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3 years ago

The Windows Phone Summit--What we know and what we're expecting

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A sneak peek of what's beyond the escalator for Windows Phone 8

We're here in lovely (and surprisingly chilly) San Francisco for the other big Microsoft event this week--the Windows Phone Summit

During this one-day event, Microsoft are expected to show off bits of Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo. The big question though is what are they going to talk about specifically and what do we already know? We'll give your our thoughts and expectations below. Some of this we've been revealing over the last few weeks and hopefully you were clever enough to catch it.

  • Upgrades - Will Microsoft finally answer the question regarding legacy devices getting the new OS? Yes, they will. You should know our position on the matter, we detailed it back in April when we talked about a two-pronged approach. We're still standing by that position.
  • Resolutions - We told you there were four a few weeks ago but now we're confident that one of those were dropped. In short, besides the 480x800 display resolutions you'll also see the addition of 768x1280 and 720x1280.
  • A new UI? - Will the new Windows Phone 8 look like Windows Phone 7? For the most part we're betting on yes, it will look the same. There are some changes but if you were expecting it to look like Windows 8 desktop, we'd say calm your expectations.
  • Native development - Yup, expect some news in this regard for Windows Phone 8. We've heard from game developers that this optional path for app development will be discussed
  • Skype and VOIP - Microsoft are expected to talk about how Skype (and 3rd party VOIP apps) can be more deeply integrated into the OS
  • Nokia Mapping - Microsoft and Nokia have teamed up and not just for phones but back-end services. Their relationship goes deep with mapping in Windows Phone.
  • Windows 8 kernel - What makes Windows Phone 8 such a big deal is the expected switch from Windows CE to NT (and Win 8 PRT) for its core. This will have huge ramifications for app developers and as a technology philosophy for Microsoft. 

There is a whole list of other changes we're also expecting in Windows Phone 8 from Data Sense to NFC to all the enterprise tools (BitLocker) to removal SD card support. Windows Phone 8 should rival Windows Phone "Mango" in terms of new features both for consumers and developers.  

Whether or not Microsoft talks about all of that tomorrow remains to be seen. Our hunch tells us that since there's so much to reveal, Microsoft will show only some of Windows Phone 8 during the summit. That makes sense if you're trying to control the message and trying to ensure that the finer details are all absorbed.

The view from the Marriott Marquis last night

Regardless, you can tune in the official Microsoft live-stream of the event tomorrow. But you'll also want to keep a browser Tab open on Windows Phone Central too as Rafael Rivera and myself will be on hand here all day making sense of all the news as it comes out.

That means yes, we'll have a live WPCentral Podcast sometime tomorrow afternoon, numerous technical articles from myself, Rafael and Jay Bennett, some interviews and as much media as we can upload.

It all starts at 9:30am PDT/12:30pm EST and you'll definitely want to catch all of it right here on WPCentral.

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3 years ago

South Africa gets the Nokia Lumia 900 plus 200 Batman editions

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This evening at the Turbine Hall in Newtown, South Africa, Nokia and MTN announced the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 in South Africa.

It will be available on MTN Anytime 200 for R369 per month on a 24 month contract. It also comes with a pitiful 75MB of bandwidth per month that you can use to check your email a couple times. The phone should be in stores across the country around the 28th of this month. Other contracts should be available but MTN is not releasing any details just yet.

We knew about the launch, but something that we hadn't expected was that there are 200 Limited Edition Batman phones available to the first 200 customers at a branch in each main city. So we suggest you get down to any of the following stores when it is available to snap one of those up: Morningside (Johannesburg), Gateway (Durban), Canal Walk (Cape Town) and Port Elizabeth.

Vodacom was the first service provider in South Africa to offer a Lumia device when it launched the Nokia Lumia 800. Since then they have also started offering the Lumia 710, but for some reason will not be stocking the Lumia 900. MTN is on the opposite end of the stick offering only the Lumia 900.

Source: MyBroadband

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3 years ago

Nokia's Monday Announcement: Nokia 808 coming to the U.S.

