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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: April 16 - 22 2012

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Welcome to the summary of the week where we wrap up the Windows Phone news of the last six days. Before we crack on with the summary itself, WPCentral has been continuing with the Windows Phone tutorials covering the platform basics. We've taken a look at the People Hub, Windows Phone camera, and the best weather apps available on the Marketplace. This week we've also had the pleasure of being joined by Pratik Kothari, developer of Social Mints, for an insightful developer interview.

Our forums have continued to be the location for all discussions Windows Phone, this includes the story of a member managing to damage the Lumia 800 screen, which features Gorilla Glass. But enough of all things WPCentral, let's get straight into the summary.

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3 years ago

Skype for Windows Phone can't run on Tango devices and Skype responds

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Yesterday, Skype and Microsoft took Skype for Windows Phone out of beta and gave it the v1.0 designation, adding new functionality along with a more reliable connection.

Windows Phone Daily noticed that Skype app needs 512MB of RAM, which is fine for current handsets on the market but rules out so-called Tango phones like the Lumia 610 and ZTE Orbit which only have 256MB of RAM. So the question naturally comes up: What's the deal?

A Skype spokesperson got back to us on the matter and while it confirms the limitation, it appears that it is something that they are well aware of and are looking to address with future updates:

“As outlined in our Skype Garage blog, we are aware of various issues on the Skype for Windows Phone app, including minimum memory support requirement. This is our first version of the Skype for Windows Phone app. To ensure our customers have the best Skype experience possible today, the Skype for Windows Phone app currently requires devices with Windows Phone 7.5 and higher 512 MB of memory. We’re invest (sic) in improving the Skype for Windows Phone app to deliver a great experience and plan to resolve issues and build new features on an ongoing basis.”

If we were to read between the lines, we would have guess that Microsoft and Skype were pressed to get this app to the Marketplace and working with what they got on the backend (which we hear ain't pretty), hence the limitations. But it does sound like the Skype team is working hard on bringing updates to the Windows Phone app and we can hope that optimization of the code will allow a more streamlined experience for the Tango phones in the future.

Seeing as Tango phones are just getting ready to launch and the bulk of Windows Phones can run Skype mobile now, we're not too concerned. But it will be interesting to see how this goes forward in the future.

On another note, we'll have more this week on Skype and why background calls and notifications are actually a tricky thing to implement on Windows Phone. It should be an interesting read as our own Rafael Rivera will be doing the explaining. Stay tuned.

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3 years ago

Free Books lands in the Windows Phone Marketplace

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Here's another iPhone app that's landed in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Free Books delivers 23,469 classic e-books to your Windows Phone.  With Free Books you don't have to pay per download for the books you want to read.  The price of the app gives you full access to the complete library of titles.

Free Books sorts the titles across three main pages.

  • Featured Page highlights popular titles from the book collection
  • Collections Page that offers title categories such as adventure, classics, drama, etc.
  • Authors Page that lists all the authors (Abraham Lincoln to Thoreau to Shakespeare)
  • My Library is where your downloaded books will appear

In addition you can search for titles by keyword using the magnifying glass button that appears throughout the app.

Once you find a title, you can view a brief description of the title, read any reviews from other readers, and view a list of any related titles. From there all you do is tap the download button, choose the book from your My Library page and start reading.

Free Books has support for night mode reading, adjustable font sizes, and the reader will save your stopping point automatically.

The only downside is that the book collection may not appeal to everyone. You may not find the current best sellers but the selection isn't too shabby. Especially if you're a fan of the classics.

There is a free trial version available for Free Books to let you try before you buy. The full version will run you $1.99 and you can find it all here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 update being pushed out for Rogers

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We just received a tip that Rogers Canada is pushing out the Nokia Lumia 900 update. The update is designed to address the loss of data connectivity that was a thorn in the side of many Lumia 900 owners.

