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3 years ago

Zombies are on the Phone and the Xbox Live Deal of the Week too

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Remember that Xbox Live Deal of the Week poll from last month? Microsoft allowed users to vote on whether ZOMB1ES on teh ph0ne, Earthworm Jim, Doodle God, or Deer Hunter would go on sale this month. Doodle God and Deer Hunter have already permanently dropped to 99 cents, which left only Zombies or Earthworm Jim to go on sale. Zombies on the Phone (as I’ll now type it) won the poll anyway, and so it’s now the current Deal of the Week for $1.99.

Zombies on the Phone is the Windows Phone port of popular-‘cause-it’s-cheap Xbox 360 indie game I MAED A GAEM W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!1. Thankfully it includes a new game mode, 'Endless Zombies,' as well as the entirely new side-view shooter 'Time Viking.' It’s like two or three games for the price of one! Look past the intentionally basic yet chaotic visuals and you’ll find a challenging shooter with a nice sense of humor; just listen to the horrid but silly lyrical theme songs for proof. To learn more about the concept, check out our Xbox Live Developer Interview with Ska Studios and read the full game review.

Zombies on the Phone is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and start shooting those darn zombies,

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3 years ago

The Windows Phone Challenge racks up 40,522 wins for Microsoft and very few losses

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All good things must come to an end and so does the Windows Phone Challenge at Microsoft Stores in the US as April 12 was designated to be the last day (Evidently the contest is still going on in many stores)

Although the Smoked by Windows Phone Challenge will remain forever controversial, there is little doubt it made waves and got the OS noticed (hey, any publicity is good publicity). Guess we didn't figure Microsoft were tallying up every single win (and loss) though perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise. Here are the results:

  • Won - 40,522
  • Lost - 462

We're assuming that these numbers are just for the US at the various Microsoft Stores and don't include the expanded contest in places like Italy, Malaysia and Brazil (to name a few). Even Nokia picked up and ran with it in London.

If our math is correct, Windows Phone has won 98.87% of the challenges which is, umm, really high. Of course, we all know that the challenge favors Windows Phone as the tasks are predefined, but Microsoft has made some changes to make it more fair to challengers.

We're sure the naysayers will still cry foul though. Fair enough. The publicity stunt started a great conversation about the efficiency of using your smartphone for everyday tasks and put the spotlight on Windows Phone for once, something we rather enjoyed seeing.

Source: Microsoft Store (Facebook)

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3 years ago

From the Forums - Poll: What color is your Nokia Lumia 900?

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The Lumia 900 has been available for over a couple of weeks now. Reports are that it is selling well. What we want to know is what color Lumia 900 do you have? The numbers are going up and everyone has their favorite choice.

Forum member baseballbert has an opinion on the Cyan Lumia 900.

"Cyan, blue is the best color in the Crayola box. Already had a white iPhone and several black phones, it was time to go outside the lines with something new. Plus, its 1970's Batman Blue, I mean honestly, does it get better than that?"

Forum member NicholasCL has an idea. This is what he had to say.

"I like the white but the cyan is a little too close to powder blue for my taste...I'll stick with my matte black but why don't we have phones that change colors yet? In the 80's I had t-shirts and Hotwheels that changed color I want a phone that will change. Think about the Nokia Chameleon, the only phone that changes to match your mood or your outfit. I'd buy one."

Now that's a fun idea, but you won't find that in our poll. We only added the colors we already had and Magenta just in case. Forum member nokia4life had this to say about the White Lumia 900.

"You might have had a white iphone but it does not look better than the white lumia 900 by the way i also had the white iphone 4s this black screen floating on top of the white is awesome the phone looks like a piece of  untouched glacier it pops for real more the cyan"

The Black Lumia isn't getting much love in the thread comments even though it is holding it's own in our poll. Forum member Neibl likes his Black Lumia because of how the screen blends in and he thinks it looks more professional.

And what color Lumia 900 do you have? We want to know, so jump in the forums here and place your vote. Then tell us in the comments or in our forums thread why you got what you got.

