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3 years ago

Pre-order Nokia Lumia 900 for $25 at Microsoft Stores

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Should you be eager to get your hands on the Lumia 900, Nokia's top Windows Phone, then you might want to check out your local Microsoft Store where you can pre-order your own 900 for just $25 down.  Still no word on what the full price will be for the Lumia 900 and the pre-order offer isn't available online.  The 4G handset is set to arrive on March 18th for $99 at AT&T, which other sources have since confirmed.

The 4.3" AMOLED screen, 1.4Ghz processor, 16GB storage, 8MP rear camera (with front-facing camera) specifications are bound to peak interest enough to be reserved for a small upfront fee. 

Source: The Verge

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3 years ago

Nordea Mobile Bank app lands in the Windows Phone Marketplace

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The Scandinavian Bank Nordea has released their banking app, Mobile Bank, over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It offers customers an easy way to take care of tier everyday banking needs such as check account balances, transfer funds and pay bills.

Additional key features include:

  • Currency converter
  • Mortgage calculator
  • Rate exchange information
  • Stock Quotes
  • News from Nordea's newsroom

The Nordea Mobile Bank is a free application and you can find it here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

source: Nordea; Thanks, parcp67, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Lumia 800 Windows Phone stock selling out in Finland

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According to a report at e's Phoneblog and Kauppalehti the Lumia 800, which launched in Finland yesterday, has been selling at a fairly fast rate. Jonne works at Gigantti (an electronics retailer) and states that while he doesn't know the exact Lumia 800 sale figures at the store, he has sold more handsets than he did N8s within two days of the Symbian handset being launched. 

Elisa's Executive Vice President, Henri Korpi, told Kauuppalehti today that they have sold out of Nokia's mid-range Windows Phone in some of their stores. Still no numbers provided, but we are expecting to see some positive feedback should figures become available. What makes this story extra special is that Lumia 800 buyers in the land of Nokia are braving snow storms (-27°C) to reach retailers. Now that is dedication.

Source: Kauppalehti.fi (translation), via: e's Phoneblog

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3 years ago

Update: Luma Arcade, creators of "The Harvest", restructuring, still alive and well

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Update:

Sam Williams, GM or Luma Arcade, has posted the following comment clarifying the situation:

I'm General Manager and co-owner of Luma Arcade.

We have indeed begun the process of winding down operations for our current office in Johannesburg. However, our team and production capacity are alive and well. Closing our Johannesburg office is not a decision taken lightly of course, but as more and more of our best production capacity has come from our team in the US and outside South Africa, we've restructured to accommodate working with South African staff directly from our US parent company (which is not a part of Luma Studios) rather than through our South African subsidiary (which also, was not a part of Luma Studios).

We're hopeful that this restructuring will provide a healthier, more productive working relationship for the talented team that remains based in Johannesburg, and put us the best position possible to grow our fantastic talent pool further and keep making great games like The Harvest, and our forthcoming iOS / Android title, Bladeslinger. Stay tuned, Luma's not going anywhere.

If you have any follow up questions, feel free to email me directly (sam.williams AT lumaarcade.com). And in the future, we have a general email for inquiries about the company (info AT lumaarcade.com). Should be helpful for looking into rumors before posting a story in the future.

Thanks,

Sam Williams
GM, Luma Arcade

 

Long time followers of Windows Phone will no doubt be familiar with The Harvest. It was one of the first XBOX Live games for WP7 and is rather stunning.  The company behind it is Luma Arcade, who are the largest game design studio in South Africa. They are based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and are a part of Luma Studios.

Unfortunately we have received a tip that recently Luma Arcade has made the decision to close up shop close the South African office. The decision was a financial one, and it looks like it came down to them not being able to make enough money to continue operations. This is only Luma Arcade South Africa though (and possibly just the dev team), not Luma Studios or Luma Arcade USA which are both alive and kicking.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea here, their situation is not caused by WP7. They have only developed one game for the platform, and that game was sold to Microsoft. The majority of their work is on other platforms such web, iPhone and Android gaming development. Details are still sketchy, and until we hear official word, there is not much more to go on.

The Harvest was a great game, and it's a pity that they did not get a chance to develop more for Windows Phone.  We contacted Andre Odendaal, who is a part of Luma Arcade, but he could provide no comment regarding this.  We've reached out to Lumia Studios but haven't heard back from them.  If we hear anything, we'll pass it on but for now, we'll keep this filed under rumors.