We aren't sure how wide spread the availability of the update is but you should get a notification on your Lumia 900 informing you the update is available. Otherwise you can check by connecting your Lumia 900 to your Zune desktop app.

In addition, as a gesture of goodwill, if you purchased your Lumia 900 on or before April 21st, Nokia will credit your Rogers wireless bill $100.

Feel free to let us know in the comments if you're seeing the update, how the update process goes and most importantly if you see any difference in performance.

Thanks, Aaron, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft releases new SkyDrive clients for PC and Mac, introduces additional storage-plan pricing

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Microsoft takes on Dropbox and Google Drive with the latest version of their SkyDrive service

Today Microsoft has announced new SkyDrive storage plans for their cloud service as well as new native sync apps for Windows PC and Apple OSX. Combined with official apps for Windows Phone and iOS that were recently updated, Microsoft looks to undercut the market leader Dropbox and block Google from cutting in on their territory.

Clearly the cloud-storage service SkyDrive will be a center piece between Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 going forward. Best of all, Microsoft has extended this offer to Mac users who can also benefit from the new SkyDrive functionality.

We reported on the news yesterday that the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone had been updated, but we can now rejoice with Windows, Mac and iPhone support now being available. Both PC and Mac preview clients work in similar ways. SkyDrive sits comfortably as a central folder in Windows Explorer and Mac Finder, much like Dropbox, and files (up to 2GB) can be transferred between computers (and supported devices).

With the revamp of the SkyDrive service and new clients being released, Microsoft has also lowered the freely available storage from 25GB to 7GB, noting in the MSDN blog post that 99.94% of SkyDrive users currently use 7GB or less. Even at 7GB for free, Microsoft has given a solid left-hook to rival Dropbox who offer a mere 2GB of free storage.

New SkyDrive clients and apps in action

Note, however, should you be an existing SkyDrive user, Microsoft is offering the opportunity to keep the 25GB (or upgrade in this case) for free so be sure to check out the offer on your SkyDrive account (login via the skydrive.live.com). An alert will be displayed announcing "SkyDrive's free storage is changing."

If 25GB (or 7GB if you're a new user or miss out on the free upgrade) isn't enough for your needs, Microsoft is offering three upgrade options for the SkyDrive service:

  • Additional 20GB - £6/yr ($10)
  • Addition 50GB - £16/yr ($25)
  • Additional 100GB - £32/yr ($50)

The above plans and native clients were all first reported by Brazilian website Gemind, back in February. It's interesting to note that Microsoft has unleashed the updates to their service now, just before Google are set to unveil Google Drive as a cloud-based storage solution for their ecosystem. The features present in SkyDrive however are more appealing, minus the Android support for owners of green robotic devices.

Source: MSDN

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3 years ago

More evidence for Magenta Lumia 900 appears from Nokia themselves

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We first reported that a Magenta Lumia 900 may be headed to AT&T for a Mother's Day release back on March 27th. Since then we had a sighting of what looks to a bare reddish pink Lumia 900 in a Microsoft Store on April 13th via in-screen advertising (interestingly, we're told that image was replaced with a glossy-white since we ran that story).

Now Nokia themselves seem to be getting in on the Magenta Lumia 900 action as they have it listed as a color option for the device right ont their Facebook page.

Eagle-eyed reader Michael L. noticed it on the social-network's Lumia 900 demo page, which allows you to toy play with a virtual Windows Phone OS. On that page, you have your Matte-Black, Cyan and Glossy-White color choices but low and behold, there is also mysterious and alluring Magenta.

While a reddish hued Lumia 900 would not be an earth-shattering decision, after all the Lumia 800 has that choice, up till now there has not been an announced Magenta variant for the 900-series.

Seeing as AT&T is the premier launch partner for this device and our earlier tip that a Mother's Day version was planned for release (it also falls on a release-day for the carrier), we're liking the odds of this happening come May.

Would you get a magenta Lumia 900 for yourself or a loved one? Hit us up on comments.

