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3 years ago

BBC Podcast Lounge on the way to the Windows Phone Marketplace [Video]

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We've had the chance to look at an upcoming app from Igneous Software, who are responsible for the BBC Radio apps available on the Marketplace. Their latest project, BBC Podcast Lounge, does exactly what it says on the tin. The UI and design of the app is superb and follows on nicely from their previous radio apps, but it's the functionality and end-polish that shines in BBC Podcast Lounge.

On app launch you're greeted by the featured screen with tiles of top recommended podcasts. From here you can pan across and view all the genres (the BBC reportedly contains over 300 unique programmes) available, from Jazz and Rock all the way to Science and Soap, there's something for every taste. If you'd rather select shows by stations and / or region, a full list is present to break down the catalogue.

As well as the selection lists, programmes can be added to the favourites for more convenient access, but unfortunately they (or the radio stations) can't be pinned to the home screen. Search is also available, which will enable the user to filter through the programmes available in real-time. As well as the breakdown categories, featured, and favourites the main app screen also sports miscellaneous links for rating the app, etc. and providing feedback to the developers.

Playback is just what you'd expect from a generic media / music player, and with the included background playback functionality one can continue to battle zombies or help defeat Dr. Robotnik while listening to a gardening talk show. BBC Podcast Lounge also integrates itself into the list of applications in the Music and Video hub. Check out our quick walkthrough of the app below.

We expect BBC Radio Podcast to be hitting the Marketplace soon (we'll announce exactly when it's available). Note that features present in the video and covered by this preview article are subject to change. Igneous Software have stated they have plans to introduce a download manager and functionality for offline playback in the next version. Positive times ahead!

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3 years ago

White Unlocked International Lumia 900 available on eBay for £499

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The Lumia 900 is available unlocked in white on eBay for £499, with an availability date of April 9th. The seller is sunnydayshopping, who has a positive rating history, and the location is Manchester, UK. Bands supported are: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 and HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100. An unlocked international version of the handset was previously available on eBay from the U.S. not so long ago for the same price.

The Lumia 900 is also destined for AT&T on April 9th, when we'll expect consumers will be able to get their hands on the device, which sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 1830mAh battery, 4.3" AMOLED ClearBlack display and 8MP shooter (with FF camera).

Three have been sold already, so be sure to check out the listing should you be interested in the high-end Windows Phone. Of course, WPCentral cannot take any responsibility for your purchases on eBay, and we always recommend caution.

Source: eBay; thanks hamza for the tip!

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3 years ago

Angry Birds Space destined to touch down on Windows Phone

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There has been a lot of talk today about Angry Birds Space and whether or not it will find it's way to the Windows Phone platform (see our earlier post). First we had reports from Bloomberg that Rovio were not bringing the new fowl-flinging iteration of the game to Microsoft's platform, information received from Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's chief marketing officer. Analyst Richard Windsor speculated this meant that Rovio may not have confidence in Windows Phone looking into the future, more on that shortly.

However, the story has since been contradicted by Rovio's CEO, Mikael Hed as quoted on Reuters:

"We are working towards getting Angry Birds Space to WP7"

Whilst Mr. Hed's statement is somewhat lacking in detail one would be inclined to believe that the CEO's position on the company's intentions would be the more reliable source. No release date or expected time of arrival has been communicated.

Here at WPCentral we've been discussing this story in some detail, particularly around suggestions from the Bloomberg article that the lack of Angry Birds on Windows Phone would make it difficult for Nokia to "attract gaming-oriented users and persuade developers that [Windows Phone] is growing".

It's an interesting point, can one app make or break Windows Phone alone? The answer of course is no, but it is a very important game which will be seen as important to the average phone owner. Whether you're a fan of Angry Birds or not, the game is huge, successful and a marked influence in the rise of Smartphone popularity. Just look at what Rovio can afford to do for publicity:

Angry Birds Space is the first major innovation the game has seen since the original version found it's way on to mobile screens everywhere. The game is superb, new gravity mechanics genuinely do create a completely different experience to the game, this time it's not just some new textures or types of bird, it's an almost entirely new way to play.