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3 years ago

Microsoft removing Windows Phone Marketplace from Zune Desktop

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In a surprising move, Microsoft announced today on the Windows Phone blog that in the near future starting today you, won't be able to purchase or browse apps using the Zune Desktop software. (If you launch Zune Desktop, you'll be notified of the changes). In addition, you'll need Windows Phone 7.5+ to access and purchase new apps in the Marketplace, basically forcing users who are still on NoDo to finally update.

The Zune Desktop move seems odd until Microsoft explains that the overwhelming majority of users browse and purchase apps right on their phone or at the very least, use the Web Marketplace. So trying to focus their engineering efforts where it matters, Microsoft has decided to concentrate their efforts on those two areas and to forsake the Zune Desktop client.

Of course, we've also heard a lot of rumblings that come Windows 8 (and Windows Phone 8), Zune Desktop as we know will be completely gone. Instead, purchasing Windows 8 apps and music will be handled more natively by the OS itself and plugging in your phone will be more akin to the Active Sync experience back in the Windows Mobile heyday.

The other requirement, needing Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" to access the store is also an interesting move. Without going into specific details, Mazhar Mohammed explains "Requiring Windows Phone 7.5 is part of a larger effort aimed at improving Marketplace performance and security, and paving the way for even faster growth and more new features."

We're not sure what the engineering limits are that are forcing these changes but evidently Microsoft considers it a priority enough to enforce it in the Marketplace.

Regarding  the Zune Desktop situation we have mixed feelings. On the one hand, we have to recognize that it is very likely to be a thing of the past in 6-8 months and we need to move on. On the other, one could argue that Zune Desktop absolutely killed iTunes as far as usability and it was one of Microsoft's really innovative desktop apps, so we're sad to see it slowly loose functionality.

How do these changes affect you? Sound off in comments and let us hear your thoughts.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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3 years ago

Reminder: Your App Here advertising campaign closing date April 30th

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The "Your App Here" marketing campaign is a venture by both Microsoft and Nokia that aims to help Windows Phone developers establish a foothold in the online media world with free advertising / promotion for selected apps.

We've previously covered the campaign at entry intervals, and it seems April 30th marks the closing date for the last known campaign in June. Microsoft has sent out a reminder email to developers that contains the following:

"Windows Phone & Nokia are looking for innovative new apps targeted for Windows Phone 7.5 to showcase in our promotional ad campaign. This opportunity is open to all developers with newly published Windows Phone apps relevant to the U.S. Marketplace. [...]  Tell us about your app today; the last submission deadline is April 30th."

Should you desire to get your app featured on the last campaign, be sure to get your app submission in by April 30th. Check out some photos below of the marketing in action (click for larger versions) for a handful of apps by Techark Solutions.

Thanks Pratik for the campaign images!

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3 years ago

UK Lumia 900 delayed due to 'overwhelming demand' in the U.S.?

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The Nokia Lumia 900 has previously been announced to be heading to the UK shores next month, with Clove UK expecting to stock and ship the handset by May 16th. The Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U have also jumped on the Lumia 900 train with pre-order and registration pages being published for interested customers to keep up-to-date. We've now seen reports that point to a delay with the Windows Phone hitting shelves.

According to V3, a UK technology news website, Nokia has officially confirmed that the availability date for the Lumia 900 at Phones4U has been pushed back from April 27th to May 14th, due to 'overwhelming demand' in the US on AT&T. We've covered a few times how the handset has gone out of stock, and the white Lumia 900 remains to be particularly rare.

"The overwhelming demand for the Lumia 900 in the US with AT&T has, unfortunately, had a small knock-on effect on product availability in the UK. The Lumia 900 is now expected to be available from Phones4U around the 14th May."

This date is pretty much bang on with what both Clove UK and the Carphone Warehouse originally published which makes us believe that either Phones4U was exclusively set to stock the handsets first, or they were jumping the gun slightly with the estimated date of availability (Nokia hasn't officially announced a release date). But the Finnish manufacturer has been relatively broad with their statement. What's not clear is if this just affects the Phones4U white Lumia 900, or the other versions available at the three retailers.

