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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Fantasia Painter

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The other day we shared a list of the best photography apps for your Windows Phone. We knew that there were other worthy photo apps out there and one such app that was mentioned prominently in the comments was Fantasia Painter.

On the one hand the Fantasia Painter is a photo editing app. On the other hand Fantasia Painter is a creative suite to give your photos a serious splash of color.  On top of all that, if painting is more your cup of tea Fantasia Painter can handle that as well.

It's really hard to tell how many editing tools Fantasia Painter has (the Marketplace description says 45+ but that feels a little low) but it ranks amongst the top photography Windows Phone apps on the amount of control you have over editing your pictures.  Fantasia Painter is an impressive photography app for your Windows Phone and it can be a little intimidating.  Once you get the hang of the controls and all the editing possibilities, Fantasia Painter can really make your photos shine.

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 featured in the help section of the Orange UK website

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The UK carrier Orange has the Lumia 900 listed on the help section of their website. Not only is the Windows Phone detailed with photos, tips, helpful tutorials and more, but the user guide is available. Now, we're not ones to jump the gun but this appears to be a pretty definitive 'yes' to the Lumia 900 coming to Orange.

The next question is "when?". With the delays that are occurring throughout the country and beyond, it could be quite the wait. Then again when the retail chains all launch the smartphone later this month, carriers might not be far behind (if at all).

The Lumia 800 and 710 are both "out of stock" on the carrier's website. With this hint at the Lumia 900 joining the two Windows Phones, this could be a sign that Orange is satisfied with sales thus far. Orange is also set to launch the Lumia 610 with NFC technology later this year.

Source: Orange; thanks Simon for the tip!

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3 years ago

Priyanka Chopra challenges other smartphones with "Blown Away By Lumia"

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Nokia has got hold of Priyanka Chopra, an established Indian actress, singer and former Miss World to host some videos for the "Blown Away by Lumia" Windows Phone challenge. Just like the Smoked by Windows Phone campaign, Chopra challenges participants at common tasks to see which smartphone is faster. 

The Blown Away by Lumia challenges have come under fire since Nokia began uploading the video clips to sharing websites, with Samsung publicly announcing the company believes Nokia's aggressive campaign is "unethical", but we've also seen some humorous reactions, including a girlfriend of a losing participant.

Check out the other two videos after the break.

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3 years ago

Nokia's Chairman claims tablets and "hybrids" being looked into

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Jorma Ollila, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nokia Corporation, told the well respected Financial Times that Nokia has plans for tablets and "hybrid" smart devices, details nearly lost in the article focusing on how Nokia is trying to rebound from losing market share lately.

While specific on the device plans are scarce, Ollila did give a few tantalizing details in the interview, noting:

“Tablets are an important one, so that is being looked into, and there will be different hybrids, different form factors [handset designs] in the future.”

We can of course only surmise that Ollila is referring to Windows 8 plans for the fall where Nokia is expected to release such devices. Such a pronouncement echoes an earlier comment by Marko Ahtisaari, Design Chief at Nokia who said in March that he spends a third of his time at the company on tablet development.

With Nokia making advances in flexible screens, their excellent design esthetic and the new Metro layout of Windows 8, we see yet another perfect storm to take on Apple in the tablet space.

Trying to catch up to Cupertino will be exceptionally difficult for the Finnish company, as much if not more than in the smartphone realm. But if there was a perfect aligning of technology: Nokia, Windows 8 and Microsoft would be the best shot.

The other bit about "hybrids" is also fascinating as it sounds to us like something between a tablet and a smartphone is being considered, ala the Galaxy Note. While the Note with its 5.3" screen was dismissed by many as too large, the device has actually been selling quite well indicating a strong market for such hybrids.

Needless to say, this fall should be very exciting.

Ollila is stepping down from Nokia after 27 years from the company as announced late last year.

Source: Financial Times; via the Nokia Blog

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3 years ago

Windows Phone web Marketplace marches on with 22 new countries added today

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Microsoft may not be dominating in the United Sates or Europe but that isn't stopping them from expanding to the rest of the planet. In their continued expansion of the web Marketplace, which we use everyday, Microsoft has added a healthy chunck of countries to the list.

