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3 years ago

Improved Mobile Nations header

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Improved Mobile Nations header

As you've probably noticed, we're currently going under the knife and receiving many backend and cosmetic alterations. Not only are we changing things around at WPCentral, but on the Mobile Nations (previously Smartphone Experts) network and websites. Two big changes you are able to see already is a new header bar and footer, which look more modern and have more functionality.

The top header bar has been updated since we announced work was commencing, and should you highlight each website, a drop down will appear with a bunch of useful information. Latest articles are shown (with the number of comments), what's hot in the forums (with number of replies), and what's new in the stores. If you're one of those who visits more than one of the websites under the Mobile Nations umbrella, this new functionality will make navigation slightly more appealing and user friendly.

This is only the beginning, with more on the way. Stay tuned and we thank you for your patience through the transition.

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3 years ago

Jil Sander Mobile LG-E906 now available through Expansys for £299.99

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For those looking for a slim and unique second-gen Windows Phone, could we steer your attention to the LG-E906 aka the Jil Sander phone? Expansys evidently has a UK exclusive on the device and are selling it currently for £299.99.

The Jil Sander's phone is a collaboration between the famed fashion house and LG to make a somewhat unique, yet somewhat plain Windows Phone. After all, it is a refresh of the Optimus 7 from last year. What's important for you spec fiends to remember is that this does feature 16GB of storage in addition to a 3.8" screen, 1 GHz CPU and 5MP camera. It also evidently has a custom accent color in the form of "electric blue" and a matching blue internal frame (revealed when the battery cover is removed).

Killer device? Certainly not. Worthy of consideration though? Yeah, we think it looks kind of sharp actually, but we have odd taste.

Order up the phone from here and check out Expansys's hands on with the device here.

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3 years ago

Nokia being positive about Lumia 800 UK launch and sales

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We know Nokia has had a tough ride, especially since they ditched Symbian to pair up with Microsoft and dedicate resources to Windows Phone alone. Not only shares, but the minds of customers, have been bouncing around, following Stephen Elop's moves closely. The manufacturer has had little over six months to produce a Windows Phone since the partnership with Microsoft was announced.  

According to a report over at Reuters, Nokia is attempting to keep the smiles with releasing an optimistic statement:

"Lumia 800 sales in the U.K. are off to an excellent start. Based on earliest data the sales start of the Lumia 800 is the best ever first week of Nokia smartphone sales in the U.K. in recent history. By our measures, we have gained significant smartphone sell-out share in the channels in which we are operating in the U.K."

As noted by Gigaom, the above statement is pretty vague and with no sale data published it's difficult to tell whether the company is actually doing extremely well with the launch or is attempting to liven the mood.. Were we really expecting a massive sell out? Probably not. Windows Phone is still young and requires much promotion to sway the minds of potential adopters. Nokia has come to the game with nothing and have spent erratically to pick up momentum for not only the Lumia family of handsets, but the platform as well. It's a tough assignment for a manufacturer who has been in trouble for some time.

Nokia has been busy focusing on "The Amazing Everyday" marketing campaign, with hosting impressive promotion events, setting up advertising effectively (including Heathrow Airport) and working closely with U.K. carriers. As we previously reported, the Finnish manufacturer has tripled their marketing expenditure, which should be setting the ground for their volume introduction of handsets in 2012.

The Lumia 710 and 800 (our review) are entry handsets, the first two from the Finnish company. They've continuously stated that 2012 will be the year for both Nokia and Windows Phone, while 2011 will see one or two devices to see the year through and show what Nokia is capable of. A turnaround that Nokia requires will not happen with the launch of two rushed devices on a new platform. This is going to be a marathon, just like Microsoft with Windows Phone. We'll have to wait and see how the two companies work together to make both the platform and Nokia handsets a success on a global scale.

Source: Gigaom, Reuters

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3 years ago

Free retro ZX Spectrum ringtones

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Free retro ZX Spectrum ringtones

David Bandey runs a retro video game music blog that holds a specific focus on the ZX Spectrum, and he's created eleven retro ringtones for Windows Phone now that Mango is here and we have custom ringtone support. Should you be a fan of classic titles including Amaurote, LED Storm and more, then these tones will be right up your street. For the future, Bandey plans to add more ringtones to the collection, not just from the ZX Spectrum, but other platforms too.

To download the ringtones, head on over to the Retro VGM blog.

Thanks Dave for the ringtones and letting us know!

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3 years ago

WPCentral Holiday Gift Guide: Windows Phones

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WPCentral Holiday Gift Guide: Windows Phones

With the Holiday Season fast approaching everyone is looking for the perfect gift for the Windows Phone user in their life. When it comes to gifts for the Windows Phone user, it's hard to beat a new phone.  There are a lot of new Windows Phones hitting the market and while each is a quality device, one may be more appealing than the other.

