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3 years ago

O2 UK announce July availability for Lumia 610

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Chrome finish and sleek lines come as standard

O2 UK have announced via their coming soon page that the Nokia's Tango-flavoured Lumia 610 will be arriving this month. Availability is simply set as July so that should be any time now.

The 610 has been built from the ground up to adhere to the new lower specification requirements made possible with Tango. The new lower spec devices have courted some controversy due to a lack of 100% application compatibility. The Lumia 610 represents Nokia’s attempt to bring the price of Windows Phone down sufficiently to allow it to be sold on great value monthly contracts or the ever-popular Pay-As-You-Go. I think its great Nokia are endeavouring to get these phones to as many people as possible. In my opinion, based on some limited time with the device, they have done well to keep the quality up. I would be surprised if it’s not a popular choice for Pay As You Go consumers.

The Lumia 610 being a Tango spec device means it’s not quite as compatible with the full range Marketplace apps as other Windows Phones. Still, it should still give users who are on a budget a far better app compatibility experience than the lower spec Android devices, which compete at the same price. I would expect with Nokia behind the push on this for the remaining apps that do have issues running to get a update to allow operation shortly. After all, getting more Windows Phone users on board and into the eco system is imperative for the future of the platform.

O2 Showing Windows Phone some Love?

Windows Phones - Three Models Available (including the 610)

Its good to see O2 continue their support of the platform. I would however like to see their website list Windows Phone as a category in their hot links. They also still list Windows Phone as simply "Windows" which is not that helpful. O2 currently only stock three Windows Phone handsets, the Lumia 610, 710 and the 800. Last time I checked their O2 Priority moment’s customer incentives app is still unavailable for Windows Phone also.

Still the arrival of the Lumia 610 is positive, think you might grab one?

Source: O2 UK; via The Register

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Accessory Review: Otterbox Commuter

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Windows Phone Accessory Review: Otterbox Commuter

Otterbox makes some very nice cases for our Windows Phone. Recently the company released their popular Commuter case for the Nokia Lumia 900 and we've taken it out for a test drive.  The Commuter is very similar to the Case-Mate Tough but beefier.  The rubber sleeve is exposed at the corners of the Windows Phone and protects nicely against falls.  The case also forms a frame that recesses the screen to protect it from scratches.

While the Commuter does provide a nice level of protection it does add noticeable bulk to the Lumia 900.  Bulk some may not find appealing.

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3 years ago

Another SkyDrive app appears in Windows 8 Marketplace

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Microsoft in a surprising move has updated the Windows 8 Marketplace so that there is now another SkyDrive app available. This is not the WinRT version but instead a shortcut to the full-blown desktop app that is currently available to all. SkyDrive is going to be a linchpin of Microsoft’s cloud based continuous client strategy. So what are they up to?

Windows 8 already has the WinRT version of SkyDrive, but currently that does not support folder synchronisation. I have to say I find this rather odd. I would have expected MS to simply update the existing built-in app to support such a function.

I do think there are number of reasons they have chosen this route. Firstly, it could be that a pure WinRT version will make it impossible to execute that level of interaction with the classic desktop environment. It could also be there to help aid install until a fully featured SkyDrive app baked in  with the WinRT environment and the Classic environment.

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3 years ago

Swedish carrier Three bundling free Xbox with Lumia 800 Windows Phone

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Swedish carrier Three (or "3") is offering the Nokia Lumia 800 on a 2-year contract for 299 kr (about $40), but that's not all as the carrier is also bundling the 4G slim version of the Xbox 360 for free. 2GBs of data is included in the plan, and with a free Xbox who can grumble?

We've previously covered similar offers in Sweden with the LG Optimus 7, so it's good to see carriers using Lumia Windows Phones in attempt to push more out the doors. The Lumia 800 itself is a sturdy mid-range Windows Phone that sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 512MB RAM, 16GB storage, 3.7 AMOLED display (with Clear Black technology), and has access to Nokia's collection of OEM exclusive apps.

Source: Three, via: WinGadget.se

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3 years ago

Official eBay Windows Phone app updated to version 1.18

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3 years ago

Rovio launches new franchise 'Amazing Alex' and it's coming soon to Windows Phone

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Although we’re still stuck with plain ol’ Angry Birds on Windows Phone, Rovio may finally be embracing Microsoft. Rovio now has a few titles coming to the Windows Phone platform including Angry Birds Space.

The latest franchise though is ‘Amazing Alex’ which is just about to launch on iOS and Android. The game is another physics-based puzzler where users must place objects on the screen in a certain way to cause a chain reaction. The game isn’t an original Rovio title as another firm, Mystery Coconut, released it in 2011. Rovio later picked it up and tweaked it a bit (evidently it wasn’t much of a hit, initially).

