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3 years ago

ZTE reiterates desire to bring their devices to the US but raises other questions

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Back in January, ZTE was optimistic on bringing their range of Windows Phone to the US. At the time, they noted "The United States and China will be key engines driving our smartphone sales" which seemed ambitious, only because navigating the sea of US carrier approval is a tough goal to accomplish.

Now in a article on CNet, ZTE is once again promising to bring the Windows Phone Tania to US shores by the end of the year.

In of itself, this is not news at all. It is simply ZTE re-stating what they said five months ago to Reuters. What makes us scratch our head is if the ZTE Tania, a relatively low-end Windows Phone 7.5 device, is coming by year's end to the US--what OS will it be running?

It seems odd to want to sell what is at best a low-range phone from 2011 right when Windows Phone 8 is reportedly launching at the the same time. The Tania sports a 4.3" screen, 1GHz CPU, 5MP rear-camera and a measly 4GB of storage. Presumably some of that will be upgraded which is fine, we did like the Tania for what is was back at CES (see our hands on after the break).

But will they really launch a device with Windows Phone 7.5 by December? Or will it have perhaps another OS on board, like Windows Phone 8? We really have no idea as that status of Windows Phone 7.5 as an OS is unknown at this point, which makes ZTE's plans curious. Maybe they are planning on selling direct as a pay-as-you-go phone or maybe they are planning on updating the hardware and OS for the US, in which case are we really still talking about the Tania?

Like we said, this raises some interesting questions. Either way though, we're happy to see ZTE try their hand at the US market.

Source: CNet

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3 years ago

Sprint exec says he is "still bullish on Apollo"

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When it comes to Windows Phone, we've been pretty hard on Sprint in the past, and rightfully so. After testing the waters with the first-generation WP7 HTC Arrive, they have been a non-player, even going so far as to make the Arrive the poster child for their buyback program. Well, we could possibly be seeing that stubbornness come to an end with the imminent arrival of Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) later this year. Speaking at CTIA, the carrier's director of consumer acquisition, David Owens, said that he's "still bullish on Apollo." 

This is the same man, mind you, who said back in January:

"We have a Windows device in our lineup, but honestly, it hasn't done well enough for us to jump back into the fire. We told Microsoft: You guys have to go build the enthusiasm for the product."

Microsoft certainly paid heed to his word, setting off on a monstrous advertising campaign with the help of its partners, like Nokia and AT&T. Since then, we've seen huge demand for other Windows Phone handsets, like the Nokia Lumia 900. Perhaps the shifting momentum has changed Owens' mind. Or perhaps he has caught a glimpse of Mango's successor, Apollo, and liked what he saw. Owens failed to elaborate on his comment, so we'll just have to wait and see.  However, it gives us some hope that we could see an Apollo device or two in Sprint's Fall lineup.

Source: PCMag; Thanks for the tip, Vallos!

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3 years ago

Rabobank releases mobile banking app for Windows Phone

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Rabobank, one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, has released a mobile banking app for Windows Phone. Like its counterparts for Android, Blackberry and iOS, the Rabo Banking App lets users take care of their banking needs, be it checking their balance, viewing account history or making transfers, wherever they may be.

In order to use the app, you must already have a Rabobank account and have your Random Reader and debit card handy. You can click here for more information about the Rabo Banking App, or here to download the mobile banking app from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks for the tip, Lobbie 1978!

 

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3 years ago

Smoked by Windows Phone, new numbers and ads

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Microsoft's Smoked by Windows Phone began way back in January at the 2012 CES conference. Since, it's grown by leaps and bounds traveling to various Microsoft Stores across the nation and world wide.  We've even seen the Smoke by Windows Phone challenges held by former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra.

Ben Rudolph, who started all this, has released some numbers associated with the Smoked by Windows Phone.

  • 95%: Windows Phone's global winning percentage
  • 36: The number of countries running Smoked by Windows Phone promotions
  • 50,000+: The number of phones that have been smoked by a Windows Phone
  • 8,000,000+: The total number of views the Smoked by Windows Phone has generated since it launched in January.
  • 100,000,000+: The estimated number of people who have seen, participated in or read about Smoked by Windows Phone. 

