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3 years ago

Nokia releases beta of Transport app version 2.0

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Nokia has unleashed version 2.0 beta of their Transport app for Lumia Windows Phones. We previously looked at leaked improvements detailed over at a Russian Windows Phone forum earlier in the month. The app provides public transport information and guidance when attempting to reach a destination in a supported location (see our early hands-on).

What's new in version 2-point-oh?

  • Find nearby stations, departure times and even types of transit lines available around your location.
  • Improved search:
    • Remember your last search query
    • Change your search without leaving the journey view
  • Improved performance:
    • Faster display of upcoming journeys
    • Faster journey request

You can check out the beta over at Nokia Beta Labs, or download the current version from the Marketplace (Lumia handsets only). Be sure to double check which locations are supported.

Source: Nokia Beta Labs; thanks Simon for the tip!

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3 years ago

From the WPUG WPBarCamp event in London

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From the WPUG WPBarCamp event in London

The WPUG Windows Phone Bar Camp was an effort to attract more attendees from an earlier start, which had everyone (including myself and Jay) head to The Vibe Bar for a 10am start. Featuring a number of presentations not only from developers, but Telerik (the masters behind the RadControls for Windows Phone) as well.

Speaking of Telerik, be sure to check out their white paper on promoting your newly submitted apps. Apps that were presented included Screach, ZuneCardr, and an upcoming child-friendly app that makes use of approved YouTube playlists, applets and more to provide secure entertainment for the kids.

It was great to see some new developer faces on the night, as well as our friends Rafe Blandford from All About Windows Phone, and Boryana Miloshevska and co from Windows Phone Geek. We hope more UK based developers can make future events. Follow organiser Matt Lacey (@mrlacey) and WPUG (@WPUG) on Twitter for more announcements and details. Check out our presentation and some more shots after the break.

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3 years ago

Skydiving enthusiast takes the Nokia Lumia 800 up Mt. Everest

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Skydiving and Windows Phone enthusiast Minesh Mandalia has taken his Lumia 800 with him up Mount Everest. Why not? We've previously seen UK scientists launch the handset up into almost-space attached to a balloon, so it makes sense that such a sturdy companion is also taken up the side of a fairly tall mountain. Mandalia is currently studying BSc Computer Science & Management Studies at the University of Nottingham, and wanted a challenge.

"I’m at university and needed a break, so I thought out of all places why not try the Everest Base Camp, I wanted a challenge."

Unsure as to what he'll need to take on his journey to Everest Base Camp, Mandalia decided to take his trusty Lumia 800 in favour of a laptop among other devices.

"I was first considering taking a laptop to browse the internet, update my Twitter and Facebook, and back up my photos and videos but then realised I could take my phone and have all those features put into one small device. It was the perfect size to keep in my pocket so that I can quickly take it out and snap a photo or check the altitude. The best bit was I didn’t even have to take my gloves off when using the camera – I got some great photos."

"My phone handled the trip really well, despite being exposed to freezing temperatures (up to – 20c!). It even worked perfectly when my fingers couldn’t. It even managed to survive everything from getting bashed with trekking poles and hitting walls as you make way for the Yaks and Sherpas. Even in the bright sunlight reflecting off all the snow topped mountains and glaciers, I could still read my texts and messages on the screen."

If anyone has doubts about the construction and strength of the Lumia 800, the above quote is certainly set to put those concerns to rest. It's a superb achievement for Mandalia, as well as Nokia and Microsoft. What apps did Mandalia use on his journey? GPS Satellite, Flashlight 7, Evernote, SkyDrive and Baconit.

Source: Windows Phone UK

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3 years ago

Lumia 900 on offer at Amazon Wireless from just $10

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Amazon Wireless has some pretty enticing deals, much like Amazon itself, but the online retailer is now offering the black AT&T Lumia 900 4G Windows Phone for just $9.99 when upgrading, or $39.99 when adding a new line. The Nokia smartphone, which boasts a 5-star rating on Amazon Wireless from 342 customers, is the culprit behind the delays that have occurred in Europe due to high demand in the states.

