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3 years ago

Microsoft to unveil cross-platform Zune successor at E3 this year

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Microsoft is set to unveil a sneaky preview of its upcoming service at this year's E3 that will replace Zune, according to unknown sources familiar with company plans. The new service, code named Woodstock, will add a few more nails to the Zune coffin and continue Microsoft's move from the Zune brand to either the Windows or Xbox umbrella. The sources also revealed that the service replacing Zune will support multiple platforms, including: Windows 8, Xbox, Android, and iOS. No word on what's planned for Windows Phone.

Much like the current music streaming service, Woodstock will feature browser playback. As well as not requiring any browser plugins, it is reported that the plan is to integrate the service into Facebook, enabling friends to build group playlists and share music. Similar matching functionality, much like iTunes Match, is also being tested that will allow users to identify existing music tracks on the service. It is expected to launch later in 2012. Unfortunately, no details surrounding pricing has arisen yet, but we'd expect it to compete with other services available on the market.

Source: The Verge; thanks everyone who tipped us!

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3 years ago

Mobile Nations 15: BlackBerry 10, HTC One, Lumia 900, new iPad

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3 years ago

Upcoming Windows Phone game Grow see price drop, stays in line with other markets

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The other day we made mention of the upcoming Windows Phone game, Grow. Grow is an fish-eat-fish game that offers 78 levels of play that crosses seven environments. The game is due to launch on April 27th for $2.99.

We were recently informed by Epic Pixel, Grow's developer, that the Windows Phone game will now be offered for $1.99. A price that matches the cost of the full version over on the Android Marketplace.

After reading the comments on the press release, we decided the right thing to do is to lower the price of Grow to $1.99 to match the full price on the Android Market.

It's nice to see Windows Phone developers take consumer input into account and make adjustments to keep things equitable. Once Grow hits the Marketplace, we'll take a look at the game and share our impressions of things.

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3 years ago

Xbox 360 Impressions: Bloodforge

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Xbox 360 Impressions: Bloodforge

As part of WPCentral’s ongoing Xbox 360 coverage, we’ll sometimes discuss console titles of interest to our readers. We previous reported on the Arcade Next promotion: a series of five Xbox Live Arcade games coming to Xbox 360 in April and May. Trials Evolution was last week’s XBLA release, and now Bloodforge, the second Arcade Next title has launched today.

Bloodforge is an Xbox 360-exclusive hack-and-slash title from UK developer Climax Studios. The story takes place in a cold, unnamed Scandinavian location, probably somewhere in the 8th to 11th century. It revolves around Crom, a warrior who has left behind his raiding days to settle down with a family. When an evil god causes Crom to lose his family, the warrior sets out on a single-minded quest for revenge. Along the way he is aided by a crow goddess and others who seek to shift the balance of godly power.

Head past the break for our full impressions.

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3 years ago

UK scientists literally take the Lumia 800 out of this world

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Scientists from the University of Southampton took to the clouds, and beyond, with a Lumia 800. The Windows Phone (attached to a balloon) flew into the stratosphere as a tool to help create balloon flight trajectory prediction software that can then be used to guide future missions, such as weather balloons.

The ASTRA project (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft) investigates new technologies that can be used to make low cost parameter observations of the atmosphere. Stephen Johnston and András Sóbester from the ASTRA project chose the Nokia Lumia 800 for the ASTRA 10 series of flights.

"We knew the Lumia was very robust. With other phones we’ve had to include an extra battery and a heater. We didn’t need to do that with the Lumia – it was the best. It still had data connectivity at 8km above the earth, it’s definitely got a good aerial in there."

A suitable device is required to be light enough to ascend to heights of 32km above the earth, robust enough to survive in temperatures of -70C with atmospheric pressure a thousand times lower than on the ground, and be able to use GPS (and beam the data to the ground teams), log data by recording measurements taken by connected instruments, as well as snapping a few photos. The Lumia 800 really is a sturdy ol' chap!

The Windows Phone reached altitudes of 105,000 feet and survived temperatures of -61C, while remaining airborne for 2 hours and 22 minutes. It finally landed in Cornwall. As many fans would say; the Lumia 800 really is out of this world. There's an available archive of photos from the venture in the Nokia Conversations article.

Source: Nokia Conversations; thanks Gopalan for the tip!

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3 years ago

Instagram alternative EyeEm hits the Marketplace

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EyeEm is a photo-sharing app, much like Instagram, for your Windows Phone. However, unlike Instagram EyeEm is available for the iPhone, Android devices, through a web portal and on Windows Phone. This gives EyeEm a potentially larger user base than Instagram which means you can find more users with similar photographic interests.

EyeEm allows you apply ten photo filters (or none if you prefer) to existing photos in your Pictures Hub or to photos just captured by your Windows Phone camera. Filters range from sepia to magic to strawberry. From there you can share your images on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Tumblr.

Along with capturing, editing and sharing your photos EyeEm lets you browse photos from other EyeEm users. There is a search engine to search for photos or photographers by keyword, an Albums page that highlights random and "liked" photographic subjects (fashion, retro, etc.), and a Popular page that shares... well... the popular images on EyeEm.

