but since it's not a dire issue like the data-connection bug, we imagine Nokia will want to roll it up into a comprehensive update that also fixes other things like the non-functioning camera button when the screen is off, unresponsive capacitive keys, volume issues, etc.

We'll keep you posted.

Source: @NokiaCareUS; Thanks, Alex, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 610 now for sale in Malaysia for RM699

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The Nokia Lumia 610 has hit the shelves in Malaysia at Nokia stores and other retailers. The 610 comes in four different colors and is averaging RM699 ($229).  The budget-friendly handset sports Windows Phone 7.5 Tango (build 8773), which is designed to run on devices with less RAM.

Inside you will find:

  • 3.7" screen
  • 800MHz CPU
  • 256MB of RAM
  • 8GB internal storage
  • 5-megapixel rear camera

Don't be fooled by the hardware.  The Lumia 610 is an impressive phone that offers the same style and quality of it's higher-end siblings. The Lumia 710 and 800 went on sale in the region back in February and the 610 looks to ride upon that success.

Source: Soyacincau; Thanks for the tip, Anil!

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3 years ago

Duplicate version of Guitar Hero Mobile appears on the Marketplace

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Guitar Hero Mobile ($6.99), an Xbox Live title, was released over on the Windows Phone Marketplace back in October 2010. Guitar Hero Mobile ($2.99), a non-Xbox Live title, hit the Marketplace a few days ago.

Microsoft recently announced an increased effort to maintain Marketplace quality which included looking closer at copyrighted material. Is this a discounted version of Guitar Hero Mobile or a pirated copy that slipped in under the Marketplace radar? 

Our first impression is that the $2.99 is a pirated copy. First, the Marketplace description for the non-Xbox Live version comes up in Chinese where the Xbox Live version is not. Then you have the developer listed as Glu Games Inc. and it is the only title under Glu Games Inc.

Glu is the developer of the Xbox Live version but is listed as Glu. Glu also has other titles on the Marketplace listed in similar fashion.

Lastly, the Xbox Live version has a trial version, the non-Xbox Live version does not. It doesn't make sense for one to have a trial and the other not to if they were coming from the same source.

We've reached out to both Microsoft and Glu to see if we can get more information on things. We'll update the post should we hear anything different but for now, we'll call this one a risky investment of $2.99.  We recommend you stick with the original Xbox Live version of Guitar Hero Mobile that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, everyone, for tipping us on this!

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3 years ago

GolfScope augmented-reality demonstration exclusively for Nokia Windows Phones

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A few weeks ago we broke the news that Executive Caddie, the premier and highly rated golfing assistance app for Windows Phone, was getting a makeover and an upgrade for the Nokia Collection. That means that if you own a Lumia 610, 700, 800 or the big 900 you're entitled to a custom version of the app made for your phone for free.

At the time we reported on those "exclusive" features for Executive Caddie +:

  • Tournament scoring
  • Real-time leaderboards
  • Group heckling with toast notifications
  • Additional social features
  • Themes to match the Lumias, including Cyan, Magenta, White and Nokia Blue

But the biggy was an augmented reality tool called Golfscope described as

"...an augmented reality view of players on the golf course with live player and scorecard information. Basically, a player can point his phone at any other player on the course and the player’s avatar and round summary will appear in the overlay. The overlay can be tapped to see the other player’s scores, stats, and other round information in real-time. GolfScope is a patent pending technology."

We promised we'd show you what that actually looks like and as you can see in the video above, GolfScope is ready to go. We should note that what you see in that video is not a simulation, that's an actual live demonstration of GolfScope from a Nokia Lumia 900 that has vide-out capabilities (yeah, devs get some great tools).

We're expecting the exclusive Nokia version of Executive Caddie + to land in the Nokia Collection in a few weeks. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you golf and don't have a Lumia you can still get the regular Executive Caddie for free in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Snotify brings alerts scheduler to Windows Phone but only interop-unlocked devices [Homebrew]

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It's been awhile since we've seen some solid homebrew pop out from developers so it's with great interest for us to find Snotify version 1.0 floating around.