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3 years ago

New Nokia Lumia 800 "Beautifully Different" UK TV advert [Video]

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Nokia UK announced a new TV advertisement for the Lumia 800 today, which follows the recently unveiled U.S. Lumia 900 commercial with the "Beautifully Different" theme. The video focuses more on the visual appeal of the Windows Phone itself and how live tiles can help the consumer.

This could be the beginning of the second wave of marketing from Nokia. We've become used to seeing "The Amazing Everyday" campaigns on a global scale, so perhaps it's time for something different to keep interest peaked? We do agree with the new advertising though - Windows Phone (especially the Lumia handsets) are "beautifully different".

Source: YouTube

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3 years ago

AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 not shipping with Windows Phone Tango

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For those curious as to what OS version the AT&T Lumia 900 was shipping with, wonder no more. It is version 8112 which is just a few builds higher than the current release of 8107, an update that brought the much needed keyboard and security fixes to the OS. That release started rolling out last month to numerous phones and is currently still being pushed out to devices as we speak.

Likewise, the firmware for the AT&T Lumia 900 is at 12082, which is slightly higher than the 12070 firmware that dramatically addresses current battery issues on the Lumia 800 and bug fixes on the Lumia 710.

What makes 8112 OS build interesting is that it's not Windows Phone "Tango" which is thought to start around build 8731 and is shipping at 8773 in China. In fact, even the Lumia 610 has 8763 (thought to be a beta build) which was back at Mobile World Congress.

So what does that mean for AT&T users? Not too much as Tango is mostly an under-the-hood optimization release for those low-end devices that only have 256 MB of RAM. But Tango does have some goodies on board, including a more robust MMS client (multiple picture support, read receipt, voice notes and video) and the GPS-location icon, not to mention any other smaller tidbits we may have to uncover.

In the end, Lumia 900 users will get a solid OS though with no keyboard bug and 4G LTE support which should be good enough for most. It of course will be interesting to see what updates the phone gets though in the coming months.

Thanks, Jeffery B., for the photo!

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3 years ago

Smoked by Windows Phone helps launch Lumia handsets in Brazil [Video]

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To celebrate the launch of the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 in Brazil this week, Nokia has teamed up with Microsoft to host the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge. Although the presentation is in native tongue, most of us can still follow the cheesy music and the humiliation of challengers.

It has been relatively quiet on the Brazilian front with Windows Phone, but both the Lumia 710 and 800 are now officially available for purchase. 

Via: Microsoft Insiders Brasil; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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3 years ago

Hands on with the official Audible app for Windows Phone [video]

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We've been waiting for a long time for an Audible client for Windows Phone and that day is finally almost upon us. Currently the popular audio-book app is in limited beta testing but we managed to get our hands on a copy and to be honest, we're impressed. The folks at Audible have given time and consideration when making this app as opposed to rushing some basic player to the market and it shows.

The Audible app is fast, nimble and to the point allowing you to purchase your favorite audio books on the go and with ease of listening. Some of the highlights of the app include:

  • Primary Live Tile that flips with recent history on the back
  • Secondary Live Tiles based on book title; enables 1-touch playing of audio; flips to show bookmark history
  • Configurable "jump back" feature to re-hear a section (default is 30 seconds)
  • Button-less playback which uses gestures instead of buttons to control the audio
  • Badges and statistics viewer
  • Sharing of book info and general news via the Windows Phone built in social networks
  • Gorgeous UI

One small downside is that it uses the built in browser/embedded IE9 for book purchasing as opposed to a dedicated native marketplace. The embedded option works well enough but it feels a little jarring to be ejected momentarily from the app-experience.

The design of the app is really striking and in our mind, Audible has done a knock out job here. In addition, there are enough options to keep most users happy but not too much as to overwhelm. While purchasing audio books may not be everyone's cup of tea (gosh, they're expensive!) we know many of you really insist on this service and for you , we have just a few words: you won't be disappointed.

Look for the official Auidble app to hit the Marketplace in the next few weeks. We'll of course keep you abreast of when it finally is released here at WPCentral. Thanks to Jack K., for the assitance!