The Smoked by Windows Phone campaign will continue with a new set of internet ads hitting the web today. The ads are also available over at the Windows Phone YouTube Channel. While the Smoked by Windows Phone has had its moments of controversy, the campaign has brought a lot of attention to how well our Windows Phones measures up against the competition.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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3 years ago

Nokia reveals upcoming exclusive apps and games for Lumia Windows Phones

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Nokia has today announced in a press release that a number of apps and games are to be exclusive to Lumia Windows Phones. At CTIA Wireless 2012, the manufacturer has focused on creating original app experiences to Lumia customers by building relations and forming partnerships with developers. Marco Argenti, SVP, Nokia Developer Experience, added the following comment.

"We are focused on delivering great, locally relevant apps, and importantly, those which offer unique, exclusive and original experiences. With Nokia Lumia smartphones now available in 48 markets, developers are rapidly recognizing the business opportunities and creating their best work for our consumers."

Nokia has already built a strong arsenal of apps in their OEM collection, including the likes of Nokia Drive, Transport, Maps, Music and the recently unveiled City Lens. Crawford Del Prete, EVP, Chief Research Officer, IDC, had the following to comment on Nokia's progress with moving to Windows Phone and building developer relations.

"Nokia has achieved much in a short space of time when it comes to key brands and partners creating apps for Nokia Lumia customers. We believe developers are now moving away from simply porting, to create new innovative and high-design apps that fully leverage the Windows Phone Metro UI and features such as live tiles. With new and exclusive apps launching on a regular basis, and Nokia Lumia rapidly expanding into new markets, Nokia and Microsoft are demonstrating meaningful differentiation for consumers, developers, operators and retailers."

So with al lthis talk of exclusive apps and games, partnerships and developing progress, what's on the horizon for Lumia Windows Phone owners? Check out the summarised list below of content that's destined to be exclusive for Nokia devices (and Windows Phone owners as a whole).

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3 years ago

Nokia City Lens (beta), discover local interests with augmented reality

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Nokia's Beta Labs has just made public City Lens, an augmented reality experience for users to find local points of interest. Much like Local Scout, but more realistic, City Lens provides a more user friendly overview of what establishments are located in the vicinity. Instead of guessing which building is which (should signage not be effective enough), Nokia Lens slaps a label on each to help you out.

Landmarks, restaurants, hotels, shops and more are listed in camera, list or maps view. This adds more options for the user, which will be handy should you not wish to wave your handset around at that exact moment and look like a tourist recording a video. Your location is loaded, much like any other app with similar functionality, and this can then be shared with social networks. Favourites can also be saved for more convenient access - pretty neat. 

Nokia Beta Labs is interested in receiving feedback on this experience, so be sure to download Nokia City Lens from your Lumia Windows Phone. City Lens isn't listed in the Nokia Collection so you'll need to open the link from your Lumia Windows Phone or scan the QR Code below.

You guys know how much we love augmented reality here at WPCentral, so we strongly recommend checking this out.

Source: Nokia Beta Labs; via: Engadget; thanks everyone who tipped us!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Star Wars

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If you are a Star Wars fan, here's a Windows Phone app that will make you smile. Star Wars by Jaxified is a collection of sound bites, songs and background images from the complete Star Wars saga.  From Chewbacca's roar to R2D2's beeps to Vader's ugly mug, this app is all about Star Wars.

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3 years ago

Verious adding Windows Phone to their lineup to aid developers in making apps

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Verious Inc is a leader in connecting developers with components and services for mobile app developer and they have a strong presence with iOS and Android development. Today the company has added Windows Phone development to their lineup giving developers even more tools at their disposal.

What's this mean? Hundreds of pre-built mobile app components, open source projects, HTML5 components and SDKs are now available to Windows Phone developers. It opens up the pool of resources developers have to tap into.  Verious has reportedly worked closely with Microsoft to identify the most valuable components to help accelerate mobile app development.