Billed as an "application that silences notification sounds based on a schedule" the concept should be very familiar to anyone who used the fabulous Windows Mobile app PhoneAlarm or PhoneWeaver. Anyone else just have a technology flashback?

In short, the app allows you to schedule your email and test/IM notification sounds so they won't disturb you in the middle of the night. For instance, you could have email on "silent" from 10pm to 6am or have SMS only with sound--your choice.

The free tool made by JMD Software needs to be "sideloaded" on to a fully interop unlocked phone meaning a lot of folks including developers won't be able to use it. That's a bummer but it's still a fascinating contribution to the homebrew scene.

Of course we know what many of you are thinking and even more of you will comment on -- why didn't Microsoft just include this in the OS? It's a good question as we'd kill to have this built into our Lumia 900 or Titan II, but alas even we have to sit this one out as our phones aren't capable of being fully unlocked just yet.

Source: JMD Software

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Tango update being pushed out for HTC Mozart? [Updated]

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We just got a report in that the venerable (and underrated) HTC Mozart is receiving a Windows Phone "Tango" update. The news comes form the personal blog of Aviraj Ajgekar, who is a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft Corporation.

That puts him pretty high up there as far as credibility. What's more, he documented the whole experience noting that his Mozart (we assume un-branded) received no less than three updates, going from OS build 8112.7 to 8773.98 to 8779.8, putting it just slightly ahead of what we understand to be "standard" Tango or Windows Phone Mango, Commercial Release 3 (CR3).

The whole update only took a few minutes to download mostly due to the fact that "Tango" only offers a few fixes and updates to the OS (mostly around enhancing MMS).

No word if HTC is pushing this out for their other devices but we have a feeling we'll be reporting on this a lot more for HTC phones very soon.

Carriers are reportedly going to push out Tango in June while unbranded devices presumably will get it earlier. Nokia already has the Lumia 710 Tango ROM completed with internet sharing on board and we expect the Lumia 800 and 900 to get it as well.

Update: Aviraj has deleted the post from his blog and no one else is reportedly getting this update. Is yet another Microsoft employee being misinformed or was this an internal update for testing?

Source: Aviraj Ajgekar's Blog; Thanks, Joe (@astroXP), for the tip!

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3 years ago

Nokia Drive 3.0 and Nokia Transport 2.0 for Windows Phone detailed

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A Russian Windows Phone community has published some details regarding upcoming updates for both Nokia Drive and Transport. The manufacturer has been praised by Lumia smartphone owners for the inventory of apps available in the Nokia Collection. So what's new in version 3 of Nokia Drive?

  • The application "learns" based on the style of driving by
  • Time travel and the density of traffic movements are tracked in real time, displaying information on the "live" tile
  • Automatic determination of time of day, with the change of color scheme cards
  • Manual adjustment of routes
  • Off-line favourite lists with the possibility of fixing tiles on the desktop.

As for version 2 of Nokia Transport, which is dedicated to public transportation (including bus and train schedules for more than 500 cities):

  • Search for public transport user's location with respect to
  • Displaying a nearby transportation: buses, trains, trams, subways, taxis, marked stops
  • Show the route with transfers
  • Support Schedule in 87 countries around the world
  • Support for fast access to Favourites
  • Advanced Search
  • Saving query history
  • Change the query without a new route
  • Faster search and installation of the route
  • Optimised application performance

Unfortunately no dates have been revealed as to when the updates will be released.

Source: WP7Forum.ru; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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3 years ago

glƏƏk! for Windows Phone updated to version 1.5

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The popular (and rather unique) Twitter client for Windows Phone glƏƏk! (see our review) has been recently updated to version 1.5, which introduces a number of new features. The functionality that's included in this update includes user colour coding, which will please those who are arriving from other platforms and are heavy Twitter users. When browsing through tweets, users can now add colours to specific accounts they're following.  