In a tweet to the Nokia Blog’s Mark Guim, Rovio confirmed that “PC, Mac & Windows Phone versions are to come later, post launch”.

That’s good news and bad news, of course. The good news is Rovio is at least thinking of Windows Phone users which may be due to the Nokia intervention that has evidently occurred. The thought being that Nokia is assisting Rovio with the process of bringing games over to Windows Phone, either financially or with developer support. The bad news is iOS and Android still get it first.

No word on what “come later” means in actual human time but at least it’s in the works. 

Source: Twitter, BBC; Thanks, Sabita M., for the tip

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3 years ago

Nokia reportedly scaling back Windows Phone 7 production (with Compal)

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Compal Communications is Nokia's primary ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) for the Lumia Windows Phone. June revenues for Compel fell 39.5% due to a reduction in orders from Nokia.  Similar reductions are expected for July.

The move isn't surprising in that Nokia will begin shifting to Windows Phone 8 devices and the company wouldn't want to be stuck with a major inventory of the Windows Phone 7 ones.  This scale back could include any of the Lumia phones from Nokia including the 610, 710, 800 or 900.

What does the scaled back production mean to the average consumer? Most shoppers probably won't even notice it and Nokia is still slated to release the pink Lumia 900 over on AT&T on July 15th (a vote of confidence from the carrier, no doubt). Seeing how some of the color patterns of the Lumia 900 flew off the shelf earlier this year (remember the cyan model), we expect plenty of inventory on the pink version.

The greatest impact will likely be felt by Compal. As primary ODM for Nokia, they will continue to see a decline in revenue while production of the Windows Phone 7 devices continues to scale back. The pendulum will eventually start to swing the other way and Compal should see revenue increases once production of the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices kicks into high gear late in 2012.

We suspect adjusting inventory based on demand is normal for companies like Nokia and our bet is Samsung and HTC already did this months ago. It would be perhaps more surprising if Nokia wasn't scaling down production at this point.

Edit: According to Digitimes, Nokia outsourced the Lumia 610, 710 and 800 to Compal but their "high end" line is made in-house e.g. the Lumia 900.

Edit 2: Another interpretation of this story would be that Nokia is scaling back production from Compal and instead doing more if it "in house" instead. For instance, they started production of the Lumia 710 for their Latin American market in late 2011. That is certainly plausible and puts a different, less dire spin on the story. Thanks, winpho, for the tip

Source: Digitimes via: wmpoweruser

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Executive Robert Williams leaves Microsoft for Amazon

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Reports are in that Robert Williams, Windows Phone Executive, has left the software giant and has made the move to Amazon. It seems as though there's an ugly trend starting to appear, but we do hope this is the end of it.

Sounds familiar, right? It was only five months ago when Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone, left Microsoft to work on the Amazon Kindle. Of course, we're not forgetting Charlie Kindel, General Manager of the Windows Phone Developer Ecosystem, who left the company late last year.

It seems everyone is migrating elsewhere and we're beginning to wonder if we'll have a Windows Phone team left. So what's Williams' new role at Amazon? He's only the new Director of the App Store. Sounds rather snazzy, eh? Williams was the Senior Director Business Development in the Windows Phone division, and we expect his hard work and experience will be sorely missed at Redmond.

At least he's still presumably using his Windows Phone if the above tweet is anything to go by. We - of course - wish Williams all the best in the future and look forward to welcoming whoever takes his place at Microsoft.

Source: Win Gadget News; thanks, Chris, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

New Windows Phone Homebrew app Keeps Wi-Fi Alive [Video]

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Earlier this morning we reported on a neat little trick that a few Windows Phone apps can do which is keep your Wi-Fi connection active even when the display is powered off.

That’s pretty useful feature for some people who are using a public Wi-Fi access point that requires you to “accept” the terms of service each time you re-connect. On a Windows Phone, every time you turn the display off it kills the Wi-Fi connection meaning you are forced to reconnect which can be problematic--even more so if you’re downloading some files.

Over at XDA, developer Ha Mai Tung (WinPhoneViet.com) has created a neat little homebrew app called Keep WiFi Alive which exploits the trick that some audio apps use. The app creates a fake music stream that makes the OS “think” it is downloading music, thereby keeping the Wi-Fi connection active.  The app is simple to use—just launch and hit the button.  To disable you can either turn off Wi-Fi in Settings or restart the phone.

Demo of Keep WiFi Alive

The app is homebrew, meaning you’ll need a developer unlocked device (either AppHub or Chevron) and does not require interop access, meaning many of you can use it if you can sideload the XAP. It’s still in beta form so there could be some bugs and of course battery usage will presumably increase, so be warned.