Powered by a 1.4 single-core chip, and featuring 16GB storage, an 8MP rear-shooter (with FF), 4.3" AMOLED display with ClearBlack technology, and 512MB RAM, the Lumia 900 is definitely no slouch. Will you be picking yours up?

Source: Amazon Wireless; thanks parthp90 for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: ChalkMaster

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ChalkMaster is a simple, yet entertaining game for your Windows Phone. Graphics are unique, game play interesting and overall ChalkMaster is nice game to pass the time with.  The chalkboard graphics are nice, game play challenging enough to prevent the game from getting boring, and with almost a hundred level there's plenty of gaming with ChalkMaster.

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3 years ago

Birdsong for Windows Phone version 1.7 submitted and on the way

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What? "Birdsong is still alive" you say? It seems the team at Red Badger have been busy pumping life into the old girl, who has been dormant since she was updated to Mango. We last spoke of Birdsong, the then-popular Windows Phone Twitter client, when the team announced that intern Joe Stanton would be tasked with bringing the app back up to speed with the competition. So what's new in upcoming 1.7?

The team has introduced a new trends feature, which is now accessible from the main app bar and provides convenient access to Twitter trending data for users. The feature calculates your location and displays nearest trending topics with the option to view what's trending in a specific city, nationwide, or on a global scale. 

Search functionality has been revamped and is now more intuitive with the main search view retrieving saved searches automatically. Upon executing a search via Birdsong, the app now searches both tweets and accounts simultaneously. The app makes use of the Twitter API for searching, so any saved searches created / manipulated on the app will be reflected on the website and other apps that make use of the same functionality.

As well as a search revamp and trending topics, Birdsong now supports both photos tweeted using Twitter's in-house hosting service and gzip. Previously, any image hosted with Twitter would show it as a link which could not be selected, but now all photos are loaded correctly depending on user settings. For gzip support, this solves the login issue many experience when attempting to connect their Twitter account to the app on first launch.

There are two bug fixes in 1.7, the first being the above implemented gzip support. Twitter altered their authentication API to always return a gzip response, which resulted in Birdsong not being able to process authenticated responses. The second bug fix is for errors with user profiles where the app was making unauthenticated requests, causing the user to hit brick walls with limits being applied by the social network. 

Unfortunately, we couldn't see any mention of the live tile / push service functionality in the change log. Many have been reporting issues with manipulating the settings for said features in Birdsong, where the app would throw a failure message when one attempted to simply enable the service. We hope these known issues will be fixed in a future update, which wont take as long to publish.

Source: Red Badger; Thanks, Kyle, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Odd Nokia Lumia 900 ad shows new Live Tile behavior

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We're not to sure what to make of this ad for the Nokia Lumia 900 showing up on some sites but it caught one of our reader's attention and indeed, it is intriguing.

The ad is simple enough. It shows the 'beautifully different' Lumia 900 in glossy-white with a 4G icon (this is for the international version, not AT&T) spinning around, displaying various features.

But what is different relates to the Live Tiles:

  1. Contacts - The tiles flip and it says "Meet up with Sarah"
  2. Photo Hub - Flips and splits into two tiles, one with the latest photo, the other with a count

Anyone who has used Windows Phone, any version, knows very well that the Live Tiles do neither of those things. Yet there they are flipping around like they belong there are a new ad.

Now we could easily chalk this up as some marketing error, a glitch made by someone getting Photoshop happy and not accurately representing Windows Phone 7.5--and to be honest, there's a good case for that theory. Or perhaps we're looking at something else, maybe something along the lines of Windows Phone 8 behavior. After all, those are small enough changes that also make tremendous amount of sense for "new features" in an updated OS.

No real way to know of course but if this isn't a Windows Phone 8 leak then Microsoft, you should probably make those changes because they're quite nice. And if a mistake, Nokia you should probably fix it.