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While Microsoft took center stage yesterday with the Surface tablet, Nokia had an announcement of their own to make. We briefly mentioned this with speculation that Nokia might be a party to Microsoft's event but quickly learned that these were two separate events. Even though it doesn't deal with Windows Phones, we felt the need to come full circle with things.

Yesterday, Nokia announced that the Nokia 808 with 41 megapixel Pure View camera will be released in the U.S., unlocked, through Amazon.com. The 808 will run $699 and will be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile networks.

There is still some speculation that we'll see the Pure View camera make the jump from the 808 to a Windows Phone later this year but for the time being, Pre-orders for the Symbian phone should begin later this week. You can sign up for notification here at Nokia.com.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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3 years ago

Nokia, T-Mobile and the Dark Knight team up for the Lumia 710 Xpress-on covers promotion

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3 years ago

Carphone Warehouse gets excited about the Microsoft Surface

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Those nice folk at Carphone Warehouse here in the UK dropped us an email this morning detailing their excitement following on from yesterdays Microsoft Surface tablet announcement.

According to Carphone Warehouse, the Surface will 'trigger a new tablet race' which is quite possibly true. With prices and dates still yet to be announced I hope that Microsoft either rectify that or at least keep up the hype with TV advertising etc.

With Carphone Warehouse being the largest independent mobile phone retailer in the UK, with over 800 stores nationwide, it is sure to push the Suface heavily. In its larger stores they already seem to sell as many tablets and notebooks as they do phones so I see the 'Surface' being a great marketing tool for them.

Graham Stapleton, Chief Commercial Officer at Carphone Warehouse, says,

“Microsoft’s first foray into producing both tablet hardware and software is an exciting addition to the market, which has been relatively quiet over the last few months. Today’s news is really going to shake things up. Microsoft’s Surface is going to appeal beyond the existing tablet community and draw in new tablet users, especially with the new Windows 8 software. Microsoft Office functionality and the dual-purpose cover keyboard should go down well with professionals who may have been put off by touch screen keyboards in the past.”

Graham adds that Microsoft has set the bar high. Noting that manufacturers are going to have to work harder than ever to innovate and convince the customer that their tablet can top this. There's little argument that the Surface is an exciting product and it's nice to see retailers get an early start at promoting the tablet.

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3 years ago

Nokia giving away free Monster headphones with a Lumia purchase

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That keyword that everyone loves so much - FREE.  

Nokia are feeling generous and for the month of June are giving away Purity headphones by Monster when consumers purchase a Lumia handset. 610 and 710 buyers will get the in-ear Purity Headphones where as if you buy the Lumia 800 or 900 you will receive the HD on-ear Purity Headphones.

Considering the price of the devices and the fact that the headphones are worth up to £199 this really is a bargain and may do Lumia sales a world of good. It is just a case of heading over to www.nokiamonsteroffer.co.uk and following the simple instructions. The offer ends June 30th and you must be at least 18 years old and a U.K. resident to be eligible.

Nice idea Nokia.

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3 years ago

Is your Windows Phone a health risk?

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Is your Windows Phone a health risk?

Could your Windows Phone be a health risk? According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (London, England) the health risk is a concern.

We've seen concerns over radiation exposure but the Society is more focused on neck and back pain as well as stress related illnesses that develops from poor posture.  Try as we may, we often end up hunched over our Windows Phones which isn't really good for the lower back.

A recent survey of 2,010 office workers conducted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy which indicates that nearly two thirds of those survey continue to work on smartphones, laptops and tablets outside office hours. Society Chairwomen Dr. Helena Johnson views the results as a huge concern.

"While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck pain, as well as stress-related illness. This is especially the case if you're using hand-held devices and not thinking about your posture."

The survey concluded that workers are risking their mental and physical health by working more than two hours extra every night.

While the survey focused on time spend on our mobile devices for work purposes, it doesn't make any reference to time spent for entertainment purposes. Granted the stress of work isn't necessarily present when playing games or watching videos but the posture issues might be.