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3 years ago

New Hub Tile Control for Windows Phone released by Telerik [Developers]

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Telerik, the company behind the RadControls suite for Windows Phone Developers, has released an interesting update to their software. The introduced RadHubTile will enable developers to create live tiles within their application (just like the home screen) to further increase the good looks meter.

There are a number of hub tile classes available, which include: RadHubTile, RadMosaicHubTile, RadSlideHubTile, RadPictureRotatorHubTile and RadCustomHubTile. More information about each class is available in the Telerik blog article, do check out some of these supported tile effects in the below video demo. 

RadControls for Windows Phone is a suite for developers that will set you back by about $99 ($1,200 for the full bulk - .NET controls, analysis & data tools, etc.), although there is a free trial available. While it's pretty expensive for the odd garage developer, the results can be absolutely stunning (just look at Tasks - a free todo app by Telerik).

Source: Telerik Blog

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3 years ago

Nokia Music updated to version 2.0

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While Nokia appears to be on an OEM app updating spree, the Finnish manufacturer has also included their Nokia Music app for Windows Phone, which has now been bumped to version 2.0. This follows both Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive that were both recently updated.

Nokia Music enables Lumia Windows Phone owners to listen to genre mixes, and is the manufacturer's attempt to provide consumers with a solution should Zune not be readily available. The said mixes are available to play offline and can be pinned to the home screen for convenient access. Background playback is supported, but there are some limitations such as the inability to rewind the mix, it's best to think of this app as a personal radio.

The mixes are updated every so often with new tracks included and the best part of the service is it's completely free. "Progressive downloading" is taken to the next level with the included functionality for "Music DNA" to scan your PC library and tailor the mixes to your personal taste. If you'd like to have even more control over what content is available to you, you can even select individual artists for the app to take into account.

As well as streaming and personalisation options, we have a gig finder, which will search for local gigs near to your location, and access to the Nokia Music Store where the latest hits are on sale. Although it's well suited for emerging markets, Nokia Music is a superb music streaming app that would fulfill the needs of a daily commuter, or someone who enjoys music but doesn't wish to pay for a Zune Pass.

As for version 2.0 - we've reached out to Nokia for the update change log, but unfortunately it appears as though only UI and audio improvements are included. Be sure to let us know in the comments should you find anything. You can download Nokia Music from the Marketplace on your Lumia Windows Phone (not available in the U.S.).

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3 years ago

AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 'Beautifully Different' advertisement [Video]

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The Lumia 900 AT&T 4G Windows Phone has been spotted in an advertisement that we've not yet come across. What makes this different than the countless other videos we've already covered? It's a unique approach to show off the award winning polycarbonate design, with an emphasis on being "beautifully different" when compared to other handsets. This seems to be the new tag-line for the flagship phone as AT&T is also using it on their webpage for the device.

The AT&T 4G Windows Phone is set to launch on April 9th in retail stores, where consumers will finally be able to pick up their own Lumia 900. Nokia and the U.S. carrier are prepping everything for the release, so we expect the dates to be relatively accurate for early April.

Source: YouTube; thanks Ellis for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Telia and Nokia launch Lumia 800 in Denmark with human keyboard [Video]

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To celebrate the launch of the Lumia 800 in Denmark, Nokia and carrier Telia have teamed up to pull off an interesting stunt - the "Human Keyboard". We've previously seen the scale of the country's Lumia handset launch with an event being held in Copenhagen back in January, but it's good to see carrier support added in.

The Human Keyboard features a keyboard mat laid out on the pavement in front a store. We then have five musicians stood in the store window who play corresponding music notes with instruments in the attempt to match the members of public who step on the mat.

Of course, you'd have to have some fun and try to trick the musicians, which is exactly what we see in the above video. You can purchase the Lumia 800 in cyan at the Telia online store.