Source of ad: PC Advisor; Thanks, Victor V., for the tip

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3 years ago

Missed out on those free Windows Phone props for your Xbox Avatar? Here's why.

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On Sunday we posted a method by which you can get a free Avatar prop featuring Windows Phone--either a Longboard, foam finger or tee-shirt. All you had to do was sign up for the Windows Phone Insider newsletter and you were sent a redeem code.

Then late Sunday/early Monday we started to get word that the offer had suddenly ended, even before most of you were able to try and get one. Now, Microsoft's KC Lemson has posted why on the Windows Phone Blog.

In short, some jerk managed to sweep up all the remaining redeem codes, locking out future users. What's worse, they're selling them on eBay for $10 a pop.

The good news is Microsoft will do right and extend free I <3 Windows Phone shirt avatar props to those users who received a rejection email, meaning not only will you get something, you'll get a more rare item.

No word though if they'll open this up for others who missed the original offer. From the sound of it, it was a successful program. Let's hope they do it again.

Source: Windows Phone Blog; Thanks, FalconX, for the eBay link

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3 years ago

SAPER turns Windows Phone into a real life mine-sweeper. Literally.

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Although we like playing video games with bombs on our Windows Phone, we have to remember in the real world, bombs and mines are a real problem for war-torn territories.

Evidently a few students at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw have decided to do something about it so they created SAPER. What is SAPER? The name means “minesweeper” in Polish and is also an acronym for “Sensor Amplified Perception For Explosives Recognition.” Yes, that's right,  it uses the magnetometer in Windows Phone to detect bombs, specifically  the magnetic field around an forty different types of explosive material from 30 cm (11.8 inches) away.

In short, you launch the app and let it calibrate in the area you intend to scan. Then waving the phone around it compares the recorded magnetic disturbance signature with other signatures in the database via a cloud-based connection, giving a probable threat cause and even a potential ID of the type of explosive. It even uses Bing Maps to then mark the area for future extraction.

Currently the app is exclusive to Windows Phone and is an Imagine Cup entry though the developers do have plans to extend it to other platforms and potentially extend it to other areas (detecting wires in a wall, body scans, etc.). And no, it's not intended to replace proper mine-sweeping technology but rather to supplant it where it can't be made readily available until a later time.

Certainly this is very impressive stuff and demonstrates just how powerful smartphones can be made--it's a tell tale sign of where things are going in the future. And for once an app on a smartphone will do good for the world instead of just waste time by shooting birds at pigs.

Source: WAT; via Microsoft, Gizmag; Thanks, Bernard M., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Smartboard Calculator

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3 years ago

Microsoft releases eight new 'official' wallpapers for Windows Phone (Nature)

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Since Windows Phone users can't spend a lot of time customizing their OS (instead we live our lives), there's much focus on the lock-screen. We know we change ours every few days (we use Ffffound for inspiration).

Today, Microsoft has announced a partnership with London based graphic designer Levi Freeman and as a result, they've released eight "officially sanctioned" wallpapers to spiffy up your Windows Phone.

The eight images are nature focused so they may not appeal to everyone (we're more into abstract art here). Still, the designs are nice and they're meant to look perfect on your phone. What's more, the images all have a corresponding QR code for easy download (see, not even Microsoft uses Tag). Plus Microsoft notes that they hope more of these collaborations will happen with Levi, meaning we can probably expect different themes in the future--we like that idea. Levi also plans to release desktop versions too.

There's some interesting tidbits about the inspiration for each image and details about Freeman at his site, so hop on over to grab those images and learn a little bit about their origins.

Source: Windows Phone Blog, Levi Freeman's blog

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3 years ago

T-Mobile CEO "quite pleased" with Windows Phone sales

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File this under "vague but encouraging". T-Mobile's CEO Philipp Humm gave an interview with the Seattle Times where he talked about the transitions that company is going through including their future plans.