What brought the story stand out was that an HTC Radar was used to illustrate smartphone use. Which makes us wonder is it fair to group smartphones in with laptops and tablets? Is anyone using their Windows Phones for work issues for two hour stretches?  Outside testing apps and games, I typically use my Windows Phone to keep up with email, check a website, manage my appointments but only for short periods of time.  Any heavy lifting is done from a laptop or desktop.

So is this a legitimate concern or a problem that just isn't there as it relates to our Windows Phone?

Source: CSP.org Via: BBC; Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Netflix App to be available for the Surface Tablets

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We overlooked an interesting feature mentioned last night at the Microsoft Surface tablet event. The Netflix app.

Microsoft showcased the Netflix app during last night's presentation saying it supported semantic zoom and that the Netflix app would be ready when Windows 8 launches later this year.

We're guessing that with SmartGlass you could start a Netflix movie on your Xbox console, pause it and resume watching the movie on your Surface tablet or Windows Phone. With the kickstand feature on the Surface, the tablet sounds ideal for mobile movie watching.

Details are still sketchy on how our Windows Phones will interact with the Surface and hopefully we will be able to shed a little light on things after tomorrow's Windows Phone 8 event. In the meantime, you can catch a brief glimpse of the Netflix app, in the full video of Microsoft's Surface announcement around the 14:25 mark.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: myHealthbox

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Ever given much thought about the medicines you are taking and needed bit more information about them? Well you can easily access all that and more with myHeathbox for Windows Phone.

The application is an extension of the myHealthbox.eu and will allow for not only quick and easy access to medicine information, but in addition several extra cool features.

The application contains the following features:

  • Instant medication search by name and country.
  • eLeaflets
  • Alerts on drug recalls
  • News on new products
  • Instant access to local pharmacies using Bing Maps with the option to telephone the pharmacy from within the application

When opening the application for the first time you will be required to create an account. This is painless as only basic information is required such as an email address and a password. Once completed you will be emailed a link to verify your account. You will then have access to both the application and the myHeathbox service on the web.

As usual with Windows Phones apps the user interface is simplistic and user friendly. The various tabs at the top of the screen are all self-explanatory as are the search and maps icons at the base of the screen. The beauty of using this app is its syncing abilities. So if you are out and need to research some medication not only will the information be retained within the phone app but also on the web when you login to your account. Handy stuff.

Whether you are in the medical/pharmaceutical profession or just use medication on a regular basis I would highly recommend giving myHealthbox a try.  myHealthbox is a free app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Please keep in mind the the medical database covers over 800.000 healthcare products and information leaflets, support for 16 European countries and 16 languages. myHealthbox is a strong source for information on medicines and healthcare products in Europe. While available on the U.S. Windows Phone Marketplace, the app does not support U.S. healthcare products or resources.

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3 years ago

Full video of Microsoft's Surface announcement now available for your viewing

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Although no live recording was allowed during the Microsoft-Ballmer reveal of the now famous Surface tablets, the Redmond company has gone ahead and put it online for your viewing pleasure.

The full video chimes in just under 48 minutes, so grab yourself your favorite beverage of choice and relax as you're shown what looks to be "the next big thing" in mobile computing.

We'll save our thoughts for later tomorrow but for now let's just say we're feeling pretty good about where Microsoft is heading.

Make sure to check out our other coverage on the Surface below:

Source: Microsoft

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3 years ago

Fling coming to Xbox Live on Windows Phone this Wednesday on the cheap

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Actual Windows Phone screenshots free of marketting text!

It’s getting down to the wire, but we do at last have details of this week’s Xbox Live release. This Wednesday, prolific Swiss developer Miniclip’s latest game Fling makes its debut. Fling’s Achievements were first discovered back in early May, along with Battleship and Mirror’s Edge. This will make two down and one to go, won’t it?

Fling is a puzzle game that plays much differently from Miniclip’s previous Xbox live releases. In each level, players must flick furballs into each other with the goal of leaving only one monster on the board. Furballs can only travel horizontally or vertically and they only stop when they hit another furball, so you’ll need to experiment and/or think a few moves in advance to win.

