3 years ago
Fitness Month: runtastic for Windows Phone can help keep you in shape
It's Fitness Month here at WPCentral and Mobile Nations, as you all already know, so we thought we'd take a look at some health-related apps for your Windows Phone that can be used to keep on top of those pesky New Year resolutions you may have made for 2012. I've personally been using runtastic for Windows Phone, a fitness tracking app / service that's also available for Blackberry, iOS and Android. So, just how can this app help keep owners fit?
3 years ago
New 'Tango' low-end devices cannot run Background Tasks [Developers]
Earlier today we called attention to new changes being brought about with the release of Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1, the release supporting 'Tango' in all it's low-end/budget glory.
We also mentioned in that article that only 5% of apps wouldn't run in the new hardware configuration, which is down to the amount of memory they utilise whilst active. However looking over this msdn page we wanted to make it crystal clear to our community that in fact there is a limitation for our new friend the Lumia 610: it won't run Background Tasks.
Specifically, generic background tasks are not supported for devices with 256MB of memory. A perfect example would be the background task used to update the live tile and cache in our own app. These types of tasks are known to developers as Periodic tasks and Resource Intensive tasks (if you want to understand the difference I recommend reading this overview). The potentially good news is that some types of background task, such as the background Audio agent which is used for playing music or podcasts after the app has been de-activated, look to be supported still.
A question therefore which I put to our readers, is this the first sign of platform fragmentation? Can we still state that "you get the same great Windows Phone experience on any handset"? Or is this a reasonable omission for the sweeter price spot?
Update: A quick clarification as some of our commenters aren't too sure, this does not affect fast app switching (part of the multitasking functionality) and nor does it affect push notifications which generate live tiles or toast messages. I'd also like to state that if apps make use of Background tasks Microsoft have provided methods for developers to identify when a "mid-tier" device is being used before trying to enable the task, thus allowing users to continue using all other features of the app in question.
Update 2: Justin Angel argues (very well) that this is not mobile fragmentation, as technically developers will write code once which can then be run on any Windows Phone platform, although developers may still be required to test for these mid-tier devices and run functions of their apps in accordance. Instead Justin suggests that this classifies as 'device differentiation', in the same way as not having a gyroscope or front facing camera in your device.
3 years ago
State of the Mobile Nations Survey - Help Make our Forums even Better!
We love our communities! Each of our individual sites -- Android Central, CrackBerry.com, iMore, WPCentral and webOSNation -- has its own incredibly passionate and knowledgeable community of forum users. Each has its own strong identity and we never want to compromise that. Which is why we went with Mobile Nations as our community network brand. It allows us to continue to respect the culture of our individual communities while continuing to push all of the sites forward and making it more welcoming for users who switch between platforms to find their way into another Mobile Nations site. All combined, we truly are the United Nations of Mobile!
Help Us Improve Our Forums: We want to continue to make our communities even stronger. We've put together ten quick questions that will help guide us on that mission. Whether you visit the forums often or just casually lurk, we want want to hear from you. The survey will only take a minute or two, tops. Thanks for participating!
Take the Survey!
3 years ago
Hands on with the ZTE Orbit Windows Phone featuring NFC [Video]
Although overshadowed a bit by Nokia today, ZTE who earlier released the Tania has also put out the Orbit which was announced early this morning. The Orbit is yet another low-cost phone presumably for emerging markets and East Asia though the company has expressed interest in coming to the US and Europe as well.
The Orbit features a new Qualcomm processor to Windows Phone: the Qualcomm MSM7227A-1 which is described as a "low cost, low voltage" CPU for sub-$150 devices. In addition, here are the other specs just released:
HSDPA 900/2100, DPA 7.2Mbps
RAM 256MB, User 4GB
4-inch, WVGA (800x480), 65K colour, TFT, capacitive
5MP AF/flash camera
GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP
Accelerator, compass, proximity light
DLNA, NFC, FOTA, HD Voice, Dual Mic, FM Radio
Interestingly the press release from ZTE notes that it has 512MB of RAM but we confirmed that this is a 256MB device as seen in our pics below. The phone has the same nice feel as the Tania including a slick chrome finish. The screen is a little washed for our liking but we're a bit spoiled with Nokia ClearBlack, Samsung Super AMOLED+ and HTC's S-LCD.
The unit we played with clearly has some work yet to be done on it, including some issues with the touch-capacitive buttons and camera (which didn't work) but we'll chalk that up to early prototype problems. Overall the Orbit is a unique phone with a custom-OEM pink Accent color. No other "custom UI" changes were noted with this review unit nor any NFC apps to take advantage of the NFC hardware that this supposedly sports.
The OS was an interesting build 8755 which probably classifies as "Tango" though from what we understand there is no Tango-proper build of the OS yet and OEMs aren't even referring to it with that name. Either way, clearly ZTE is betting that Windows Phone has a chance and we're impressed with their design even if the hardware is a little on the low side--we think they're a company to watch.