Source: Facebook (Nokia); Thanks, Michael, for the tip

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3 years ago

Latest Tango ROM for Nokia Lumia 710 has internet sharing on-board

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We've reported twice on Nokia getting ready to serve up some Tango ROM updates along with new firmware for the Lumia 710. First was a planned update for China and it was followed by an update for the carrier Proximus in Belgium.

Both ROMs contained  OS 8773 which is known as Windows Phone Consumer Refresh 3 (CR3) or just "Tango" and will have either 12111 or 12120 firmware on board to coincide with the pushed update. But what a lot of folks were wondering is if the firmware enabled Internet Sharing aka Tethering, a feature long missing from the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800.

Indeed we can now report that at least some of these software updates will have this on board as site WP7.nl has installed and verified that this feature in present. Of course, we don't necessarily expect all updates to contain these as it will technically be up to the carriers but a good portion will opt for the pay-in service of wireless tethering.

We expect Nokia to begin pushing these update for both regions and more in a few weeks presumably June, if an earlier report is correct. In the meantime, Nokia will probably begin to populate their servers with more updates for other carriers for the big OS refresh. We'll keep you posted.

Update: Interestingly, Nokia has pulled the 8773 ROMs from their servers. Thanks, Francesco

Source: WP7.nl; Thanks, Niels, for the tip

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: TWiT (Updated)

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TWiT.tv is a network of technology shows ranging from Windows Weekly to TWiT Photo to Tech News Today. TWiT, the Windows Phone app, brings all the goodness of TWiT.tv to your Windows Phone.

TWiT, the appis well laid out and covers twenty nine TWiT.tv network shows. And each of those shows have dozens of episodes. All of which means that TWiT has plenty of tech talk to satisfy the geekiest of appetites.

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3 years ago

HTC Titan II appears to be headed to Australia

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It would appear that the HTC Titan II has made its way south to become Australia's first 4G  Windows Phone. Rumored launch? Early May.

Reports have demo units of the 4.7" Super LCD screened device landing in selected Telstra stores. You are also seeing the Titan II (listed as the HTC Titan 4G) featured in the new Telstra consumer catalog.  The catalog listing makes note of the Titan II's ultra-impressive 16 mega pixel camera.  A feature we also believe is ultra-impressive.

There are no details available as of yet on pricing or plans for the HTC Titan II. Speculation has the new Windows Phone running on a $79AUD monthly plan and the outright price being in the mid-$800AUD (about $875 US).

Still no word on when or if Australia will be getting the Nokia Lumia 900 but it's nice to see the Titan II working its way into other markets.

Source: wpdownunder; Thanks, Sheeds, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Indie game Grow heading to the Windows Phone Marketplace

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Independent gaming developer Epic Pixel is scheduled to release their fish-eat-fish game Grow later this week. Grow has been a hit over on the Android Marketplace and based on the trailer video, it should see similar success here on the Windows Phone platform.

The goal is simple; eat everything in sight. You start in a jar, progress to an aquarium and eventually you'll end up in the ocean. Grow has 78 levels that spans 7 environments.  There is also a seven level survival mode to keep you on your toes.

 

To help you along the way there are power-ups and upgrades that can be unlocked. Six types of enemies will appear to try to ruin your day.  You have three options to move your fish around in the water.  You can use the Windows Phone tilt sensors, a virtual joystick or a touch-move set up. 

Grow is slated for release on April 27th for $2.99. We'll keep an eye out for the new Windows Phone game and follow up with our first impressions and Grow's Marketplace link.

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3 years ago

Lumia 710 and 800 now available on Iusacell in Mexico

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We've just received word that the Lumia 710 and 800 are on sale in Mexico City on Iusacell. Sales teams are reportedly pushing both Windows Phones positively with recommending the devices as "excellent phones". Booths are available in-store for customers (and potential buyers) to experience interactive demos.