Twenty-two in all were brought online today, including Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Israel, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Ubiquity is the key word here and Microsoft has always been a fan of market saturation. So long as Windows Phone apps and games are available everywhere, developers will be encouraged to create new products and customers will enjoy the convenience.

Launching last September, the Windows Phone web Marketplace has continually and constantly expanded over the last few months, enabling users to browse, purchase and send apps right to their phone without any wires. Recently however, there were some problems as Microsoft makes adjustments to the backend, resulting in some unplanned downtime for customers.

To learn how the web Marketplace works check out Microsoft's tutorial.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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3 years ago

Motorola injunction could block Microsoft products in Germany

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Motorola has been granted an injunction on Microsoft products being sold in Germany. The Xbox 360, Windows OS, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player will all fall under the ban, should it be put into place. The injunction follows a ruling claiming the software giant had infringed two Motorola patents required to support H.264 video coding and playback.

An official statement from Motorola reads the following:

"We are pleased that the Mannheim Court found that Microsoft products infringe Motorola Mobility's intellectual property. As a path forward, we remain open to resolving this matter. Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property."

According to reports, this is just one of several cases involving around 50 properties owned by the smartphone manufacturer. Microsoft has stated that should the software giant meet the demands of Motorola an annual bill would be in the region of $4bn (£2.5bn). The manufacturer has denied this claim.

A statement from Microsoft has been published, which highlights how the company will look to appeal the decision.

"This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web. Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise."

Motorola cannot enforce the ruling made by the German courts until a Seattle-based judge lifts a restraining order. This restriction was put in place by Microsoft after it claimed Motorola was actively abusing its Frand-committments (pact to license innovations required for widely used technologies under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms). A hearing is to be held on May 7th.

Source: BBC

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3 years ago

Samsung's white LTE Windows Phone for AT&T gets pictured. Will it ever be released?

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The Samsung SGH-i667 aka the 'Mandel' is one of the last Windows Phone that we have very little information about. It passed BT certification in January and then cleared the FCC in March but since it did not co-launch with the HTC Titan II and the Nokia Lumia 900, it is presumed that the Samsung LTE phone was canceled.

Now, two images have leaked out of the device, the first one you see above is the back of the phone and it shows a svelte, glossy white smooth rounded back.

The second image is a screen cap of the device connected up to Zune Desktop, showing the device name. The AT&T logo is prominent on the device and featured in that image which is pulled from Microsoft's servers.

The device also appears to be sporting only 8GB of storage (with 5.61 available) which tells us that this was probably not a high-end, flagship phone for AT&T but an offshoot of the Focus Flash, which also goes by the name i667.

Other than that we just don't have any more information. The images come by way of the site WPXAP and no other details were given.

Samsung has reportedly taken a break from Windows Phone to work on a high-end Windows Phone 8 device for the fall (rumored to be a Galaxy S3 knock off). Could the 'Mandel' have been skipped or passed over by AT&T or even Sammy? We may never know.

We'll keep an eye out though we know we'd like to add it to our collection. Samsung looks good in glossy white.

Source: WPXAP; Thanks, Talan1314, for the images!

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3 years ago

Microsoft details Windows Phone developer summit in June

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Microsoft has announced an upcoming Windows Phone developer summit, which will be held in San Francisco on June 20-21. The company is set to activate plans to attract more developers and big-name brands to the platform. One of the major complaints with Windows Phone is the lack of popular apps that are available on competitor platforms.

Microsoft has done a good job thus far with bringing companies to Windows Phone to build apps for consumers and broaden the Marketplace inventory. Some developers are even swayed without the software giant intervening - Windows Phone owners have proven to be a stubborn bunch when it comes to showing interest in a much desired port. DrawSomething is a good example of this with the community urging the developers to support Windows Phone.

