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3 years ago

WPCentral 142 - Samsung gets a sequel & Nokia gets more apps

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Join site editor Daniel Rubino, Windows Phone developer Jay Bennett and all around computer whiz Rafael Rivera for another exciting podcast. This week we have some surprise Samsung news, Nokia and their exclusive app controversy and more. Plus we take your questions.

Listen in or watch the HD video with the full show notes after the break...

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3 years ago

What's the best mobile phone ever according to Apple's Siri? The Lumia 900 of course

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Siri, the personal assistant found on the iPhone 4S, has been making headlines for Apple today, but for all the wrong reasons. The image above explains what's going on better than any words in this article. Should you happen to ask Siri "what's the best cell phone ever?", you'll be greeted with a surprising response. Not only does Siri choose a device that's not an Apple product, but it chooses the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. 

This result is produced by taking the mobile phone that's rated the highest by consumers and the cyan AT&T Lumia 900 just so happens to fit the bill. Siri found the above answer by using Wolfram Alpha, which lists the Windows Phone when visitors type in the same query. The launch of the Lumia 900 was met by an extremely high level of satisfaction from customers who purchased the handset, regardless of the issues that appeared.

We gave it a shot with Ask Ziggy to see what the Windows Phone Siri-like assistant thought of all this. Unfortunately, it appeared to be slightly smarter than Siri with leading us to a Bing SERP listing articles covering "top ten mobile phones", etc. Smart move Zig-meister. Smart move.

Does anyone find it even remotely humorous how the Windows Phone community (and tech media) have jumped on this story? At the end of the day, Apple can take something away from this - Siri has proven to be relatively accurate.

Source: Techtudo; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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3 years ago

my NHS available on the Marketplace with Microsoft HealthVault integration

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An unofficial UK National Health Service (NHS) app has been released for Windows Phone. The app, in collaboration with NHS Choices, pulls down information and services for users to interact with. Integration with Microsoft HealthVault (see our review of the official app) is present should the user wish to connect to their account and retrieve / store personal details, local services and more.

Using NHS Choices, NHS services can be searched by name, location or by how close they are to your current GPS location. Within each service card are details including address, directions (opens Maps), contact numbers and website if available. Patient ratings are displayed, which can prove useful when choosing a nearby practice, especially with regards to waiting times and how patients rate resident doctors. As well as ratings, key indicators are displayed with how many patients recommend that service coupled with survey results.

Health A-Z uses content from NHS Choices to display condition symptoms and treatments within the app. A large number of conditions are listed, accompanied by detailed information, symptoms, diagnosis, causes and treatments for that specific condition. Using the app bar, users can locate NHS services that are able to treat the selected condition and compare them within the app. 

The latest news from NHS Choices is pulled down, and contact details of local NHS services can be pinned to the home screen. As mentioned above, this app connects with Microsoft HealthVault (optional) to securely retrieve and store personal details covering conditions, local services and more. my NHS is a perfect companion for anyone who relies on the NHS in the UK. With information for hospitals, GPs, dentists, opticians, carers and more, the app is up-to-date with information supplied by NHS Choices. Best of all - it's free.

You can download my NHS from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing.

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3 years ago

Newegg Windows Phone app v1.1 update adds live tiles and more

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Online tech superstore Newegg has updated their official Windows Phone app to version 1.1 and added some pretty nice features. One major addition to v1.1 is live tile support.  Newegg "Shell Shocker" deal notifications can now be pushed right to your start screen. The ability to view your order history has also been added, as well as an update to the checkout process.  Version 1.1 also brings some minor bug fixes along with it.

The official Newegg app sports a handsome, easy to use Metro-style interface and gives you full access to everything they have to offer.  If you are a geek, and you don't know about Newegg, do yourself a favor and check it out pronto!

You can get Newegg's official app here in the Marketplace for free.

Thanks for the heads up, Shipwreck!