Clove UK has remained silent on their official blog, not announcing any delay with the Lumia 900. We'll keep our eyes and ears open for any further details regarding the possible delay. Could U.S. sales really be that positive? As well as the potential UK delay, as if that wasn't enough, according to Belgium retailer PDAshop.be the Lumia 900 will be available for shipping for €599 on May 9th - a full five days before Nokia expects to be able to ship the Windows Phone in volume to the UK.

Although dates are being flung left, right and centre, we'd recommend readers keep a mid-May release in mind when considering the Lumia 900. Should delays to the UK prove to be reality, it may well affect other European countries too in the U.S. backlash. On a brighter note, at least AT&T's CEO Ralph de la Vega can have a laugh on CNBC with the Windows Phone.

Source: pdashop.beV3, via: Inquirer; thanks to babse and Michael for the tips!

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3 years ago

Buddy platform goes free until August [Developers]

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In September of last year we wrote about the startup created by two ex-Microsofties called Buddy.

Buddy is a cloud platform that has support for all the major mobile Operating Systems (and HTML5), and makes it really easy to integrate web services into your app. With a few lines of code you could add a high score list, or get push notifications and Live-Tile updates out to all of your users, and that is just the basic stuff. There is support for a wide range of other usage scenarios which you can checkout in their documentation.

Here is the basic flow that they provide for a global high-score list:

Up until now there were different price tiers based on your usage, starting at a free account which provided enough API transactions for most small apps. But to celebrate reaching 5000 signed-up developers, the service is now totally free until August!

Check out the newsletter below:

Buddy Announces 5000 Developers
... and a pre-v1.0 launch gift!

We have great news that we want to share - but first, since our launch in beta last September we've been THRILLED with the support we've received from the mobile app development community the world over.

In fact, we're pleased to announce that we now have 5000 developers on the Buddy Platform - so thank you to every single one of you for your support, your feedback and your contributions so far!

The Buddy team has been working super hard (in fact so hard, that we need more people! Click here to learn more about opportunities to join our team), and we're in the final prep stages before we emerge from beta and release our v1.0 product.

To celebrate, we want to give our developers FREE access for all accounts consuming less than 2 million API calls per month - and we're going to continue doing so until August! So if you've been thinking about building an app on Buddy - there's never been a better time to get your feet wet.

To get started, download our free full code samples for iOS, Android and Windows Phone - these are full apps that will compile and execute - and tinker away from there!

Thanks again for your support, and we look forward to sharing more info on our post-v1.0 launch pricing shortly!

So if you aren't looking forward to forking out for Azure (or learning it for that matter), now is a great time to jump on board. Hit the source below to sign-up.

Source: Buddy platform

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3 years ago

Lumia 900 on its way to Norwegian retailer Elkjøp?

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The Lumia 900 is yet to be officially announced in Norway and nothing's detailed on the Lumia Momentum Map, but we've just been sent in a photo of a retailer terminal displaying an order for Lumia Windows Phones. As one can see in the photo, the Norwegian retailer Elkjøp is set to stock a handful of all three variants of the Lumia 900, including the glossy white version.

The expected delivery date of the ordered handsets, which we presume are simply demo units, is May 2nd, according to the employee. We could well be on the edge of an upcoming Nokia push in Norway with the flagship Lumia Windows Phone. We'll keep you all updated as this story develops and more information is officially released.

The Lumia 900 launch in the U.S. on AT&T is suffering from major sellouts due to simply not enough handsets being available on shelves. This could be due to not many being in stock to begin with, but with the device being featured as a "hero smartphone", we still like to believe that the sales have been strong.

Thanks tipster for sending in the photo!

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 Case Review: Smartphone Experts Top Case

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3 years ago

AT&T's Ralph de la Vega shows off white Lumia 900 instead of talking iPhone 5

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President and CEO of AT&T Mobility, Ralph de la Vega, was interviewed on CNBC recently answering questions surrounding both AT&T's latest financial report and the rumoured iPhone 5. One would ask, "what has this got to do with Windows Phone?" Well, nothing. But what's both humorous and surprising is Vega holds up a shiny new Lumia 900 instead of discussing the iPhone.