That's not all as the developer has bundled a number of extras into the app, including custom ringtones. Ringtones for Carbon, glƏƏk!, Meadow and Rowi can be found in the extras section. Adjusting the font size is now available, and finally a number of performance improvements have been applied. Not a bad update, right?

As well as the above features, there is a public service announcement the developer asked us to publish. An issue has been located and subsequently fixed, but the update containing this solution is not going to be live for another handful of days. Should you encounter this issue, we ask that you simply ignore it for now until the patch is rolled out. The problem is when users attempt to save their accounts / settings while their Windows Phone is configured for a region that uses commas (",") for numerical separation / decimal marks.

Should you be using commas, instead of periods (".") in your region, you may wish to hold off on updating to version 1.5 until the patch is available. If you've already updated then it's only a number of days before the fix will be heading for your Windows Phone - as a temporary fix, you can change your regional settings to work around the issue (though we've not encountered the problem ourselves).

You can download glƏƏk! from the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Microsoft set to close down the Bing 411 service on June 1st

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Microsoft is set to close down the Bing 411 service on June 1st, 2012. Bing 411 is a toll-free number for American residents that enables callers to search using voice and Tellme technologies. The free service provides users with local business search, weather and traffic reports, driving directions, sports scores, and stock quotes to name but a few.

Should you attempt to use Bing 411 (1-800-246-4411) you'll be greeted by a message stating the service will cease operations on the provided date. This follows the closure of Google's GOOG-411 back in October, 2010. With Bing services integrating into Windows Phone, will we miss the Bing 411 service? 

Source: LiveSide

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 Case Review: Rugged QX Horizontal Case

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Rugged might be an understatement for the Rugged QX Horizontal Case. The case comes across more as an industrial case than an everyday case. A case that would feel more at home on a construction site than at the office.  The Rugged QX is well built, offers a decent amount of protection for your Nokia Lumia 900 but feels a little bulky when compared to other horizontal cases.

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3 years ago

From the Forums: Games Spotlight for May 5th

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It’s time to talk games and our Games Spotlight Forum has them. We all want quality games for our devices and our developers are hard at work getting them ready for us. We are going to take a look at a few that are available in our Spotlight area this week as our developers need your helpful comments to make their games the best around.

Paint Stuff: WP7 Pictionary  - Available in the Marketplace for $1.99 with a trial version this is a nice turn based game where you are given a word to draw (sound familiar?). Then your opponent has to guess what you have drawn. There are quite a lot of drawing options including colors, line thickness and even offers screen capture. These and other advanced options are only available in the paid version which also removes the advertisements. This is how baflink describes his game:

“I have tried a few of the pictionary games and they are pretty buggy to say the least. My girlfriend was getting flustered with playing with me because of the bugs. She wanted a simple pictionary game that didn't make random lines in your drawing, that was fast, had colors, took screenshots, could undo/redo and didn't have a time limit. So I sought out to make such a game.”

Rocket Raid (Free) - If you have ever played Defender you will like this arcade style game. You choose how the world will be made then fly your ship trying to drop bombs and shoot rockets to destroy the targets. For a free game, this could be a fun way to burn some time. From the developer dominiauk:

“It's an arcade game where you fly over planets destroying their defenses. Like "Scramble" the arcade game. It has over 20 campaign missions along with an arcade mode. Anyway it's getting good ratings (which I'm glad of!) so please give it a go.”

Number Factory - This game reminds us of Tetris but with a twist: you are given a number and you have to pick the blocks that add up to that number as number blocks fall from above. You choose how to add the blocks and how many blocks you will use. It's a fun, fast paced, and challenging game as the developer spdr870 explains:

“Number Factory is a very addictive game. The goal of is simple: combine numbers to equal the number in the left bottom corner. Clear the playing field before the numbers reach the top of the factory.”

We have these and hundreds more games available for your review in the Games Spotlight forum.  What better way to contribute to the Windows Phone community than to play games and help developers at the same time?