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3 years ago

Lumia 900 Tango ROM for Finland pops up on Nokia's servers

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Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3 is the OS update everyone wants though very few know why. Indeed it brings only a handful of updates, mostly revolving around MMS options and geolocation icon. The OS update is mostly aimed at the low-end 256MB devices that are now hitting the market though it does give companies a chance to tie in precious firmware updates with the OS.

While the AT&T Lumia 900 sells with 8112 (CR2), everyone is anxiously anticipating 8773 (CR3). That OS update won't actually do much but the accompanying firmware presumably will (read: bug fixes).

Having said all of that the Finish Tango ROM (8773 with firmware 12140) popped up on Navifirm this morning and yes, can be downloaded. Does that mean it can be flashed to your AT&T Lumia 900? We wouldn't recommend it as down-grading the ROM to the proper one is not guaranteed. Still, we know many of you are anxious on this end so we'll see what the more ambitious folks have to say if someone dares to flash.

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3 years ago

Samsung announces low-end Omnia M Windows Phone for Europe

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Perhaps not too surprising, Samsung today has announced the Omnia M, a follow up to the Omnia W and obviously riding the Focus 2's mid-range specs.

The device is a ho-hum 1GHz  CPU with a 4" Super AMOLED screen and a disappointing 4GB of storage on board. It features HSPA at 7.2MBps which is even a low-end data, bypassing the much preferred HSPA+ or HSPA+ DC like on the Lumia 900.

It does have a front-facing camera though and the design, while reminiscent of every other Samsung phone especially the W, still looks svelte and comfortable to use.

Having said that, this is obviously Samsung's "Tango" phone, playing up against Nokia's 610 and the ZTE Tania, meaning most of you will probably want to pass on such a phone and wait for Windows Phone 8.

We're curious though how such low-end devices will sell. In theory, if this phone is offered for next-to-nothing on contract it could be a very desirable phone for those who don't yet have a smartphone. That's an important market and while it doesn't earn headlines, for market share, it's an important demographic to consider.

No word on release though we imagine it will be out in a few weeks. It's planned for Europe and "other regions".

Source: Samsung

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Tap2Match

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3 years ago

Nokia launches Reading app for Windows Phone

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Nokia has announced on their blog today that the manufacturer is looking to start rolling out the Nokia Reading app for Windows Phone in a number of launch countries. We previously took a look at Nokia Reading back at Mobile World Congress.

The app, which enables Lumia owners to browse, purchase and read ebooks, will be launching on a country-by-country basis. The first batch of markets that will be able to download and use the app include France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK. Remaining countries will follow throughout the remainder of 2012.

As for the catalogue itself, the store will feature numerous localised books as well as major English titles including The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; One Day; and The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes. More will be added to the catalogue over time so fear not if you can't locate a specific book. As well as purchasing ebooks, there are also 'thousands' of international titles freely available for download.

Genre categories coupled with filters including 'top ebooks' and 'new releases' make it more convenient for users to search through the store and available content. It's positive to see Nokia tackling ebooks with its ClearBlack display used on Lumias, not to mention Microsoft's ClearType technology more effectively rendering fonts. Should you enjoy reading at night the app will use a black background with white text instead of black on white - this mode will also be more battery-friendly with AMOLED Lumias.

Updates for Nokia Reading are already on the horizon with features to bring a virtual magazine with RSS support, as well as provisions for audio books. Check out the following video for a visual representation of the Nokia Reading. Be sure to look out for Nokia Reading which should pop up within the next few weeks should you reside in one of the launch countries.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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3 years ago

Sneak peek: Official WPCentral app v2.2

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Before you rush to your phone, it's not in the marketplace just yet! However I'm pleased to announce that the official WPCentral app v2.2 has been finalised and was submitted for certification 2 days ago.

So what's new this time around? We've been focusing on three key improvements: user experience, error reporting, and 256mb device compatibility. Most of these changes are a direct result of feedback or suggestions that our amazing community has sent us, so read on to find out exactly what's changed.