From the settings you can create/edit your user profile and manage all your account connections. EyeEm does tap into your location services to help find pictures from users in your area and can tap into your People Hub to identify contacts who are EyeEm users.

Just tinkering with EyeEm for a short time, it comes across as an impressive photo sharing and social app for your Windows Phone. It may be strong enough to make you forget about Instagram.

EyeEm is a free app for your Windows Phone and you can grab it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks everyone for the tip!

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3 years ago

Xbox Live:The Oregon Trail for Windows Phone makes the trip to Europe at last

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The Windows Phone Marketplace differs by region, with some games and apps available in one area but not another. This is typically due to translation costs or licensing issues - hence why Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is not available in the US.

Up until now, the reverse has been true for Gameloft’s The Oregon Trail. It launched in the US in November 2010 but was not available in outside markets. Thankfully, the game has just expanded to other territories as well. We can’t confirm each individual Marketplace, but it’s definitely available in the UK. That means our British friends (including WPCentral’s own lovably patriotic Rich Edmonds) can finally learn about the challenges that early American settlers faced as they braved the Oregon Trail.

Yes, The Oregon Trail is an edutainment title, focusing on the emigrant trail used by thousands of settlers to travel from the Missouri River to Oregon during the 1800s. It features a lively cartoonish art style and several minigames to make the simulation and learning more fun. Plus you get to die of dysentery! Check out our review for more gameplay details. Oregon Trail’s Achievements are mostly easy, but the ‘Gold Digger’ Achievement is semi-glitched. Make sure you follow the instructions in this Achievement Guide to unlock it.

The Oregon Trail costs $4.99 in the US and £3.99 in the UK. Note that this title is a prime candidate for a 99 cent price drop due to its age, but we never know when those are coming. If you prefer not to wait, get it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Assassin's Creed for Windows Phone update may be forthcoming

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Some of our readers have a duplicate listing for Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles in the Marketplace. Here is the game’s proper Marketplace page, and here is the duplicate. Sharp-eyed readers will detect some differences between the listings. The text formatting on the duplicate page is actually much better than the proper one’s; the game is simply titled Assassin’s Creed with no subtitle; the publisher is Gameloft SA instead of Gameloft; the OS requirement is Windows 7.5; the file size is 10 MB greater; and finally, the version number is 1.2 instead of 1.1.

That last clue may be the explanation for the duplicate’s appearance. In rare cases, a game update may briefly have its own separate listing, possibly for testing purposes. The same thing happened with I Dig It’s long-delayed title update last year. An updated (and purchasable) version appeared separately from the main game, and then disappeared when the main game’s actual update went live. It’s likely that Assassin’s Creed is due for a version 1.2 update (with Mango support) now as well.

Assassin’s Creed costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. We recommend against purchasing the version 1.2 duplicate as you may experience issues redownloading the game after the listing goes away. Just get the proper game here instead, and you’ll be able to safely expect the update, should it be coming.

Thanks to Elisha A. for the tip!

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3 years ago

Phones 4u confirms Lumia 900 UK delay, offers early orders a free pair of Nokia Purity headphones

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UK mobile phone retailer Phones 4u has sent out a press statement confirming the Lumia 900 UK delay due to 'overwhelming demand' in the U.S. The "exclusive to Phones 4u" white Lumia 900, along with the black version, have had their availability date pushed back from April 27th to May 14th.

As an apology to those who ordered either Windows Phone on (or before) April 16th, the retailer is bundling a pair of Nokia Purity in-ear headphones with the Lumia 900 (in addition to the free Nokia Play 360 wireless speaker) at no extra cost. As mentioned above, stock is expected to be ready to ship by May 14th.

Check out the full press release below.

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3 years ago

Apple's CEO Tim Cook has a dig at Microsoft's Windows 8 PC and tablet convergence

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During the Q2 2012 Apple conference call, CEO Tim Cook was questioned whether there's a possibility of the iPad and Macbook Air converging into one product, much like what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 and their "three screen vision". Cook answered with a resounding "no", and went on to explain that he believes combining the experience of both the tablet and PC is a 'forced convergence'.

As well as commenting on why he believes this isn't a particularly good idea with regards to the user experience, Cook compared the PC and tablet combination in upcoming Windows 8 much like a "combined toaster and refrigerator". Microsoft has been actively aiming for a unified user experience when it comes to their next major OS release, as well as pulling the Xbox console and Windows Phone closer together. 

The Apple and Microsoft ecosystems are fairly different and this type of comparison (or dig - however you wish to take such comments) is interesting. Apple ensures that each device performs best at what it does, while Microsoft is set to ensure that devices can do more than what the user would usually expect. A Windows 8 tablet running applications in desktop mode is a good example. We'll of course have to see how the average consumer reacts to the changes in Windows 8. 