As described by Anil Pereira, founder and CEO of Verious,

"From Metro-styled icons to charting controls and mapping tools, we’ve worked with Microsoft to compile the world’s most comprehensive catalogue of pre-built components, open source libraries and SDKs for Windows Phone development. Now mobile app developers can leverage these resources to get their apps to market faster—just as they do for other leading smartphone platforms.”

Seeing that Verious already has a presence with iOS and Android development, the addition of Windows Phone to Verious's catalog may see more cross platform apps hit the Marketplace.

You can catch the full press release after the break and find out more on Verious here at their website.

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 beats out the iPhone 4s and Galaxy S for best display

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In what looks to be another nice win under the belt of the Lumia 900, Nokia took away the top prize in DisplayMate's shootout of displays for tablets and smartphones.

The test involves shinning light on to the displays with various levels and then putting the screenshots onto their "Master Photo Grid" for direct comparison. For a more nuanced description, we refer to you DisplayMate:

"We photographed 4 Tablets and 5 Smartphones inside an Integrating Hemisphere using a powerful light source that uniformly illuminates the displays from all directions from 0 lux (Absolute Darkness) up through 40,000 lux (Indirect Sunlight), which is very bright. Direct Sunlight at noon is a blinding 100,000 lux."

We're just going to go ahead and defer to them on the science part.

The results have the Lumia 900 at the top with the Galaxy S just edging out the iPhone 4S for number two. There's no doubt that what contributed to the win for Nokia was their ClearBlack polarizng screen technology, which filters out the bad waves of sunlight, helping reduce glare and keeping the AMOLED colors super vibrant (some may say too vibrant.

In fact, DisplayMate said that Nokia Lumia 900 had the lowest reflectance of any device on the market, meaning that the ability for the display to reflect light and cause a glare was markedly reduced on the AT&T "hero" phone compared to the competition.

Overall, it's a great win and a great headline for Nokia.

Source: Displaymate; via: the Verge

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3 years ago

Viber feature-limited beta now available for Windows Phone

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Viber has finally pulled the sheet off of its long awaited VOIP and messaging app for Windows Phone (and Blackberry too) today, allowing users to download and try out the service for free on their device.

One major caveat though: there is no VOIP phone calls just yet.

According to the press release, the current version only allows Viber Messaging aka "allowing users to exchange text and high-quality photo messages and share locations with other Viber users."  Have no fear though, that VOIP service for making free phone calls is on the way:  "Viber’s signature HD-quality free voice calling, will be released as soon as it meets Viber’s quality standards."

The app so far is basically a glorified Kik or WhatsApp as it can search your contacts for other Viber members for ease of messaging. Having said that, it's a fairly nice app and worth looking into as you'll want to be ready when that ability to make phone calls over your data connection finally shows up.

Grab Viber v2.1 for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. It's free and ad-free. Read the full press-release here for more info.

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3 years ago

Upcoming Windows Phone developer conference reveals Apollo info

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Back in January, we brought you the news of the first independent Windows Phone developer conference not sponsored by Microsoft called WP DevCon occurring October 22-24th in Burlingame, CA.

The listing and descriptions of the classes being offered during the conference hav been released and interestingly enough, there's a whole class on Windows Phone Apollo development. Seeing as the classes are in late October, perhaps we shouldn't be shocked that Windows Phone 8 will be discussed at length during such an event. But what makes it interesting is some of the details revealed.

The session is being led by Paras Wadehra, Principal Software Engineer at Good Technology and ex-Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft:

"This session will guide you on how to develop for Windows Phone Apollo, the new version of Windows Phone due out by the end of this year. You will learn the new resolutions needed to support and target Windows Phone Apollo, the new hardware you will program against, the changes coming to the Windows Phone Marketplace, and much more. There will be some code shown, which will help you migrate your Windows Phone Mango apps to target Windows Phone Apollo. The session will also help you understand the marketing aspects of apps targeting Windows Phone Apollo in order to help you get your apps approved the first time. You will also learn about the new emulator as well as new reporting features available in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

At the end of the session, you will be ready to write and upload apps to the new Windows Phone Marketplace. Please note: Knowledge of the Windows Phone Developer ecosystem is required. In order to appreciate the difference between Mango and Apollo, it is also preferable that you have developed at least one app currently in the Marketplace."