 

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3 years ago

Tweeting from your Windows Phone? It's 'via Microsoft' from now on

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 exclusively available at Phones 4u

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The Lumia 900 is now available at UK retailer Phones 4u in black and white. Both versions are reported to be only available at Phones 4u until May 27th when other sources will be able to stock the device. Purchasing either colour today from the retailer will also see a free Nokia Monster Headset, free Nokia Play 360 speaker and free 12 months unlimited WiFi bundled with the Lumia 900.

The Lumia 900 is available from £21/mo (£199 upfront fee) with O2, £31/mo with Vodafone or £33.50/mo (£59 upfront fee) with Orange. Note that delivery for the handset on an O2 deal is set back until 14/05, no reason is supplied. Also, should you have pre-ordered the Lumia 900 before April 16th, you're eligible for free earphones.

After the delays we've witnessed in the states, it's good to see Nokia pumping out stock for high demand.

Source: Phones 4u; Thanks, Marco, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

From the Forums: Applications Spotlight

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It’s time to talk developers and apps again. Over at the Windows Phone Central Forums, we have spotlight forums dedicated to developer discussions on their apps.This week our developers have been putting out the good stuff. Here's just a sampling of what all is being discussed.

TalkBox for Windows Phone is soon to be released and developer gilmanyu is bringing it to us in the forums. What is TalkBox? Check out our review: TalkBox gets teased for Windows Phone This is what gilmanyu has to say about this application.

“TalkBox Voice Messenger, one of the most popular multi-platform messenger apps, is now bringing its signature push to talk feature to Windows Phone.”

If TalkBox is the app for you, then you won’t have much longer to wait.

WayTwoGood is seriously way too good and if you like daily deals this is the app for you. Developer Alkasai made this Windows Phone app and it aggregates all your favorite daily deal websites. If you like deals give WayTwoGood a try.

Birthdays Diary developed by lemonez is a nice utility app with a rich feature set. If you’re like me and couldn’t remember your Mothers’ birthday if your life depended on it then you need this app. This is how lemonez describes his app.

“Birthdays Diary is a great free app for browsing and managing your friends' birthdays. You can easily see birthdays coming soon or find the birthday of a particular friend. Birthdays Diary features a nice, customizable live tile, allowing you to peek at coming birthdays from your home screen.”

Fun Conversions - Fun with unit conversions is a new twist on an old favorite. This app by rbrunner offers unit conversions in a fun new way. I’ll let rbrunner tell you all about this app.

“Have you ever wondered how many ants would be needed to equal your weight? Or how many times one would need to stack Mount Everest on top of each other to reach the moon? Or how many times faster you walk than a common snail can crawl? If yes, Fun Conversions is the app for you”

There are many more apps available in the WPCentral Applications Spotlight forum.  Feel free to stop by and get you some application goodness. If you see something you like, help support our developers by giving there apps a try and post feedback on what you think of their efforts. Like it, don’t like it, let them know what you think.

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3 years ago

How satisfied are you as a Windows Phone developer? [Survey]

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The Windows Phone team are asking developers for their thoughts on the entire process of creating and updating apps / titles on the platform. A developer survey is available for participants to provide feedback and / or complaints to bring positive changes for the community. 

Questions cover satisfaction, comparing development process with competitor platforms, as well as rating Microsoft services and products available to developers. As well selecting options, participants are able to provide a number of suggestions as to how the team can improve the development process.

So, how satisfied are you?

via: Cliff Simpkins

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3 years ago

Making the most of cloud storage with SkyDrive on your Windows Phone

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Curious about how SkyDrive can make your life more useful? Read our guide to find out.

Cloud storage is becoming more and more mainstream, especially among smartphone and tablet owners where local storage is limited. Storing data in the clouds (remotely hosted servers) enables the owner to access data from any supported location. DropBox is probably the best known example of cloud storage for PC users with native clients available for both Windows and Mac.