Source: iMore

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3 years ago

Lumia 610, 900 launch and 710, 800 release delayed indefinitely in the Philippines

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The Lumia 610, 710, 800 and 900 were all set to launch in the Philippines, but the Windows Phones have had their entry into the country delayed due to supporting carriers. According to Electronic Pulp, all four Lumia devices will not be arriving anytime soon, which is a massive blow for both Nokia and Windows Phone with the Philippines being a rather important market to tackle.

We previously covered the Nokia launch party of the Lumia 710 and 800, but it seems as though things have gone downhill for the manufacturer since, with no immediate plan to provide the 610 and 900 with the same treatment. The carrier Globe Telecom is set to stock the Lumia 800, while Smart Communications picked up the remaining three Windows Phones. Nokia has reportedly given up exclusive rights to sell the handsets in the Philippines.

The Finnish manufacturer has an agreement with both Globe and Smart for only the carriers to market and sell the Lumia Windows Phone family of devices. This prevents the manufacturer from bringing in retail units and getting them into consumer hands in a speedy fashion, which has led to subsequent delays due to carrier demands regarding their own exclusive launches. The Lumia Windows Phones were originally scheduled for an early 2012 release in a number of countries. Thus far the rollout has been somewhat successful, but there appears to be a few cracks appearing in the Nokia walls.

According to the Nokia employee that Electronic Pulp who was questioned regarding the delays, the Lumia 610 low-budget handset was planned to be out in the public domain during the first week of April, but the manufacturer has hit a wall with the carrier agreement and now can't provide an accurate ETA on launch dates for any device. The company is reportedly working hard at ironing out the creases and hopefully both Nokia and the two carriers will work things out quickly.

So, to recap (as it confused us slightly too): the Lumia 710 and 800 availability is delayed, and the launch of the Lumia 610 and 900 is also delayed, all due to the agreement made with local operators. Should you be patiently waiting for any of the Nokia Windows Phones on either Globe or Smart, you might have a few more weeks to see through.

Source: Electronic Pulp

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3 years ago

Xbox Live Extras and Netflix for Windows Phone get minor updates

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Two popular apps have just been updated: Xbox Live Extras (version 7.3) and Netflix (version 2.1). Both updates appear to be under the hood, i.e. no new features or noticeable changes. Netflix just received a more significant update two weeks ago, and the release notes for that update still appear, unmodified, on the app’s Marketplace page. It’s likely that after rolling out version 2.0, the development team discovered one or more bugs that needed fixing.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft about the Xbox Live Extras update and will report back if they provide any details. If you guys discover any changes in these two apps in the meantime, please let us know in the comments below.

Both Xbox Live Extras and Netflix are free apps, though Netflix obviously requires a subscription to use. Xbox Live Extras is a fairly important tool for gamers, so make sure to get it here if you haven’t already. Netflix subscribers can get the app here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on both app updates!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Funny Bounce

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3 years ago

Magenta Nokia Lumia 900 exists, coming to Finland via Gigantti. Is AT&T next?

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We've reported in the past that AT&T was rumored to be getting a magenta (red, fuchsia, pink etc) Nokia Lumia 900 on Sunday, May 13th right in time for Mother's Day.

Since that report we've had a sighting in a Microsoft Store (since removed) and Nokia's Facebook page (also since removed).

The image above clearly shows once and for all that a magenta Lumia 900 does indeed exist. What's more, those in Finland will evidently have the honors of  being one of the first regions to get their hands on it.

The retail site Gigantti has the phone listed with the SKU NOKLUMIA900MA with a release slated for an unspecified day in, you guessed it, May.

The phone is up for pre-order now but who knows how long it will be up since last we checked, Nokia has not made an official announcement on such a color being offered. Of course knowing that the Lumia 800 comes in that color choice, it's not much of a stretch to see its bigger brother get the red treatment as well.

So AT&T, your move.

Source: Gigantti; via e's PhoneBlog; Thanks, Jonne

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3 years ago

Zombies are on the Phone and the Xbox Live Deal of the Week too

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Remember that Xbox Live Deal of the Week poll from last month? Microsoft allowed users to vote on whether ZOMB1ES on teh ph0ne, Earthworm Jim, Doodle God, or Deer Hunter would go on sale this month. Doodle God and Deer Hunter have already permanently dropped to 99 cents, which left only Zombies or Earthworm Jim to go on sale. Zombies on the Phone (as I’ll now type it) won the poll anyway, and so it’s now the current Deal of the Week for $1.99.

Zombies on the Phone is the Windows Phone port of popular-‘cause-it’s-cheap Xbox 360 indie game I MAED A GAEM W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!1. Thankfully it includes a new game mode, 'Endless Zombies,' as well as the entirely new side-view shooter 'Time Viking.' It’s like two or three games for the price of one! Look past the intentionally basic yet chaotic visuals and you’ll find a challenging shooter with a nice sense of humor; just listen to the horrid but silly lyrical theme songs for proof. To learn more about the concept, check out our Xbox Live Developer Interview with Ska Studios and read the full game review.

Zombies on the Phone is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and start shooting those darn zombies,

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