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3 years ago

Nokia explains its ClearBlack screen technology

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Nokia has been known to do some very innovative things with their phones especially in creating new technology (see their flexible display).  So it's with great interest to see them explain their "ClearBlack" screen system to the masses--or at least attempt to.

For those who don't know, Nokia uses ClearBlack screens on a few of their phones, including the Lumia 710, 800 and 900 series. In simplest terms, it's a circular polarizer that sits between the GorillaGlass and LCD/AMOLED screen, resulting in glare-elimination, higher contrast and better readability due to the elimination of reflected light. It is similar to wearing polarizing sunglasses and that effect but is much more complicated.

In the post on Nokia Conversations, they explain the multiple layers in ClearBlack and what they do:

There’s both a linear polariser and retardation layers between the surface of your phone and the display. When light hits your screen, this is what happens:

  1. It hits the linear polariser, this vertically polarises the light. (Polarising means – roughly – aligning the wave vibration in a particular direction).
  2. Then it hits the circular polariser retardation layer. This converts the light again, making it right-circularly polarised
  3. Then it hits the screen and bounces off it, switching the rotation of the light to leftist.
  4. It goes back through the retardation layer. When this happens, the light becomes horizontally polarised.
  5. Finally, it hits the linear polariser, since the light is horizontally polarised at this point it can be blocked entirely by this optical solution.

We almost wrapped our head around that explanation. It's certainly complex and from our usage, we really like the result--seriously, go check out the Lumia 710 at your local T-Mo store to get an idea.  Anyways, it's great to see such unique and proprietary technology coming to Windows Phones.

Source: Nokia Conversations; Thanks, Residing, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 8 details revealed in Nokia-partner video

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According to Pocketnow, they've seen a video hosted by senior vice president and Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore (see our interview) meant for Nokia and their partners. In the video, new details of Windows Phone 8 (aka 'Apollo') are revealed, of which there are many.

  • Four new screen resolutions (though exact dimensions not revealed)
  • Multicore processors
  • NFC support for a new "Wallet experience" e.g. wireless payments and tap-to-share
  • Removable microSD storage
  • Based on Windows 8 kernel, not WinCE: Reuse of Windows 8 Desktop code for Windows Phone apps i.e. kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support
  • Zune Desktop is going away in exchange for a more native, sync relationship application i.e. the return of ActiveSync
  • Richer Skydrive support for things like sharing music between devices (Xbox, desktop, phone)
  • "The New Familiar" may be a tagline for Windows 8/Windows Phone 8
  • More than 100,000 apps to be expected at Windows Phone 8 launch
  • Local Scout WiFi "hotspot" integration to aggressively find free data connections; personal recommendations included
  • Data usage glance-and-go support via Live Tile
  • Server side data compression for Internet Explore 10 to reduce data traffic and speed up browsing
  • 128-bit native BitLocker data encryption for Enterprise

That certainly is a lot and we're sure just the tip of the iceberg in regards to Windows Phone 8. Clearly Microsoft is gearing up to talk about WP8 in the next few months, so we should start to expect a steady flow of information coming forward soon. What do you folks think? Pleased with the direction Microsoft is heading?

Update: Paul Thurrott is now confirming all the information from the video.

Source: PocketNow

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3 years ago

Instagram not granting posting rights to unofficial Windows Phone apps

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There has been a recent upsurge in interest for an official Instagram client for Windows Phone recently. The desire for the popular photo-manipulation and sharing app has been driven, in part, by numerous developers working on unofficial apps for the service. We first reported one in development by Bil Simser called 'Metogram' (later renamed to 'Photogram') and since then, two other apps have hit the Marketplace, Metogram and Instacam. The problem, however, is two fold:

  1. Instagram does not allow 3rd party access to photo uploading APIs
  2. Instgram does not allow one to register via the website, only by the official iOS app

Simser has been in contact with the head honchos of Instagram in an effort to get special permission for photo uploading. At the time, Instagram cited a somewhat dubious reason for denying such an API, namely an effort to reduce spam and low-quality images. However, Simser was determined to see if an exception could be made in this case seeing as Windows Phone users do not have any options.

That request has now been denied by Instagram. In an email to his beta testers (we're amongst them), Simser notes that since Instagram is not allowing uploads:

"I made a plea to Instagram and got a response in the form of a few email exchanges with Kevin Systrom the CEO. Unfortunately they are still taking the high road and not offering upload capabilities or white-listing any application at this point. I have my own thoughts around why this is but the short of it is that they are not white-listing at this point but Kevin did tell me to “keep in touch”."