Source: YouTube; thanks Ellis for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft ups 'Smoked by Windows Phone' challenge prizes

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Microsoft's ever increasingly famous marketing campaign, Smoked by Windows Phone, is really stepping up the game by improving the $100 prize for beating a Windows Phone with a competitor handset. The challenge, which originated at CES 2012 where Ben (the 'PC Guy') Rudolph began taking on smartphones from other platforms (the iPhone, Android and Blackberry handsets), puts handsets against one another to see which is more efficient at common smartphone tasks.

Those who lose against the Windows Phone have to publicly announce their defeat, "I've been smoked by a Windows Phone", but for those who manage to best Microsoft's OS, they're handed $100. Things are heating up as Microsoft has raised the reward to $1,000. Yes, $1,000. But not in cash.

Should you manage to beat a Windows Phone in the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge at the participating Microsoft Stores, you'll walk away with a Hunger Games Special Edition PC, valued at $1,000, to celebrate the release of the upcoming film. What if you lose? You can swap your smartphone for a Windows Phone (excluding the Lumia 800), right there, right then. It's a "win win" situation.

The challenge will close on March 29th, opening times are from 9am - 10pm. Be sure to read the official rules.

Source: Microsoft Store, via: Down Right Wireless; thanks SeNiLe911 for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: FlightPredictor

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FlightPredictor is a Windows Phone app that delivers a hefty amount of flight information to your Windows Phone. FlightPredictor covers flight times, status, and also has a series of major airport maps to help navigate the friendly skies.  Flight information is provided by FlightCaster.com and if you need to keep track of flight times, delays, along with a little help finding your way around airports, FlightPredictor is worth a try.

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3 years ago

AppHub now open for the 23 recently announced countries [Developers]

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Microsoft has announced the opening of AppHub submissions to the 23 new countries added to the pool of support. Developers in these countries (and beyond) will be able to submit their work to the localised Marketplaces, which will open up to consumers in the near future.

To recap on the newly added countries: Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam. The total number of supported markets is now at a respectable 63.

A quick reminder to developers - it's now reportedly taking more than 7 days to approve Marketplace submissions. Something to consider when keeping to announced release dates.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

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3 years ago

Report: Nokia paying AT&T for exclusive employee use of the Lumia 900

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We've heard numerous times that the Nokia Lumia 900 will be a "hero" device for AT&T, a term that is unfamiliar for many who are not in the business of smartphones. Here, the usage refers to AT&T promoting the Lumia 900 on the level of the Apple iPhone meaning we should expect a very intensive media campaign for the flagship Nokia device and it taking center stage on one of the largest carriers in the US.

One way to do that is to put the phone in the hands of those on the front lines -- the sales reps at the AT&T stores. More information has rolled in over the last few hours since we broke the April 9th street date for the 900. First, we know that the phones started arriving at AT&T stores over the last two days and that employee training on the Windows Phone OS (and this specific hardware) will take place on March 26th, April 6th and 7th at those outlets.

Next is the big news: AT&T has designated the Nokia Lumia 900 for 'Company Use' meaning all Front Seller employees are eligible to receive the phone at no cost. The trade off is though is that employees have to turn in their current 'Company Use' phones, namely the iPhone and certain Android devices.

You read that right: Nokia is paying, we hear up to $25 million, for AT&T employees to exclusively use the Lumia 900 instead of the iPhone and Android. Nokia is expecting more than 80% of employees to be using their flagship Windows Phone for participation in the CU program (employees can opt to use any phone they want at a discount, but CU phones are provided for free), which should go a long way in convincing those employees the merits of the OS, resulting in positive word of mouth and high sales.

So why is AT&T so keen on promoting Windows Phone, specifically the Nokia Lumia 900? Sure, there is money involved but in addition but we're told that the feeling at AT&T is that the company is trying to get away from being "the iPhone carrier" and are looking to differentiate their lineup from their competition. The Lumia 900 is a device they can get behind to do that -- not just because of the financial incentive, but because this phone represents a real chance for the fledgling OS to shine. That should sit well with many of you who are worried about the fate of Microsoft's mobile OS.

Oh and before we close out, we're also told that the HTC TITAN and Samsung Focus S are to be put on the End of Life (EOL) list, meaning their future availability will be phased out from current inventory without being replenished. (Well, there had to be some bad news, right?)

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