Source: XDA Forums; via Windows Phone Daily, Plaffo

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3 years ago

Windows Phone confusing to RIM's CEO

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Windows Phone confusing to RIM's CEO

The Windows Phone platform is confusing. At least to Research In Motion's CEO that is.

In a recent interview CNET, Thorsten Heins said that Microsoft is overwhelming consumers with Windows Phone 7, 7.5 and now 8. He said,

"It's confusing at the moment, but that's the way they communicate."

It's understandable that Heins will speak highly of RIM and down play the competition but RIM doesn't exactly have a crystal clear approach on things. The obvious way to illustrate this is to ask where is Blackberry 10?  But there's more.

Beyond the delay of Blackberry 10's release, RIM has had to deal with lay-offs, resignations and quarterly loses. All the while Microsoft is posting gains, expanding through acquisitions and partnerships, and introducing new products (Surface anyone?). Sure, Microsoft has mulitple versions of Windows Phone in circulation but so does RIM with Blackberry 6 and 7. While Windows Phone may have confused RIM, I'll take stability and growth with a little confusion any day.

And it may not be fair to compare these two companies with Microsoft's more diversified portfolio of products. Still... is the Windows Phone platform any more confusing than RIM's?  Then you have to wonder if Heins should be calling out Microsoft's platform when RIM seems to be on the down hill slide?

Source: CNET via: ZDNET

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3 years ago

Samsung SGH-i687 with Windows Phone 8 coming this fall?

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It’s about time we start hearing about actual Windows Phone 8 hardware—or at least the bit of bread crumbs hinting at their existence.

Such is the case with the Samsung SGH-i687 which showed up on Sammy’s site under the User Agent Profile. Not too much is revealed and the only hint at Windows Phone 8 is the mention of Internet Explorer 10 as the browser. It’s been speculated and somewhat confirmed that current Windows Phone 7 devices won’t be getting that browser update and even if they were, we can’t see Samsung prepping a Windows Phone 7 device so late in the game.

The other interesting if not somewhat disappointing figure is the 480x800 (WVGA) screen. Windows Phone 8 of course brings two higher resolutions—720x1280 and 768x1280—to the fold and many of us are hoping to get our hands on a device with such a high pixel density.

From Samsung's site on the i687 IE10 listed as a supported browser

So why the WVGA display resolution? We can think of two options—either this is an entry level phone, meant to keep costs down or Samsung will upgrade the screen as soon as the hardware is available. That last point refers to the shortage of getting displays at such high resolutions, even if Samsung makes its own.

Back in April, it was widely rumored that Samsung would reuse their new Galaxy SIII design for Windows Phone 8. We're not expecting this to be that device but one never knows when we're so far out.

Either way, it’s still early in the game and we should take this info with a grain of salt as much can change between now and November. As far as carriers, if we're talking about the U.S. we're looking at AT&T of course.

Related - HTC Windows Phone 8 specs leaked for three new phones

Source:  Samsung; via Blog of Mobile, Pocketnow

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3 years ago

New kid on the block: Amazon reportedly testing upcoming smartphone

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Amazon & Android. New competition or just hype?

Amazon, the online retailer we all know and love, are testing a smartphone. According to reports, sources within companies who supply hardware for Amazon's upcoming handset have confirmed that testing of said device is already underway, with production set to take place later this year or early 2013.

With what we've seen with the Kindle Fire tablet, it's a strong possibility that the online giant could well be using Google's Android OS to power their new hardware, which could then be sold under the Kindle brand. What's interesting to note, probably only from a Windows Phone point-of-view, is that Brandon Watson is currently at Amazon working away on the Kindle. Could he be collaborating with the company on a new smartphone after leaving Microsoft?

The WSJ reports that Amazon's smartphone has a display size sitting in the region between 4 and 5 inches - a perfect size to compete with the likes of the TITAN II and Galaxy S 3. It'll be interesting should Amazon choose to go with Android and launch a smartphone, since the platform is pack full of competitive companies, not to mention the established iPhone, BlackBerries, Windows Phones, etc. 

But what if they didn't choose Android? Let's not forget about Mozilla's Firefox OS. A 2013 smartphone release would fit in with Mozilla's plans for world domination kicking off next year. Then again, as we've asked before, will Firefox OS actually take off? It wouldn't make sense for Amazon to put eggs in a basket that's yet to prove itself.

We'll be sure to keep a close eye on the online retailer. What do you guys think of Amazon's plans? Let us know in the comments.

Source: WSJ, via: ITProPortal

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3 years ago

Nokia expected to announce a huge Q2 eanings loss. Is Windows Phone enough for them?

