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3 years ago

Sonic CD for Windows Phone may not have a release date, but Sonic 4 Episode II does

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, the long-awaited sequel to Sonic 4, finally has a release date. And when I say that, I don’t mean just the Xbox 360 version has a release date. Even the Windows Phone and PC versions have them! That’s something you don’t see every day.

The information comes from a new trailer that debuted at GameSpot today. The Playstation 3 version rolls out on Tuesday, May 15; the XBLA version on May 16; iOS and PC versions sometime in May; Android in June; and last, but certainly not least, the Windows Phone port comes in July. Considering the wait for Sonic CD, a mere two months for Sonic 4 Episode II doesn’t sound so bad.

As mentioned a few weeks ago, Sonic 4 Episode II will also reportedly be the first Xbox 360 game to feature synchronous game play with Windows Phone, meaning you can pause your game on your phone and pick up the game in the same spot on your Xbox 360.

The other big news revealed in the trailer is that the already-released Sonic 4 Episode I is getting a surprising new feature. Gamers who buy both Episode I and its sequel will unlock Sonic’s robotic rival Metal Sonic in Episode I! Plus four new levels. How’s that for Lock-on technology? The new content won’t cost anything extra besides the purchase of Episode II. The trailer doesn’t mention whether any platforms will miss out on the Metal Sonic bonus (besides Wii, heh), so it’s safe to assume that he’ll be coming to Windows Phone as well.

Sonic 4 Episode II coming to Windows Phone in July is great news, but what about Sonic CD? That game hit XBLA, PSN, iOS, and Android in December and PC a month later in January. The Windows Phone port is nowhere to be seen, and we have it on good authority that it’s definitely not releasing in the next two weeks. Readers keep asking about Sonic CD, so we’ll repeat what we know. WPCentral has repeatedly asked SEGA, Microsoft, and even the actual developer of the Sonic CD remake for a status update or estimated release date for the Windows Phone port. Even if the game has no concrete release date (few Windows Phone games get solid dates more than two weeks in advance), it certainly has an internal projected date. They simply won’t tell us or make any comment on the subject. Disappointing, but at least we now know it’s likely to come out before July!

Source: GameSpot; Thanks Aaron K. for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft reaffirms app compatibility with Windows Phone 8, hints at Silverlight death

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The question of whether or not today's Windows Phone apps will be able to work on the next "major version" of Windows Phone aka 'Apollo' or Windows Phone 8 was never a major concern for us as we just assumed they would work. We even saw a job description which said as much back in February.

Still for some developers there were lingering questions about Windows Phone 8 would have the same core as Windows Phone 7.x. While details are still very sparse to that former aspect, tonight on the Windows Phone developer blog, Microsoft's Larry Lieberman reaffirmed that indeed, today's app will work just fine on Windows Phone 8:

"With regard to existing applications: today’s Windows Phone applications and games will run on the next major version of Windows Phone. Driving application compatibility is a function of Microsoft’s commitment to its developers. Regardless of what we release in terms of new developer features and functionality, we have made a large investment in protecting your existing investments."

That is certainly good news and should allay some fears for devs. But perhaps what is even more interesting is we're getting the first hints that Silverlight may be de-emphasized for the next generation of Windows Phone:

"We’ve also heard some developers express concern about the long term future of Silverlight for Windows Phone. Please don’t panic; XAML and C#/VB.NET development in Windows 8 can be viewed as a direct evolution from today’s Silverlight. All of your managed programming skills are transferrable to building applications for Windows 8, and in many cases, much of your code will be transferrable as well."

To our ears, that doesn't sound like Silverlight will be a major part of Apollo (though it will be compatible) and from what we've heard from devs, that's not a bad thing at all. A more interesting reading is that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will be based off the same bits, especially when Lieberman notes that "...targeting a tablet vs. a phone, you do of course, need to design user experiences that are appropriately tailored to each device."

There's certainly a lot of reading in between the lines in that post and makes some interesting discussion, so fire away in comments.

Read more at the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Windows Phone 8 concept image by PocketHacks

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3 years ago

Rogers Canada shipping the Lumia 900 too!

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It appears AT&T isn't alone in sending out shipping notifications for the Nokia Lumia 900. We've received a few tips from readers letting us know that Rogers Canada is also shipping the Lumia 900.