More importantly, Simser notes that there is no way for new users to even join the network for voting or commenting on photos. These are deal-breakers for him as it would severely limit Instagram functionality in his client. Due to those reasons, Simser has decided to pull the plug on Photogram.  However, he will continue to make apps that are currently missing on the Windows Phone platform:

"I’m all about “filling the gap” on Windows Phone and want to create apps that will either be better than the “official” ones or give users the experience that a non-existent official app would. I will continue to do that (as I’m working on something right now but won’t say for whom) and you can follow that on Twitter via @bsimser or @simstools. We’ll also announce new apps on http://www.simstools.com as we complete them. Shameless plug, please check out my other apps and feel free to continue to support myself and all the independent developers out there. I, as always, am available to help out so if you have an idea for an app or are looking for some help with your own app please don’t hesitate to contact me."

So bad news for Windows Phone users but perhaps Instagram will surprise us with an official app sooner than later.

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3 years ago

AdDuplex presentation slides from WPUG London meet up

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At the recent Windows Phone User Group meet up in London we witnessed a couple of Windows Phone developers showcasing their apps to the audience. As well as this, we had Alan Mendelevich of AdDuplex who came to the event with a developer orientated presentation. The main argument was developers should ensure that effort is poured into not only building the app, but also promoting it around the web (as well as offline).

The 48 slides are packed full of humorous illustrations and useful points for developers of the platform to take note of. While there's no speech to accompany the written detail, it's easy to understand the message surrounding Windows Phone app marketing and monetization.

Head on over to SlideShow to view (and download) the presentation.

Source: SlideShare

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Bug Village update squashes broken Achievements

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Everyone expects a game like Bug Village to have lots of bugs in it – ants, bees, and whatnot. But when the Windows Phone version launched a few weeks ago, it was infested by a few software bugs, and nobody likes those. Thankfully Babaroga and Glu Mobile worked quickly to kill off the worst offenders.

Bug Village version 1.1 release notes:

  • When resuming the game via Fast App Switching, task timers now advance correctly
  • The ‘Air Freshener’ Achievement (Kill 100 stinkbugs) is now attainable
  • The ‘Ding!’ Achievement (Reach level 25) now unlocks at the correct time

Previously, players really couldn’t use the Fast App Switching feature since it paused the game’s timer. With the game’s tasks all revolving around passing of the clock, the last thing you wanted was for the timer to stop and halt your progress. Fast App Switching now works fine (though it did crash on me once), a chime signifying that the timer has advanced when resuming. As for the Achievements, several players have already unlocked the full 200 GamerScore since the patch went live - definitely a nice improvement.

The developers still plan on future updates that will add new content and further refinements... Hopefully that means those stinkbugs and ladybugs will get easier to tap! To learn more about Bug Village, check out WPCentral’s developer interview and premium content analysis.

Bug Village is a free game with optional paid DLC. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Official Babylon translator app released for Windows Phone

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Babylon is a popular online translation service that is making its way over to the mobile world. Back in December, we mentioned that the company had taken advantage of Microsoft's Mobile Acceleration Week 2011 in Israel to build the popular language translator for Windows Phone. From the description at the time:

"As the leading name in text translation, it was only natural that Babylon would transition over to mobile devices. And so they did. Already available on iOS and Android, Babylon for Windows Phone allows you to translate any word, in any language, to the language of your choice, in real time. Of course, there is a lot more to the app including a currency converter, since presumably you will be using the app when traveling. The UI is super simplistic and hence very intuitive and does exactly what it is meant to do, how it is meant to do it."

That app is now live and while the service is very powerful it's not the best translator we've used, partially because it doesn't have direct sharing options (though you can copy paste) nor the ability to pronounce anything i.e. text-to-speech. That latter part irks us a bit as apps built off of Bing's Translator service can do this quite readily. Still, for direct translations of whole paragraphs, it's not too shabby and it is free meaning it is worth the download if you need such a service.

Pick up Babylon Translator here in the Marketplace. Check out Babylon's online translation here: http://translation.babylon.com/ Thanks, Hassan H., for the heads up

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Pictomaphone

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There are several, several photo editing apps available for your Windows Phone. Some cover the basics while others provide you with everything but the kitchen sink to edit your photos with. Pictomaphone falls somewhere in between the two extremes.

Pictomaphone has about twenty adjustments, filters and editing tools to fine tune your photos. You can edit photos captured by your Windows Phone camera or already on file in your Pictures Hub. Interface is fairly simple and Pictomaphone can help bring your photo quality up a notch.