Humm was asked about Microsoft and Windows Phone in particular and while no firm numbers or details were given, the message was at least positive:

Q: T-Mobile made a commitment to push Windows Phone this year. How is that working out?

A: I think we have a very good relationship with Microsoft, and we discovered that, in particular, for customers who are new to smartphones, they really enjoy the simplicity of the Microsoft [user interface], so they like the design and the ease of it.

Q: Are Windows phones selling as well as you hoped?

A: We are so far quite pleased and I think Microsoft, if you talk to them, [is] quite pleased with T-Mobile.

Indeed, T-Mobile has been the 2nd most important carrier in the US for Windows Phone. They launched with the popular HD7, had the Dell Venue Pro and recently exclusively acquired the HTC Radar (review) and Nokia Lumia 710 (review). While those latter two phones won't woo those who want a high-end, large screen device, both phones have exceptionally high user satisfaction ratings (and they're amongst our favorite devices here at Windows Phone Central).

The comments above, while vague, do echo what Nokia CEO Stephen Elop noted back in Mobile World Congress. There in regards to the T-Mobile Lumia 710, Elop noted that sales were "exceeding expectations" which we'll take as a positive sign as well. (Currently, the Lumia 710 is #4 under best-selling smartphones on T-Mobile, while the Radar is #19.  Amazon Wireless has the Luma 710 at #6 and Radar at #7, respectively.)

Still, Windows Phone has a long away ahead and it's not clear that non-flagship devices like the Lumia 710 and HTC Radar can turn T-Mobile into the "must have" carrier for Windows Phone. Here's to hoping that T-Mobile still has a few Windows Phone tricks up their sleeve.

Source: Seattle Times

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3 years ago

Lumia 900 survey participants receiving Amazon gift cards

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Those who participated in the Lumia 900 feedback study that saw Nokia publish a survey and offer $50 Amazon gift cards as an incentive have reported that they've begun receiving said rewards. Should you have completed the required number of surveys and are eligible for the gift card reward, you will be contacted soon enough. 

Our George Ponder has confirmed this acknowledgement and has also been alerted to his $50 gift card redemption code.

Let us know in the comments when you receive yours. What will you be using the card for? You can also join in the discussion on our Windows Phone forum.

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3 years ago

ZTE Tania launching in China within days, gets a CPU upgrade

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ZTE is slowly growing to be an important partner with Microsoft and Windows Phone as they're one of the largest OEMs in the world (that you never heard of). Their "Tania" has been around for some time now but it surprisingly hasn't launched yet in China, which received its big Windows Phone push last month with Nokia and HTC leading the way.

Now it looks like the device will finally be out within days though no specific carrier has been announced. According to Wei Xiaodong, ZTE sales director, the phone will be released by the end of this month and will get a CPU bump from 1GHz to 1.4Ghz--a trend we're seeing with the more premium Windows Phones like the 710 and Focus 2. Everything else will stay the same though: 4.3" screen, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM and a 5MP camera. Of course the OS is expected to be "Tango" for the Chinese localization.

We played with the Tania back at CES and actually like the little guy. While perhaps not amazing by certain standards, for a premium Windows Phone it's actually well done. ZTE has also announced plans to make a push here in the United States and it will be curious to see how that pans out.

See our hands-on video on the ZTE Tania from CES 2012 here.

Source: CNMO; via Unwired View

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3 years ago

Pizza Hut Australia giving away 5 Lumia 800 Windows Phones and $100 vouchers

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Nokia and Microsoft have teamed up with Pizza Hut Australia to give away five Lumia 800s and $100 vouchers (for Pizza Hut). How does one enter with a chance to win? Simply head over to their Facebook page and fill out a short form detailing why you believe you should win one of the available prizes.

Do hurry if you're thinking of entering as the competition ends on May 25th. You can download the Pizza Hut app from the Marketplace for free (country restricted). Check out the app in a video demonstration below.

Source: Facebook (Pizza Hut), via: WPDownUnder

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