It is no secret the Canadian wireless provider was set to receive the Lumia 900 sometime this month and the Lumia 900 has been available for some time now.  With AT&T and Rogers shipping the Lumia 900, it appears Nokia is on schedule to establish a nice beachhead in the North American market.

Rogers Canada customers feel free to sound off in the comments if you've received your Lumia 900 shipping notification!

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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3 years ago

Virgin Mobile South Africa offering the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710

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Virgin Mobile in South Africa is typically a bit behind the rest of the crowd. In-fact, it's only recently that they have realized that smart-phones should probably be on their offerings. And compared to the other service providers, they have a fraction of the subscribers.

So while some countries are celebrating the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900, it's with joyful surprise that we can now let you know that Virgin Mobile's latest specials pamphlet has both the Nokia Lumia 800 and the mid-range Lumia 710! The deals aren't too shabby either, especially the 710 where you are given close to your monthly subscription in airtime, plus 1000 SMS's! The deals are valid until the 6th June 2012.

That's good news for two reasons. First, Vodacom's exclusivity over the Lumia 800 has now ended, and second, if you really want a Lumia but don't want to port to Vodacom, then here is another option. And Virgin Mobile isn't actually all that bad. Their call prices are pretty competitive (especially if you manage to find another VM user to call), and R0.60 per MB out-of-bundle is about the cheapest you will find locally. For the entertainment of the international folk, R0.60 converts to $0.08 per MB of data.

It is rather strange that such a small provider can offer these phones before Vodacom's main competition, MTN. But it seems like you shouldn't be holding your breath if you are with them.

Virgin Mobile even has information we don't, and has uncovered that the Lumia 800's actual name is the E6! Yip, another branding fail...

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3 years ago

#lumiahack takes on Durban, South Africa

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#lumiahack takes on Durban, South Africa

      

Over this past weekend Nokia hosted a hackathon in Durban, South Africa. Previously they have held similar events at other cities across the country, and are still having one up in Johannesburg soon. So there are many just like it, but this one was mine.

For those of you who don't know what a "hackathon" actually is, you might be surprised to hear that it's got nothing to do with hacking in the security sense. It's actually just a bunch of people hacking away at whatever the objective is, for a period of time. So, this particular Windows Phone hackathon was coders getting together and making phone apps from 4:30pm on Friday, straight through to the same time on Sunday - essentially 48 hours straight of coding joy.

The Durban event was held at the Moses Mabida Stadium - the stadium built for the Fifa 2010 soccer/ football (fight!) world cup. It wasn't on the actual field or anything- rain and computers just don't go- but rather in the room that the players do their glory walk onto the field from.

This hackathon differed from some of the international ones I have seen because this was exclusively for students (I had to use my slate as a cleaver just to get past security). Very few of them had prior knowledge of the platform, and many were actually rather new to programming. Over the weekend the guys from Microsoft did WP7 workshops to get them up to speed, and a bunch of us were there to provide support when people were stuck. The point in the whole thing was to get students excited about the platform, and to give them a jumpstart onto the WP7 bandwagon. They were each given a Microsoft DreamSpark account (which gives students all the MS software free, including a free AppHub account), and encouraged to publish at least one app onto the Windows Phone Marketplace by the end of the weekend. Nokia definitely succeeded in both of these, as many people told me how impressed they were with the platform after the weekend even though they had previously written it off, and most got at least one app submitted for certification on the Marketplace by Sunday.

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3 years ago

Swisscom: Lumia 900 will be available in Switzerland early May

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Swisscom, a carrier in Switzerland, has announced on Twitter they expect to have the Lumia 900 available for customers in May. The international version of the Windows Phone is being made available for pre-order across Europe, but a release date has yet to be announced or confirmed.

The #Lumia900 is available with us from the beginning of May.

Tech website Mobile Fun previously revealed April 9th as the date for the UK, but we remain skeptical with the likes of Clove not releasing any information. Should Swisscom's (roughly translated) statement hold true, we should look to see the Lumia 900 rolled out across Europe early May.

Source: @Swisscom_de; thanks Thomas for the tip!