What's interesting to note about this developer summit is that it's a week before Google I/O 2012, and is even in the same city. It would be a smart move for Microsoft to make it as convenient as possible for developers on other platforms to attend their Windows Phone event. Even if the attendees show no interest in building apps, for them to actually be present during the presentations could be enough to motivate the poor souls.

We'll of course be there for the event should you not be able to make it.

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3 years ago

Canadian carrier WIND to release Lumia 710 for $259 on May 3rd

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Canadian carrier WIND is set to launch the Lumia 710 tomorrow, May 3rd. We previously covered the rumours pointing to an early May release for the Windows Phone, and now those who have been waiting eagerly will be able to pick one up. The Lumia 710 is to be priced at a reasonable $259 without contract, or for $99 on the WINDtab with the WIND25 and $0 on the WINDtab with the WIND40 monthly plan. 

Emails have been sent out to early ordering customers with information detailing the upcoming launch, including the above pricing.

The Lumia 710 (see our in-depth review) packs a 1.4GHz CPU, a 3.7" ClearBlack screen and a 5MP camera - perfect for anyone who requires a budget Windows Phone.

Source: MobileSyrup, WIND

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3 years ago

Microsoft details cloud services for the Windows ecosystem

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Microsoft has released some more information detailing the Windows Live services for the next upcoming instalment of the software giant's operating system. As the company continues to move away from the Windows Live and Zune brands, Microsoft Account begins to take over with services such as Messenger and Hotmail being rebranded for easier recognition.

The UI hasn't been the only element of Windows to be redesigned, as one can see in the below table the Windows Live services will all be renamed to match the simplistic new approach Microsoft has undertaken.

Those who have actively used Windows Phone will feel right at home with Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos / Videos and other new branding that will be present in Windows 8. It's interesting to see just how far the services have come. Skype isn't mentioned, but we're sure we'll see more details as to how VoIP will be further integrated into Windows 8 and Windows Phone. We've also yet to hear more surrounding Microsoft's new music service.

"Windows Live reimagined" (check out the video on the official blog post at MSDN for more information) will see the Microsoft Account act as a key to the storage of personal information and settings. Simply connecting the account to a Windows 8 PC will automatically setup and integrate contacts, email, calendar events, photos, SkyDrive and more. The same experience will be present on the big screen (and tablet) as it is on the smartphone.

The future's bright; the future's the cloud.

Source: Building Windows 8 (MSDN Blog)

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3 years ago

Fable Heroes Xbox 360 impressions

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Fable Heroes Xbox 360 impressions

As part of WPCentral’s ongoing Xbox 360 coverage, we’ll sometimes discuss console titles of interest to our readers. Last week’s Arcade Next XBLA release was Bloodforge, a dark and gory action game from Climax Studios. This week’s release, Fable Heroes cleanses the pallet with a much lighter tone and cooperative play.

Remember Fable Coin Golf, the Fable-themed Windows Phone exclusive that shared a connectivity feature with Fable 3 on 360? Fable Heroes is another spin-off, this time of the beat-em-up genre. It also skews younger than the mainline Fable series, putting players in control of wooden puppet heroes as they romp through stages based on the console games. You won't find a story of any sort here (unlike past Fable games), as it centers squarely on the multiplayer experience instead.

Head past the break for our full impressions.

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3 years ago

Microsoft launching two-year subscription for Xbox 360 console and Kinect bundle

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Microsoft has plans to introduce a $99 Xbox 360 console package that will be accompanied by a two-year monthly subscription as early as next week. According to sources, the software company will offer the 4GB console package, which includes a Kinect sensor, at Microsoft Stores in the states. The bundle will be subsidised with a monthly fee of just $15.

As well as the console and Kinect, customers who make the purchase will have a Gold subscription activated on their Live ID Microsoft Account throughout the contract duration, and will be covered by a two-year warranty. There is likely to be an early termination fee for those who have the desire to break out of the contract prematurely, but how does the cost work out? Total amount comes to $459 ($99 upfront fee with a two-year $15/mo subscription) for the soon-to-launch package offer. But should you purchase the bundle with a Live subscription outright (without the offer), you'll be looking at around $400. 