We previously covered both devices heading to the country in the week just gone. The Lumia 710 is available at Iusacell from just $320 (pesos) on 24 month plans while the Lumia 800 is priced at $729 (pesos).

The Lumia 710 is also featured on the Iusacell home page. It's positive to see the carrier in Mexico actively promoting Windows Phones, both online and off.

Source: Iusacell (Lumia 710 / Lumia 800); Thanks Pablo for the tip and photos!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone smokes quad-core HTC One X in Malaysia

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Although the "Smoked by Windows Phone" campaign will always be controversial due to its selective nature, they're still fun to watch and occasionally surprise us. Malaysia is now getting in on the action and while this contest business is a bit "old" for us we have to understand that for a lot of folks, it's not.

In the above video, a different Ben from Microsoft takes on others in the challenge to beat Windows Phone during various predetermined tasks. Nothing new there but at 1:50 we do see a challenger with the brand new quad-core HTC One X, considered by many to the new top of the line Android phone (see AndroidCentral's review). The challenge was simple: take a photo of yourself, upload it to Facebook and tag it, but due to some fumbling around with the One X, the poor participant gets his beat fairly easily.

Of course it doesn't make the One X any less impressive as this contest is a bit fixed with tasks that favor Windows Phone. And perhaps with a different user the One X would have been a lot more effective at competing. But the purpose of the "Smoked" campaign is not to be fair but rather to demonstrate the efficiency of Windows Phone for common tasks that users are likely to use everyday. That focus on simplicity is important and while Windows Phone may not be the absolute winner, it does hold its own against Android and iOS.

By the end of the event, we can see Windows Phone had 98 challenges with 92 wins and 6 losses. Not too bad. And kudos to Microsoft for showing Windows Phone getting smoked by a beaten up, six year old Nokia 3250.

Source: YouTube; via SoyaCincau; Thanks, Johnny, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Official SkyDrive app for Windows Phone gets updated to version 2.0

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Busy day here at WPCentral and for Windows Phone. While we just reported the official Skype app going "gold" and hitting version 1.0 users can also go get the official SkyDrive app which is now at version 2.0. Coming out last December, the official SkyDrive app was a long over-due addition to Windows Phone and this update coincides nicely with the recent backend changes, including more friendly URLs.

There doesn't seem to be that many new features but there are a few that we've noticed. The UI has been re-worked a bit especially for dialogs and menu options. In addition, the ability to batch-select items for deletion or moving will come as a great tool for many

It also looks like you can manage permissions for folders and files directly now, allowing certain items to be shared and edited with others. Even more cool, you choose contacts from the People Hub to share those files, even granting editing access (it will even alert them that you've shared items). This should be a big feature for those who need to do online collaboration or need others to view something with minimal effort.

We'll peep around for more new stuff and if you find any, hit us up in comments. Grab the official SkyDrive app version 2.0 here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Sarang68, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Skype for Windows Phones goes gold and hits v1.0

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Just as folks are buying up the Glossy-White Nokia Lumia 900 on this fine Sunday, Microsoft has finally pushed the button the official Skype app for Windows Phone.

While it was at v0.2 in a private beta since the end of February, the finalized v1.0 has just gone live in the Marketplace. Bringing the ability to now search for and add new contacts, call to landlines, some optimizations and other minor improvements, the app is a fairly solid performer allowing video and VOIP calls over 3g/4g and WiFi connections.

Of course users will still be disappointed with no background functionality, making the service still a bit of a novelty for most people. Not being able to receive calls in the background is a bit of a deal killer, especially when rival service Tango Video Call is out on the market allowing this functionality (the latter also has better video quality for us).

Still, for those new to Windows Phone or who absolutely need to use Skype, go get your official v1.0 app now in the Marketplace here. Thanks, Andreas, for the tip!

Note: We're hearing that those outside the US are not seeing the v1.0 update just yet. Hold tight as the Marketplace updates.

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