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3 years ago

AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 is on the move

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AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 is on the move

You can forget all the rumors that preorders for the Nokia Lumia 900 had sold out and the Windows Phone was on backorder.  We are hearing that several pre-order customers are receiving shipping notifications on their Lumia 900. We even received our own notification from AT&T just a few minutes ago. I have a mental image of the FedEx loading docks being covered with pallets upon pallets of the Lumia C's.

I was late to the party, pre-ordering the Lumia 900 on April 2, 2012. According to the FedEx tracking information, the Lumia 900 will be at my doorstep tomorrow. There is always the possibility that some of the later orders on the Nokia Windows Phone might not get delivered tomorrow but AT&T Retail Stores are still expected to have plenty Lumia C's in stock on Monday, April 9, 2012.

So who else got their shipping notification today? If so, let us know in the comments and make mention of when you pre-ordered the Lumia 900.  We've also got a WPCentral Forums discussion going on from those who have recieved their shipping notices.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Money Calc

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3 years ago

From the WPCentral Forums: AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 shipping today

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If you pre-ordered the AT&T Lumia 900, today is the day for it to ship if we are to get it in our hands tomorrow. It was reported that if you Pre-order your AT&T Lumia 900 and you'll probably get it early right here on WPCentral and everyone is anxiously awaiting their tracking information from AT&T.

We have a thread started in our forums Official 'Has your Lumia 900 shipped yet?' thread where I am certain we will get our first indication that they are on their way. This is the thread to watch as a lot of us are refreshing our AT&T order status awaiting any changes. If you want to know the minute these devices start shipping, this is the thread for you.

If you just want to show your excitement for today's activity, forum member txaggies07 has started this thread "Shipping Day!!!". Come share your excitement. We are also still talking about any potential delays of our phones in this thread "Backordered Status?". We have heard many opinions about this and it has put everyone on edge. We share in your anxiety, so don't despair. Come join us as we're the best support group around.

Remember, the forums are more fun when you register, so sign up today.

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3 years ago

Alleged poster template for Nokia and Windows Phone 8 appears

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Even though the Lumia 900 is barely out the door it doesn't mean we can't start the rumor mongering and passing of faked images for Windows Phone 8, does it? Phone Arena were sent the above image described as a "non final poster template" that allegedly came out of Nokia's headquarters.

The poster reveals a "Windows Phone 8" name, a designation that has not been officially given for the updated OS, expected in late 2012. Nicknamed 'Apollo', little is known about the successor to the current Windows Phone 7.5 'Mango' although an earlier leak from a video was purported to divulge some details including dual-core support, higher display resolutions and removable SD cards.

Besides the neon-glow of those three Nokia phones, which vaguely looks like Nokia's newly granted design-patent, we get the Nokia slogan of "Breaking the limits since 1865" which as pointed out in comments, references Nokia's origins  as a "ground wood pulp paper mill in Tampere, Finland". Odd, yet we kind of like it -- how many tech companies can claim that much of a legacy?

Then again, this could easily be spoofed as that "Windows Phone 8" font may be a little off and there's no redesigned Windows 8 logo present, which we would expect. Plus lets be honest, there's just really nothing in this image that's too informative.

It's fun to wonder but for now, we're going to remain skeptical.

Source: Phone Arena

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Clearer

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Windows Phone App Review: Clearer

The other day we took a look at the Windows Phone app Zero, a gesture based To-do list manager. We then received several tips suggesting another gesture based To-do list manager for your Windows Phone, Clearer.

In many ways Clearer is just like Zero but with a bit more features. Which is better? Both Windows Phone apps do what they do really well.  I'll try to break the differences down in a bit but for now, if you like gesture based apps Clearer is well worth a try.

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3 years ago

Official Qantas app for Windows Phone now available

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The official Qantas app for Windows Phone, which we have been anticipating since MIX '11, has now been released on the Marketplace. The app enables users to keep track of their upcoming flights with the operator. As well as mobile check-in, the app also displays the status of the customer's frequent flyer programme with accumulated points.

The free Qantas app provides a boarding pass for the selected flight that can be used for a more efficient experience, just remember to charge the Windows Phone the night before (nothing worse than relying on your dead smartphone for checking into your flight). Should you have access to the available lounges at numerous supporting airports, the app will also provide information as to the location and opening hours of said areas.