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3 years ago

Pac-Man Kart Rally now costs two dollars less all of a sudden

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Prior to its release, I was enthusiastic about Pac-Man Kart Rally for a number of reasons: it’s a kart racer (fun genre), it features Pac-Man and other Namco characters, and it’s the first mobile Xbox Live game with wireless multiplayer (local Wi-Fi only). Then it launched to mixed reactions – the poor frame rate and repetitive music seem to be major turn offs for many gamers.

Frankly I find the negative reactions largely hyperbolic, as it’s still a competent and accessible racing game, light years ahead of the only other Xbox Live kart racer, Cro Mag Rally in quality. In any case, it seens someone at Microsoft may have noticed the tepid Marketplace ratings and reacted quickly. For whatever reason, Pac-Man Kart Rally has dropped from $4.99 to $2.99 just two or three days after its release.

Is this a price drop, random sale, or simply a marketplace glitch? We won’t know for sure until next week, when Microsoft will hopefully respond to our queries. It’s mostly good news, as gamers who were turned off at the relatively high five dollar price point now have more incentive to snap the game up right away. It’s probably wisest not to price a game with so many rough edges above three dollars, regardless of brand recognition or a novel multiplayer feature.

On the other hand, many gamers like me bought Pac-Man Kart Rally at the original price only to see it costing less a few days later. We’re rather unlikely to receive refunds – heck, I never managed to get refunds for all the delisted games I’ve bought, a far worse situation (and I did try!). The lightning fast price drop, sale, or whatever will surely leave a bad taste in the mouths of early adopters.

In the long run, the increased sales from a more reasonable price point will probably outweigh a bit of temporary negativity. WPCentral has contacted Microsoft for comment on the price change and will update should we receive clarification.

Get Pac-Man Kart Rally here on the Marketplace.

Update: Microsoft has confirmed this is a permanent price drop.

Thanks to Nima Heravi for the tip!

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3 years ago

Unofficial list of new Microsoft Store openings

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With the announcement of a new Microsoft Store being built for Boston, lots of our readers anxiously await to see if Redmond will be coming to their areas soon. While Microsoft does not pre-announce these stores too far in advance, one way you can easily figure out is by simply looking up where they are hiring.

Yup, on the Microsoft Store Careers site they have many positions open and looking to be filled. What's more, these jobs are in cities not yet announced (but you can bet they will be soon). So, are you lucky?

We are. A store is opening in Huntington Station, NY, most likely at the Walt Whitman Mall. What else is at that shopping center? Why one the busiest Apple stores in New York (besides the Manhattan store). It certainly appears that Microsoft is gunning for Cupertino on their own turf and we'll be there to cover it.

Without further ado, the unofficial Microsoft Store list as compiled by reader Travis:

  • White Plains, NY
  • Huntington Station, NY
  • Newark, DE
  • Overland Park, KS
  • Salem, NH
  • Orlando, FL
  • Arlington, VA
  • Bridgewater, NJ (Bridgewater Commons)
  • Freehold, NJ (Raceway Mall)
  • Danbury, CT (Danbury Fair Mall)

Great to see the East coast finally getting some stores. Celebrate in comments. Thanks, Travis B., for the list; Image via the Denver Post

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3 years ago

Microsoft Store headed to Boston with the Lumia being featured in artwork

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Microsoft is slowly expanding their branded "Microsoft Stores" and Boston, MA is the latest city to finally get one (hooray for the East coast!). Currently being built at the Shops at Prudential Center in Copley Square, the store should be ready sometime this summer though no specific dates were given.

Reader erzhik was kind enough to send us some photos of the "box" that surrounds the work space at Copley (Fun fact: I used to do film projection there). It should be of no surprise that the Lumia 900 is featured on the outside artwork along with some Windows PCs.

We've also heard that an Apple Store is right across the street which seems to us like some nice strategic planning. You can read more on the announcement at the Boston Herald. Thanks, erzhik, for the pics (click to enlarge)

  

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