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia Belgium launch includes cupcake handout

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The Lumia 800 launched in Belgium yesterday and to celebrate it Nokia took "The Amazing Everyday" to a number of railway stations, where commuters (and travelers alike) could receive a free cupcake.

Not only this, but the organisers have planned an "Amazing Moments" contest (much like what we saw in France not so long ago), which will see entrants choosing from five amazing moments offered (or create your own) and explaining the reasons why they made that choice. A panel of judges will then select winners. We're looking forward to see some more unique marketing from the manufacturer.

The Lumia 710 is aiming for a March 1st launch in Belgium, according to the Nokia Momentum Map. A handful of photos of the cupcake distribution can been viewed in an album on the Nokia Belgique Facebook page, while a video of the handout in action can be checked out after the break (sporting a familiar music track).

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3 years ago

February is fitness month at Mobile Nations!

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New Years is over, January has come and gone, and for many of us, our get fit and get healthy resolutions have come and gone with it. Rather than leaving them lying in ruin with what's left of our waist lines and good intentions, however, we want to do something about it. And we want you to do something about it with us!

Enter fitness month!

Whether CrackBerry challenged Android Central, WPCentral threw down the gauntlet on webOS Nation, or iMore called them all out, who remembers? The important thing is this -- we're using February to get off our collective apps and get into shape.

Want to eat better? We're with you! Want to get stronger? We're spotting! Want to get into better cardio shape? We're so there!

Each week we're each going to set reasonable, attainable goals, and each week we're going to take advantage of our awesome community to make sure we attain them. We're going to have special editions of our Mobile Nations ZEN and TECH and Superfunctional podcasts to help us get going and stay going.  We've also set up a Forum's discussion to keep us focused, keep us accountable, and keep us keeping on!

Oh, and you could win an Xbox 360 and Kinect!

You, the WPCentral Nation, are our motivation. And to keep you motivated, we have some great prizes lined up. Anyone and everyone who participates, who shares their goals and keeps us up-to-date with their regular progress will be automatically entered to into our:

  • Weekly drawings for a WPCentral Accessory Store Gift Certificate. We're giving away 4 total, one each week!
  • Grand prize drawing for an Xbox 360 and Kinect!

We'll also see if we can come up with some extra giveaways along the way to keep everyone on their toes.

Sound good? Sound great? Sound like you just can't wait to get fit? Good! Jump into our Forums discussion now and pick your goal for week 1.

Mobile Nations fitness month has begun!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone "Droidrage" winners announced

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The other day @BenThePCGuy (a.k.a. Ben Rudolph) sought out to ease the pain smartphone users suffering from "DroidRage" after what appeared to be a massive adware outbreak on the Android Marketplace. He asked those afflicted to share their stories via Twitter. Ben would then pick the best (or worst) stories to receive a free Windows Phone.

The contest netted nearly a thousand responses. The lucky twenty will soon be receiving a free Windows Phone to help ease their frustrations. Here is a sampling of the winning submissions.

  • "I REALLY wish my Galaxy Nexus would stop rebooting while I'm on the phone."
  • "Android crashes even when i (try) unlock the screen..i bought it only because other phones was too expensive for me!"
  • "Battery issues, freezing, worried about malware, viruses... my DroidX gives me more trouble than my 2 teenage kids!"
  • "4 phones in 3 months. 3 hard resets in 6 months. I am dying alive from DROIDRAGE & cannot wait for my new windowsphone!"

You can see all the twenty winners of new Windows Phones by hitting the source link below.  This is the second of such promotions (Ben did the same thing back in December) and there's not telling when the third such promotion will take place.  

source: windowsteamblog

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3 years ago

Cocktail Flow adds Big Game package to the mixology

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Cocktail Flow is a popular cocktail/mixed drink application for your Windows Phone. The app is well presented and one of Cocktail Flow's main features is the drink packages. These are collections of drinks for special occasions, holidays, and classes of drinks (e.g. shooters, non-alcoholic drinks).

In preparation for this weekends Super Bowl, the developer has added the "Big Game" package to the mix. The package contains thirty football themed drink recipes that can be served not only during the Super Bowl but any football event. Drinks include the Quick Kick, Brady Bomb, Go for it on 4th Down, and Manning Martini.

Cocktail Flow has a free trial version and the full version will run you $2.99. You can grab Cocktail Flow here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, Gergely, for the tip!

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