Fling packs metric tonnes of puzzles spread across four game modes. Free-play lets you play at a relaxed pace without time constraints; Arcade challenges players to solve as many puzzles as possible before time runs out; Challenge breaks groups of levels up into timed sets; and Frenzy is a never-ending survival mode. Arcade and Frenzy each have several specific Achievements, while the other modes do not.

With many mobile Xbox Live gamers suffering from puzzle game fatigue, Miniclip’s newest needs something special to catch gamers’ eyes. Good news! Fling launches Wednesday, June 20 at a price of only 99 cents. If you can’t wait a day to play it, head over to Miniclip.com right now to check out the Flash version.

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3 years ago

What we know about the camera on the Microsoft Surface tablets

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While we aren't sure what the specs will be on the Surface tablets camera, Microsoft refers to the camera as a LifeCam, the branding for their webcams. This likely means the Surface will be loaded with the typical LifeCam software as well.

But here's an interesting aspect of the camera. It is positioned at a 22 degree angle and when you flip out the kick stand, you basically create a tripod for hands free recording.  This will be a nice feature for recording meetings, your child's birthday party, opening presents at Christmas and all the other situations where you need to have your camera stationary.

The Surface is also fitted with dual microphones for decent audio for your videos or audio quality for Skype calls. Based on the images we've seen on the Surface, it appears there is a front facing camera to help with those Skype calls as well.

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft goes beyond the typical laptop styled camera on the Surface.  Would it be too much to hope that Microsoft borrows HTC's 16mp BSI sensor from the HTC Titan II?

Source:  Microsoft

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3 years ago

Surface website for all that is the Surface

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The Surface website has... well... surfaced.

It launched shortly after Steve Ballmer introduced the new tablets to the world and is slowly becoming populated with details on the Surface.

You've got a gallery, video and downloadable spec sheet currently on the site. Hopefully, we'll see pricing and availability popping up on the Surface website.  As well as more details of what's in store with the Surface.

Just point your favorite browser to Surface.com for all the details.

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3 years ago

Poll: Which Microsoft Surface tablet are you going to get?

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One of the biggest decisions some of us are going to have to make is which Surface device to get--the zippy and light RT version or the big Win8 Pro one?

Of course price, of which we have no idea, will certainly come into play as will your needs. We're a bit torn ourselves between the two but are leaning towards the RT for a "play" device while we keep our Lenovo laptop for our hardcore writing and reporting duties.

To help make it easier (or perhaps harder), Microsoft has gone ahead and done a side-by-side of the two devices and their respective specifications in the above image. We'll also repost them below:

  • Surface for Windows RT weighs in at 676 grams, and measures 9.3mm thick. The Surface Windows RT will be powered by a ARM processor and will sport a 10.6 ClearType HD Display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. The Windows RT Surface will have a microSD card slot, USB 2.0 connection, Micro HD Video support and 2x2 MIMO antennae. It will be configured with 32gb or 64 gb models.
  • The Surface for Windows 8 Pro will weigh in at 903 grams and measure 13.5mm thick. The Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be powered by a third generation Intel Core processor and will also have a 10.6" ClearType Full HD Display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. Windows Pro 8 will be fitted with a microSDXC slot, USB 3.0 connection, Mini DisplayPort Video and the 2x2 MIMO antennae. The Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be configured in either 64gb or 128gb models.

That leads us to the main question: which tablet are you looking to get? Take the poll and let us know why in comments!

 

Which Surface tablet are you going to get?
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3 years ago

What does the new Microsoft Surface tablet cost?

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And that's the real question, isn't it? When it comes time to put up or shut up -- and Microsoft's not yet saying when or where you'll be able to buy one of the new Surface tablet laptop thingies -- just how much are you going to have to shell out? Here's the official line.

Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Not exactly long on details, is it. But even if it's competitive with a comparable ARM tablet (of which there are a scant few, by the way) or an Intel Ultrabook, you're still going to be handing over several hundred dollars. What's more is that nobody's saying whether the Surface Touch Cover -- that's the official name for the keyboard cover -- will be optional, or if it'll come with the tablet. 

That's long been a complaint about tablets like the ASUS Transformer Prime. By the time you buy the tablet and optional keyboard, you're well within laptop costs. But we'll all keep our fingers crossed.

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