Since the session is in October and Apollo is mentioned as "due out by the end of this year" it sounds like we're still looking at a November or December release for the new OS. That's the bad news and contradicts some earlier rumors of a possible early October release (though schedule changes are certainly plausible).

The good news is the Windows Phone 8 emulator will already be out by that point and we bet it will be released in June when Microsoft holds their own developer conference in San Francisco. It's also the first real confirmation of different resolutions being offered in Windows Phone 8, though once again, this shouldn't be a surprise at this point.

Read the whole Windows Phone DevCon catalog here (PDF) and visit their site (www.wpdevcon.net) for more information in case you want to attend. Thanks, rutvik19, for the tip!

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3 years ago

ARMED updated on Windows Phone, coming to Windows 8 as well

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Sickhead Games’ ARMED! stands out as one of the most impressive indie games in the Windows Phone lineup – in fact, it even outdoes just about every Xbox Live title in graphics, UI, and multiplayer features. Even the title is extra exciting, with not only capital letters, but also an exclamation point! Why Microsoft hasn’t picked up ARMED! for Xbox Live status remains a mystery, but Sickhead continues to support their title, both with updates and plans to expand to other platforms as well.

Head past the break for the full scoop!

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3 years ago

Lumia 900 available at Norwegian retailer Elkjøp on June 1st for 4,290 kr

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The Lumia 900 is on its way to Norwegian retailer Elkjøp and is set for a June 1st launch. Priced at 4,290 kr, the flagship Nokia Windows Phone was previously seen on a terminal at the retailer where orders of each colour where spotted. This availability date is some time behind the expected shipping dates for UK retailers, which is probably a knock-on effect of the "overwhelming demand" of the Lumia 900 in the states.

The Lumia 900 is available to pre-order in black, blue and white, with financing options should they be required. Will you be picking yours up?

Source: Elkjøp (blue - white, black); thanks, the_Enlightened, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Senior User Experience Designer for Windows Phone, Arturo Toledo leaves Microsoft

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Arturo Toledo, a Senior User Experience Designer for the Windows Phone Design Studio who chose to leave Microsoft last month, has announced plans to finish the Windows Phone Design Series.  Toleda is set to turn the series into a free e-book.

More good news is Toledo plans to stay involved in Metro for the future, I guess we can't get rid of superb talent that easily?

The 31 “Weeks” of Windows Phone Metro Design series focuses on providing developers (and enthusiasts who are just starting on the Windows Phone development path) with resources to ensure app UIs follow suit and create a fluid Metro experience for consumers. One thing we here at WPCentral understand is that our readers (and the community as a whole) favours a complete Metro experience.

Should this series finally become available in free e-book format, it'll be the bible for Windows Phone developers. Exciting times ahead. For now we'll leave you with our no-so-famous Metro meme.

Source: ux.artu.tv

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3 years ago

Samsung Focus 2 hands-on

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First out of the gate from CTIA 2012 in New Orleans is the Samsung Focus 2. The follow-up to the (wait for it ...) Samsung Focus brings a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 8GB of internal storage and it's rocking a 1.4 GHz processor. And as was confirmed by the official specs earlier today, it's got a 1750 mAh battery. 

The Focus 2 actually is a tad heavier than its predecessor, but it's in a slightly smaller form factor. It feels decent enough in the hand. It's definitely got a plastic feel to it, which you'd expect from a Samsung phone. But, indeed, for an entry-level device, you're not going to be ashamed to pull this one out of your pocket. And it's always nice to see a dedicated camera button on the side of a phone.

Other items of note: It'll be available May 20 for $49.99 on contract ($19.99 on upgrade). We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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