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It looks like things are not as good as they should be in the Nokia camp. According to a poll of 38 Reuters analysts the Finnish company are expected to announce next week a second quarter operating loss of 236 million Euros ($289 million USD), almost double its loss in Q1 this year. Shares have fallen to the lowest value since 1996 which is terrible news to hear.

The team here at Windows Phone Central are clearly giving Nokia some love since they adopted Windows Phone as their primary operating system, however it is clear that the public's perception of Nokia may well have fallen by the wayside. We all know that Nokia had the phone market pretty much sown up a few years ago with Symbian and its S series OS outselling all other manufactures. Things have changed greatly since those days; now with iOS and Android dominating the smartphone market. In many countries where Windows Phone is growing it is still heavily out gunned by the opposition. Take here in the UK for example: For the last two years RIM have held the top spot with the BlackBerry being the number one selling smartphone. Nokia now have Windows Phones that are cheaper than a BlackBerry but it seems that getting the youngsters to part with their BlackBerry smartphones is just too much.

I'm not sure what the solution is for Nokia to be honest. I suppose all they can do is keep on bringing us new super hardware combined with the unique applications such as Nokia Music, PureView and Nokia Drive that come standard with the handsets. Maybe time to step up the marketing just a peg or two Nokia?

We should have confirmation of the exact figures next week when the earnings are reported.

[Related: Did Nokia make a mistake by going with Windows Phone?]

Source: CNBC

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3 years ago

Will Windows Phone 8 feature new Lock screen notifications?

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Can we expect changes in the Windows Phone 8 Lock screen? 

Back at the Summit a few weeks ago, Microsoft was very clear that they were not showing all of Windows Phone 8, in fact we were only getting a peek. The reason for that is multifaceted but their official position is they don’t want to show consumer features to consumers when we’re still months from release. Then there’s the whole idea of trying to prevent an Osborne effect i.e. hurting current sales by enticing customers to wait for new phones this fall.

One tiny area of interest was an observation today from a reader (erichon99) in the new Start screen video by Microsoft. At about the 2:15 mark (snapshot below) you can see some icons on the Lock screen: 1 Missed Call/Voicemail, 4 text messages and presumably 13 new Hotmail/Live mail messages.

What caught our reader’s attention was the new Hotmail/Live mail icon which ironically is the old Windows flag logo (yet the new logo is clearly used for the capacitive button). To be honest, we think this is just a mockup oversight and we have no idea if Hotmail/Live mail would use the old logo though we’re leaning towards ‘no’ on that one--in other words, nothing to see here. However...

In Microsoft's video there's an apparent oversight in logo-matching 

...this brings back to the beginning—what are those new features in Windows Phone 8? We don’t want to ruin Microsoft’s surprise but we can tell you that looking at the Lock screen for notification changes is a good start.

One area many have complained about in Windows Phone 7 is the lack of a “notification-center”. More accurately if a notification comes in for a 3rd party app and you miss it, well, you missed it. Sure you can use the app's Live Tile but that assumes (a) You've pinned it to your Start screen and (b) You've scrolled down to check it at some point. But can the OS be even more "glance and go"? The answer is 'yes'.

We’re not sure if Microsoft will have an actual notification-center on board (ala Android's "drawer") but we do know they solved this problem another way in Windows Phone 8—by giving developer access to the Lock screen with the added ability to have custom notifications. There are actually four options for developers to choose from with one of them being extremely creative as it will give you a fresh look to your Lock screen numerous times a day. We won’t say much more on the matter for fear of raising Microsoft’s ire but hopefully this tease will get you excited for what’s coming in Windows Phone 8.  

Microsoft is once again not copying the competition, they're doing it their way and in a few weeks, you can judge for yourself.

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3 years ago

Xbox 360 Impressions: Jeremy McGrath's Offroad

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2XL Games made a name for themselves with off-road racer Baja: Edge of Control for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. After that, they switched gears to mobile development for several years, continuing to focus on off-the-pavement racing games. Now 2XL is back on consoles with Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad for XBLA and PSN. After coming away bored and disappointed from another recent XBLA racer (Bang Bang Racing from Digital Reality), I’m happy to report that 2XL has a grasp on making a downloadable digital racer both simple and fun.

Offroad features five different vehicles types, from Rally Cars to Trophy Trucks. Before you head to the track, you’ll choose one of 8 livery options for your vehicle and then customize it with upgrade points. Experience earned from completing races or performing in-race actions like big jumps and passing competitors can be spent on upgrading your ride’s acceleration, top speed, handling, and breaking. Nothing too complex, but the customization options are appreciated.

Head past the break for our full impressions.

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