Check out the above video, at around the 7:40 mark. He jokes around the questions being fired by the reporters and states that the Lumia 900 is a fantastic device and carries one around with him as a daily smartphone. We're aware that Nokia has a deal with AT&T for employees to exclusively use the 4G Windows Phone, but it's good to see the captain of the ship actively promoting it on public television.

Source: CNBC; thanks Christian for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Fruit Ninja for Windows Phone's price slashed to 99 cents

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As if the release of Wordament for Xbox Live wasn’t reason enough for Windows Phone gamers to celebrate, we get a new price drop today as well. Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja now costs 99 cents, down from the original price of $2.99.

Fruit Ninja is the world’s most popular fruit-slicing game. It’s made all the rounds, including getting an exclusive Kinect version on Xbox 360. The Windows Phone version lags behind the iOS version (and the 360 one) in terms of content, but even in its woefully not-updated-for-Mango form, it’s a fun and approachable game. Choose one of three game modes and go to town on those dastardly, nutritional fruits! The Xbox Live Achievements are glitchy for some users, but on the whole they’re fairly reasonable and you’ll probably get them all after a while. Check out our review for more impressions.

As I said before, Halfbrick seems to have dropped the ball with updating Fruit Ninja on Windows Phone. The ball must have fallen down a well, where it's extremely difficult to retrieve. The Australian developer also announced Age of Zombies back at the Windows Phone launch, and yet the game has never materialized. Unfortunately for us, they are averse to answering emails, so we can’t provide an official word on whether they’ve dropped Windows Phone support. As we wait for Age of Zombies to materialize (or even Jetpack Joyride, for that matter!), feel free to email ol’ Halfbrickey and ask them to show Windows Phone the love it deserves.

Fruit Ninja now costs $.99, the same as the original iOS game. Get it here on the Marketplace, my fellow ninjas.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone exclusive Wordament goes Xbox Live a day early

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One week ago, the Wordament at Microsoft announced that their word-finding game would become an Xbox Live title on Wednesday, April 25. That’s a long time to wait though, and thus somebody decided to publish the Xbox Live version of the game a day early. That’s right, you can start earning Achievements in Wordament right now!

Wordament, much like Boggle, involves trying to find as many words as possible from a field of 16 letters, all within a time limit. The hook? You’re competing against hundreds of others in real-time over the internet. Rounds last for a couple of minutes. Once they end, you get to see how you compared against everyone else, and then the next round starts a few seconds later. Some rounds have hidden themed words and digrams (words that use a specific combination of two letters) to find as well. You can also add specific players to your Frenemies list and always see how you stack up against them. It’s all incredibly addictive.

Wordament has a few tough leaderboard-type Achievements, including one ('World Champ') which won’t even be attainable until two weeks from now (May 9 suppodely). But Wordament is a game that you play long-term and in all hours of the night. If you’re persistent and good with words, you’ll get them eventually. Might I also suggest that Spanish speakers try out the Spanish language option, which offers far less competition than the standard English setting? It could make that Achievement for coming in number one significantly easier to get.

Wordament is free and supported by ads. Get it here on the Marketplace posthaste! If you’ve already downloaded the indie version in the past, you can either choose to update the game (which will upgrade it to Xbox live status) or reinstall it to get the latest version.

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3 years ago

No plans for Google to create an official Voice app for Windows Phone

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Google has no immediate plans to release an official Google Voice app for Windows Phone, according to reports. CNET received an official statement from the search giant detailing a development focus on Android and iOS. The statement does note that should sufficient demand spark for a Google Voice client on Windows Phone, the team will look into kick-starting the project.

"We're focusing our Google Voice efforts on Android & iOS and don't have a plan to extend this to the Windows Phone. This may change if we start to see greater demand from Windows Phone users for Google Voice."