Microsoft is targeting those who are keeping an eye out for a cheap entertainment centre. With Windows 8 on the horizon, not to mention a new music service, the software giant will look at more ways to attract potential customers to their new ecosystem. As a slight humorous side-note: the $15 monthly fee equates to $360.

Source: The Verge

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3 years ago

Nokia to launch the impressive PureView 808 in May

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Nokia surprised many at the Mobile World Congress 2012 event in Barcelona this year by announcing a beast of a smartphone - the PureView 808. Boasting a 41MP sensor, coupled with advancements in camera technology and research by Nokia, the Symbian powered smartphone is set to be a diamond when it comes to snapping those memorable moments.

While the Nokia 808 is no Windows Phone, it's exciting to see how Nokia can stay in the midst of the competition with available resources. It has been confirmed that technology used in developing the 808 will eventually be available on Microsoft's platform (an extension to the exclusive partnership with Carl Zeiss reaffirms this possibility) - something many of us wouldn't mind witnessing. 

The Finnish manufacturer has published a press release (three in one day - not bad) detailing plans to start rolling out the Nokia 808 in select markets this month. The smartphone has received multiple awards, including Best Mobile Device at Mobile World Congress and Best Imaging Innovation for 2012, and also features full HD 1080p video recording (with 4x lossless zoom).

Would you be interested in a Windows Phone from Nokia that features such a camera, and will you pick up the Nokia PureView 808 just to see how it is? Check out the press release after the break.

Source: Nokia

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3 years ago

Nokia files patent lawsuits against HTC, RIM and Viewsonic in the US and Germany

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The Finnish manufacturer has announced in a press release today that they have filed patent lawsuits and will be taking on HTC, RIM and Viewsonic. Nokia has filed the patent claims in the U.S. and Germany, alleging that products from the three manufacturers infringe a number of owned patents.

Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Nokia, had the following to comment on the situation.

"Nokia is a leader in many technologies needed for great mobile products. We have already licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies.  Though we'd prefer to avoid litigation, Nokia had to file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed."

Nokia is reported to license standards essential patents to more than 40 companies, and while the manufacturer would prefer to avoid litigation; there's no apparent room for unauthorised usage. A total of 45 patents are included in the claims, which have gone to the ITC (U.S. International Trade Commission), as well as regional courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany.

Nokia proprietary innovations that are protected by these patents include dual function antennas, power management and multimode radios, as well as software feature enhancements that include application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device. Fairly "basic" stuff to the average consumer.

Apple and Microsoft are among a number of companies that have been actively engaged in patent lawsuits. With Nokia's continued struggle to regain marketshare, not to mention a pretty steep loss reported in the previous financial quarter, some would say it's about time the company started fighting hard. Check out the press release after the break.

Source: Nokia

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3 years ago

Nokia announces extended partnership with Carl Zeiss for future smartphones

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Nokia has announced an extension to their exclusive partnership with Carl Zeiss, which will lead to more collaboration with future smartphones. The two companies have been working together closely and their efforts have seen the N8 and Nokia 808 PureView (set to launch this year) come to life, blowing away the market with advanced smartphone optics.

Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices, had the following to comment on Carl Zeiss' contribution.

"Carl Zeiss was a crucial partner in the creation of the first PureView experience. The benefits of our ongoing collaboration will be more PureView innovation and further advancements in smartphone imaging in the coming months and years."

As well as PureView, the same technology has been used in the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone family. Since the Nokia 808 runs Symbian it's certainly an exciting time for those who await for Windows Phones with better quality shooters, especially as Nokia has since confirmed that PureView technology will be coming to Windows Phone since the demonstration was presented at MWC 2012.

Michael Kaschke, CEO at Carl Zeiss AG, followed up with some praise.

"When joining forces with Nokia in 2005, we wanted to push the boundaries of mobile photography. Looking back at seven years of successful partnership, we are proud of the innovations and outstanding products created in this shared journey. Today we are celebrating the extension of our collaboration with a new technology that sets another real benchmark in this sector."

What would you like to see from the two companies in the future?

Source: Nokia

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