3 years ago
Reminder: Only a few days left in Fitness Month
March is just a few days away and that will signal the close of Mobile Nations' Fitness Month. Over the past few weeks all the Mobile Nations sites have focused on the fitness and health uses for your smartphones.
We've seen inspirational videos from Crackberry Kevin and the iMore staff. We couldn't let the month pass by without offering our own video on the subject. Oh and shooting a video from a treadmill is tougher than it looks. It doesn't take many takes before you get short of breath.
We've covered a wide variety of fitness and health apps for your Windows Phone as well as sharing our fitness experiences over in the WPCentral forums. Three readers have already walked away with gift certificates to the WPCentral Store and in a few days we'll select our grand prize winner and two runners up.
Just remember for your chance to win the grand prize (Xbox 360 and Kinect) or one of the runner up prizes (Nokia Luna BT headset or $50 gift card to the WPCentral Store) all you need to do is comment on one of the two Fitness Month discussions (Week 1 &2 and Week 3&4).
We will announce the winners sometime on Friday, March 2, 2012.
While time is winding down on Fitness Month, by no means should you slack up on things. Push yourself to carry February's fitness goals into March, then April, then May and so on. Good luck to everyone and keep up the good work.
3 years ago
Nokia Lumia 610 has Gorilla Glass and other interesting specs
Call it low-end but don't call it cheap. That's how we feel about the Nokia Lumia 610 which in our opinion is a buttery smooth and elegant little number (see our hands on), despite being a bit neutered to keep costs down.
One area though Nokia is not skimping on is the use of Corning's Gorilla Glass which according to the device specs is on board. Sure, it may not have ClearBlack screen technology (it's a straight TFT instead) but that Gorilla Glass is a good thing to keep some light scratches away as you throw this in your pants or purse. Some other notable specs:
Quad band: GSM 1800, 1900, 850, 900; data 1900, 2100, 850, 900
HSPA - But no "+" on board so it's limited to 7.2Mbps
Talk time: 10.5 hours
Not a bad little number and we think Nokia can do well with this phone, especially in those emerging markets. The build quality on this device is better than most mid-range offerings available today, which says something about Nokia and their ability.
Source: Developer Nokia
3 years ago
Hands on with Nokia Transport and Reading [Video]
Besides all of the new phone goodness today, Nokia also showed off a few new apps heading down the pike for their Windows Phone users. One of those is Nokia Transport, an app dedicated to public transportation including bus and train schedules for more than 500 cities--something us urban folk desperately need. The app nails down your position and shows you the nearest stops and schedules around you, allowing you to save and even pin to your Start screen a route of you choices. That Live Tile can then flip around showing you the next train or bus always keeping you in the loop.
Nokia Reading is an eBook app that also supports audio books. It turns out it runs through Nokia's store where you can browse for new books, including a lot of free ones, save and basically use it as solid eReader. The selection of books looks decent enough but we'll have to see more when it is closer to launch.
3 years ago
Hands with the White Nokia Lumia 900 [Video]
Of all the big news that came out today, one little nugget that slipped by was the announcement of the all-white Lumia 900. "Leaked" accidentally a few weeks ago by Nokia themselves on their Facebook page, the glossy white beast had been expected to launch here at Mobile World Congress and sure enough it has shown up here on the floor.
The phone is what you expect it to be: a big ol' white whale of a phone, similar to the Lumia 800 but obviously more grand. Now the White Lumia 900 will launch internationally in a few weeks to join its Cyan, Black and Magenta siblings. AT&T is currently only offering the Cyan and Black versions but we're told Nokia has given AT&T the choice for the white version, but it is up to them to offer another SKU for the device.
In practical terms that means don't expect a white AT&T Lumia 900 but should the glossy version sell well and gain momentum the option is certainly there for them. Likewise with Magenta which could see a roll out on AT&T with a "refresh" of the phone later in the year.
3 years ago
Carbon version 1.2 now live bringing gesture and video previews
Carbon version 1.2 is now live on the Marketplace after being submitted twelve days prior. We covered what's new in this update previously, which includes video preview (on the timeline) and a new quote screen gesture (tap on a tweet with two fingers). As well as improvements made to the app (speed, performance, etc.), the team has also introduced a trial mode that wasn't present in v1.1 - this trial has limited functionality but sports no advertising.
What else has been patched in version 1.2? Check out the bug fixes and changes below:
Read It Later bug that failed to save links to Read It Later service
Timeline context menu bug
Camera share bug that did not select pictures from Pictures hub
Broken image upload
List Timelines on Quickline Bug where it didn’t load older Tweets when tapping on “More”
Minor changes & bug fixes with Live Tiles
Default Image service changed to Twitpic instead of Twitter(to be reverted back soon)
Quickline bug that did not load all of the lists
General cache, and storage fixes/enhancements
Smoother Timeline scrolling experience and faster image fetching
You can download Carbon (and the trial) from the Marketplace for $1.99.