Live tiles are present with the ability to pin flights to the homescreen for up-to-date details regarding the scheduled time of departure, etc. The official Qantas app is a convenient companion for any frequent traveller, it's just a shame that there doesn't appear to be any way to book flights through the app itself. It's pretty much identical to the British Airways app, which is also available on the Marketplace, basic but sports enough features.

You can download the official Qantas app from the Marketplace for free and find the press release after the break. Via: Techin5

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3 years ago

High app submission rate to Windows Phone Marketplace causing delays in publishing

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We've noticed in our Twitter stream and from interacting with developers that there have been quite a few delays with Windows Phone Marketplace submissions. Before, it would take around 72 hours from submission to approval to publishing of the app. Now, it's taking significantly longer and there have been a few hiccups along the way too (see Rowi's recent update woes).

In the latest Windows Phone Developer Newsletter (April 2012), Microsoft confirms that indeed "due to high submission and update volumes, the app certification process is continuing to take longer than it has previously." Just how long? Microsoft states it can now take up to seven days which is quite an increase from the previous 72 hours. In turn, Microsoft is recommending to developers to plan accordingly by submitting as early as possible if they want a certain publishing date.

Of course this is a good news/bad news situation. It's a bit frustrating to developers who now have to wait significantly longer than it did a few months ago to get their app or app update to market. On the other hand, these delays are caused by a nice problem: a huge increase in app submissions to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

For point of reference, nearly 340 new apps are being published daily in addition to over 400 app updates which has resulted in just over 70,000 apps being available in the Marketplace (the 80,000 number is a bit misleading since it aggregates worldwide and doesn't count removed or inactive apps).

We imagine that if the Nokia Lumia 900 is successful, new app submissions could also increase over the next few months -- an issue we'll return to soon enough. Finally, Microsoft probably won't let this delay get any longer as they are trying to scale appropriately to meet the demand.

Marketplace statistics provided by WP7AppList

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3 years ago

Microsoft and Nokia holding "Free time machine in your pocket" contest on April 9th

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As we approach the release of the AT&T Lumia 900 this weekend, Nokia and Microsoft have a few tricks up their sleeves for promotions. The first of which is the Times Square event here in New York City on Friday night at 7pm. That event, which is open to the public, will involves some live performance(s) of some kind and presumably some other publicity stunts to drum up attention. And yes, WPCentral will be there to document everything, we have you covered.

Now MS_Nerd has Tweeted that another promotion will be happening on Monday, April 9th. Details are scarce but it involves the slogan "Free time machine in your pocket" which seemingly is referencing the whole "glance and go" efficiency of Windows Phones.  This seems to be a theme along the lines of the "24 hours with the Lumia 900" web video posted earlier today.

There is also a corresponding website www.freetimemachine.com already up for the event which is to take place in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago.

MS_Nerd notes that this will be an event to win a Nokia Lumia 900, perhaps in the form of a "Smoked by Windows Phone" type contest or other method. No other details are known at this time but we're sure to find out more soon enough. (Interestingly, if you enter in a wrong sub-address, you get an error message with an ePrize logo. That's a marketing group for promotions and social media who specialize in mobile in addition to working with Microsoft on Xbox rewards.)

Source: MS_Nerd (Twitter); via Mobility Digest

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3 years ago

The science behind the Nokia Lumia 900's screen quality

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One of the many things that stood out in our review of the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 is how good the screen looks. Nokia is using ClearBlack display technology with the Lumia 900 that definitely makes a difference.  But why?

In a recent interview with CNET Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, explained why ClearBlack display technology gives the Lumia 900 such a nice screen.  Soneira explains that reflectance of a screen can degrade the sharpness and color quality you see. It may be nice to touch up your make-up or comb your hair from your Windows Phone screen's reflection but it doesn't help with screen quality.

Nokia manages to address this issue with the ClearBlack technology and circularly polarized glare suppressing optics. The polarized optics disrupts the reflections, minimizing tier influence on image quality. According to Soneira,

"The Lumia 900 has the lowest screen reflectance of any mobile device I have ever measured, 4.4%, which is almost forty percent lower than the iPhone 4."

DisplayMate Technologies also found the reflectance rating of the Lumia 900 to be noticeably better than that of the new iPad which is rated at 9.9%. Science asides, the bottom line is that the Lumia 900's screen looks really good.

source: Cnet

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