Microsoft has its own cloud storage solution, but how does SkyDrive compare to competitors? We'll take a quick glance at some features of Microsoft's product against Dropbox, Apple's iCloud and Google Drive. Microsoft has also published a chart of their own, which offers a more in-depth comparison.

 

  SkyDrive DropBox iCloud Drive Free Storage 7GB* 2.5GB 5GB 5GB Price +20GB - $10/yr
+50GB - $25/yr
+100GB - $50/yr 50GB - $99/yr
100GB - $199/yr 10GB - $20/yr
20GB - $40/yr
50GB - $100/yr 25GB - $2.49/mo
100GB - $4.99/mo
~16TB available Platforms iOS, Mac, PC, WP Droid, iOS, Mac, PC, WP iOS, Mac Droid, Mac, PC

*25GB is available for existing users.

According to the table above, SkyDrive is a more attractive option compared to competitors, but what about Windows Phone? Microsoft has developed its own cloud storage solution that was formed with the Live umbrella of products, and its fully integrated into Windows Phone with a complimentary app to go with. But where exactly is this integration?

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Monster Island updated and back on the Marketplace

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When Miniclip’s latest Xbox Live game Monster Island debuted four weeks ago, we were at once pleased and dismayed. On the one hand, Monster Island is easily the best Angry Birds-style game on Windows Phone. It packs an absolute ton of creative and well-designed levels – 252, with more promised in future updates. It even boasts multiple types of bombs, enhancing the puzzle complexity. But on the other hand, it also launched with an Achievement specifically for buying three dollars’ worth of in-game coins as PDLC. This raised the cost of earning Monster Island’s full 200 GamerScore from $2.99 to $5.99. Not cool on the developers’ part, and the game should never have made it through certification that way.

WPCentral broached the issue with Microsoft, who removed Monster Island from the Marketplace just two days after release.

Today Monster Island returned to the US Marketplace, and existing users received the new version 1.1 update. As expected, the update changes the ‘Big Spender’ Achievement, removing that annoying PDLC requirement. Two other Achievements were adjusted as well. Players who unlocked these Achievements prior to the update will not need to unlock them again.

Old list:

  • Curiosity Killed Monsters: Buy a solution pack in the Store
  • Keep ‘em coming: Buy a skip pack in the store
  • Big Spender: Buy 3 coin packs

New list:

  • Curiosity Killed Monsters: Earned 750 coins and spent them on a new character in the Monster Island store!
  • Keep ‘em coming: Earned 1500 Coins and spent them on solutions in the Monster Island store!
  • Big Spender: Earned a total of 2500 coins and spent them in the Monster Island store!

As you can see, all three Achievements have new requirements. ‘Keep ‘em coming’ took over the old requirements from ‘Curiosity Killed Monsters,’ which is good because level skip packs are basically useless. You can’t unlock new worlds or Achievements for existing worlds by skipping around! Buying new monsters offers no gameplay benefit (they purely add aesthetic variety), but at least now players have some kind of incentive to try a new beastie out. On the whole, these changes make Monster Island’s Achievement list much more fair and well-considered.

We’re glad that Monster Island has returned, but one oddity remains. The game is still available only in the US Marketplace, just as it was on release day. Miniclip is located in the frozen climes of Switzerland and their other Xbox Live games for Windows Phone (Gravity Guy, Fragger, and iStunt 2) are all available outside of the US. Perhaps they’re still laboring away at translating Monster Island into other languages? That wouldn’t explain its absence from the British Marketplace though. WPCentral’s own Richard Edmonds still can’t play Monster Island, and that’s just not right. We’ve reached out to Miniclip and Microsoft and will update should they respond.

Monster Island costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. American users can get it here on the Marketplace. If you’re located outside of the US, you can always try the Flash version free at Miniclip.com.

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