3 years ago
Rogers expands LTE Network
On the heels of Nokia announcing that the Lumia 900 Windows Phone would be headed to Rogers, the Canadian wireless provider announced a bit of news themselves. Rogers launched their LTE Network to St. John's being the first to provide LTE speeds to Newfoundland.
John Boynton, Rogers Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer stated,
"We are proud to be the first carrier to bring our LTE network to St. John's. With Rogers LTE wireless network coverage, customers have access to speeds similar to broadband connections, making it easier for people to use their mobile devices to download apps, stream HD videos and music or play on-line games, with virtually no delays or buffering."
Rogers was the first to launch an LTE Network in Canada last summer in Ottawa followed closely by Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver last fall. LTE expansion doesn't stop with St. Johns. Rogers plans to double its LTE coverage later this year expanding to more than twenty five cities including Atlantic Canada and Halifax.
LTE Network expansion and the Lumia 900. Sounds like good times are in store for Rogers' customers. You can catch the full presser after the break.
3 years ago
European Lumia 900 available for pre-order at Unlocked Mobile for £445.98
Now that we know the European Lumia 900 is on its way to Europe (and beyond), will you be getting your paws on one? Unlocked Mobiles, a UK retailer specialising in unlocked mobile phones, has published a Lumia 900 product page with the price tag of £445.98. They expect to stock the SIM-free handset and have it available for delivery by May 21st.
The Lumia 900 sports a 4.3" AMOLED display (with ClearBlack technology), 512MB RAM, 1.4Ghz chip, 8MP camera (with FF), and 16GB storage. The handset will -of course- support the usual GSM Quad band 850/900/1800/1900 3G & HSDPA.
Source: Unlocked Mobiles
3 years ago
Monday Brief: MWC, PlayBook 2.0, and THREE giveaways!
3 years ago
Carriers able to block Windows Phone software updates as they see fit
Paul Thurrott has revisited his Windows Phone review, specifically the part that covers the update process. Now we're all more than aware of how awful previous Windows Phone updates have been (just take a look at NoDo) for some consumers, depending on what carrier their with, but it seems as though this isn't set to change anytime soon. Carriers will be able to block updates as they see fit (unsure as for the motive to do so) and leave users high and dry without the latest version.
Thurrott previously explained that carriers could "veto" an update, which would then be automatically offered to consumers the next time a software update is released. It seems that Joe Belfiore (who provided Thurrott with said details) was incorrect, due to the fact that carriers appear to have the ability to block updates galore. As an example: both 7740 and 8107 still haven't been delivered to some consumers.
We have touched on this before, with a post on the Windows Team blog detailing that carriers could block any updates as they wished, but ultimately consumers should receive all updates pushed out by Microsoft. All in all, a real pain for consumers. Looks like we'll have to take matters back to the drawing board to plan future wars against the carriers. Are you still missing an update (or updates)? Let us know in the comments.
3 years ago
23 New Windows Phone 7 markets plus emulator update
Joe Belfiore has just announced via the Windows Phone Developer Blog that the Windows Phone Marketplace is being enabled in 23 new regions. This won't be effective immediately, but in the coming months the Marketplace will be available to publishers and consumers in the following regions:
This is part of a bigger move by Microsoft to get Windows Phone into "high growth" markets, and is accompanied by the official announcement of the low-cost Nokia Lumia 610 device.
He also goes on to say how much this actually effects publishers:
In terms of actual potential app customers, the addition of new price points and customers in China and the other new markets represents a near 60% increase in the total addressable market for Windows Phone. I told you it was a big step!
Next up is a new WP7 SDK update. The technical preview of the new update has gone live and will allow developers to test out their applications in the emulator which now supports a mode where the device memory is limited to just 256MB. This will allow developers to ensure that their apps work as expected on low-cost devices before publishing to these new markets. Developers can also opt-out of providing support for the new phones, but by default are automatically opted-in. Although there is automatic opt-in for this, developers will still need to update their apps to select the new markets to publish to.
The team used feedback from users who had opted-in to determine how much memory current WP7 apps were using, and if they would run with the new memory limits. Only around 5% of the current apps failed this test, and the developers have been contacted. So the good news, is that unless Microsoft has reached out to you, chances are that your app will work as-is.
Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog
3 years ago
Quick tour of Skype beta for Windows Phone [Video]
As you all know by now, the Skype beta for Windows Phone is now out in the Marketplace. We just gave Rafael a call and was happily shocked at how good it sounded.
The app is pretty simple with your contacts and history and barely any user settings. You can make voice calls, chat or even video calls as expected and all calls are free over WiFi. In addition you can use the dialpad to call out any numbers should you have Skype out minutes.
Though long in the waiting, it looks to be a solid release even if it still has the "beta" label. Pick up Skype here in the Marketplace for free.
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