Previously we've witnessed what the power of Windows Phone users can achieve by demanding official support from companies, with Draw Something proving to be the best example. For now, until we receive word of an official app in development, those who wish to use the Google service can look at third-party alternatives available on the Marketplace - GoVoice is a free unofficial client, which we've covered previously. 

As CNET rightfully points out, users should always be cautious when downloading apps from the Marketplace. Luckily the developer of GoVoice got in touch and provided the following statement to address any potential concerns:

"We take your privacy seriously and we don't store your password on the device unless if you choose to do so. Even if your device is compromised you can still revoke GoVoice's access. Your password is encrypted on the device and only sent to the Google Voice servers over Secure Sockets Layer (https). We care about your security."

It's a positive sign to say the least. The Windows Phone Marketplace has a number of indie developed apps that boast the functionality missing official apps would feature, which is something many forget when choosing their next smartphone. The only app Google has produced for Windows Phone is the search app, though there are unofficial apps for a number of the search engine's services, including Google Maps.

Are you looking forward to more official support from Google, and do you believe they should start actively developing clients now? Let us know in the comments.

Source: CNET, via: Neowin; Thanks vincentw56 for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Social Mints

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Windows Phone App Review: Social Mints

Windows Phone features deep social integration, whether it be the People Hub or popular social networks, there are a number of ways to communicate with the world requiring little effort. But what if you wanted to monitor what was being shared across the social sphere? Should you be heading up a brand and are interested in what the general sentiment is on social networks, or if you simply wish to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, you'll want to check out Social Mints for Windows Phone.

Just what is Social Mints? It's a free app by Techark Solutions, the developer behind Windows Phone apps including Mood Swing, Dress Pal, Smart Goals Pro and RedMinder, that enable users to keep up with trending topics as well view insightful data on searchable interests. Data is pulled down from Facebook, Twitter, blogs / comments (Digg, etc.), and news (Google, Yahoo, etc.) sources that is then displayed in a number of broken down formats. The best way to think of Social Mints is a light social media analytics client.

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3 years ago

Nokia comments on Fitch's downgraded credit rating announcement

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Nokia has released a press statement commenting on the recent credit rating downgrade carried out by Fitch Ratings. The rating agency cut Nokia Oyj to 'junk' and announced that the outlook for the manufacturer is bleak. This negative move follows Moody's credit rating cut to the lowest investment level, as well as Nokia's recent Q1 2012 finance report detailing a heavy €590 million loss.

Timo Ihamuotila, Nokia's Executive Vice President and CFO, commented the following:

"We are quickly taking action to position Nokia for future growth and success. Nokia will continue to increase its focus on lowering the company's cost structure, improving cash flow and maintaining a strong financial position. Nokia's financial position remains strong. As of March 31 2012, Nokia had gross cash balances of EUR 9.8 billion, and a net cash position of EUR 4.9 billion. Nokia reported its first quarter 2012 results on April 19, 2012."

Windows Phone enthusiasts know first-hand that Nokia's pockets are extraordinarily deep for a company in such a financial (and market share) hole. The marketing expenditure alone has been huge, it was only last year that we reported the manufacturer tripled expenses on promoting Lumia Windows Phones.

Ihamuotila highlighted in his comment that the company is still in its 'transition' stage by getting to grips with the Windows Phone adoption. As well as focusing on the mobile platform and partnership with Microsoft, Nokia will look to continue to lower the company's cost structure, while improving cash flow and maintain a strong financial position. A few figures were thrown into the statement for good measure - gross cash balance of €9.8 billion and a net cash position of €4.9 billion

Both Nokia and Microsoft has had Windows Phone in mind as a marathon and not a sprint. The companies (as well as other OEMs supporting the platform) do not expect marketshare and sales to suddenly skyrocket, but it's positive to see Nokia able to hold its own for a while longer. Let's keep our eyes peeled for the Q2 finance report from the company which should take into account the Lumia 900 push in the states.

Source: Nokia, via: Reuters, MyNokiaBlog

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