While we've reviewed most of the new Windows Phones hitting the market, hit the break to catch a quick overview of each of the new phones hitting the shelves this Holiday Season.

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3 years ago

Nokia Drive and Maps to be paid apps for non-Lumians? [Updated]

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There is semi-official confirmation from Nokia India on Twitter that least that the Nokia Drive app (that's the full voice navigation program) will be made available for non-Nokia phones--but for an undisclosed price.  Nokia Drive, up till this point, was thought to be an exclusive app for Nokia Windows Phones. But perhaps Nokia is either reconsidering this approach or this was always the plan and we're just hearing of it now.

The info comes by way of a Tweet stating that Drive would be free for Nokia users and paid for non-Lumia phones. This tweet was then reTweeted by Nokia India, which is the usual way of showing agreement on the Twitter.  About an hour later, Nokia India again re-Tweeted a similar message but this time about Nokia Maps--the Bing alternative app used for finding places near your location and some basic directions.

For Drive, we think this makes 100% sense for Nokia. After all, their app was just pirated a few days ago, so what better way to stem piracy than to offer it for a modest price to everyone? Nokia Maps, on the other hand, seems a bit odd to charge for as it seems like something they should give away. However, we have no idea on prices for either, so perhaps they're looking to keep it on the low-end of the pricing scale? Either way, while all of this seems legit, we'd still like to see a little more confirmation that this is indeed the plan for Nokia.

Update x2: We've just had word from ZOMGitsCj, and it appears there was a misunderstanding. Nokia Drive will not be making its way to other handsets via the Marketplace, it will be Lumia handsets only. Nokia Maps on the other hand will be made available for everyone.

Source: Nokia India (Twitter) 1, 2; via WPXbox

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3 years ago

Sprint knocks HTC Arrive's price down to $99

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Sprint has lowered the on-contract price of the HTC Arrive, arguably one of the best Gen 1 phones (see review), from $199 to $99. While you can find it cheaper on Amazon Wireless, when carriers lower the price it's a sign usually of the device's "life" winding down. So is Sprint getting ready to get rid of the Arrive? We're doubtful--the device clearly has a few more months left in it and we're not betting on any Sprint Gen 2 device news till CES in January.

The only thing we can tell you that we've heard is Sprint is one of the carrier's not throwing money at Nokia for their first US Windows Phone (Yeah, it's AT&T and Verizon, fighting for it, shocker). Take that as you will. The Arrive is a great phone though and for those who need a keyboard, it's pretty killer even at $99. Still, lets hope that Sprint gets at least two devices come winter.

Source: Sprint; Thanks, Cory S., Reese and Maria, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Farm Frenzy 2 ready to harvest from the Marketplace

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Ready for a hoedown? Farm Frenzy 2, the first Russian-developed Xbox Live game, is now available on Xbox Live. Yes, apparently Russia isn’t all ice and Tetris pieces. They also have farms!

Farm Frenzy 2 is a light farm sim that plays a bit like a time management game. Keeping your animals alive, harvesting the goods they produce, battling off wild bears (Russia, remember), selling goods at town, and having other supplies flown in… It’s all a day in the life of a farmer. Farm Frenzy 2’s levels are nice and short, but finishing them quickly enough to earn the Gold medal can be a real challenge. Whether you went to the A & M university in your state or a real school, give it a try.

Farm Frenzy 2 costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Just watch out for bears on your way to the Marketplace.

And don't forget, Tetris the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It joins Sonic 4, Full House Poker, and Assassin's Creed, which are also on sale this week.

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3 years ago

SlingPlayer Mobile finally goes Mango on Windows Phone

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It has been a long time since we talked about SlingPlayer (see our review)--mostly because we stopped using our Slingbox years ago and need to get a SOLO or PRO-HD model. But that hasn't stopped the Sling crew from doing updates for the mobile TV player. For those who are unfamiliar, Slingbox is a device that allows you to stream your TV/Cable, DVD or whatever video source to the internets, allowing you watch TV remotely at work, the hospital or wherever you can find a PC. You can also do it from your phone via the SlingPlayer software.

Version 1.7 finally adds Mango support (fast-app switching, a must for media) plus bug fixes (Grey screen issue and Remote latency). Since we don't use this fine piece of software, we can't give our thoughts on it, but we'll look in to fixing that (Translation: we're going to go by a new Slingbox). Pick up Slingplayer for the not-so-cheap price of $29.99 here in the Marketplace.

Thanks, Peter M., for the tip!

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3 years ago

WPCentral app hits v1.7 - hot fix edition!

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By now you may have received the update notification for the WPCentral app. It has been bumped to v1.7 and you're probably wondering what's new? Unfortunately, no new features as this was a "hot fix" for the recent site changes here.

If you recall, a few days ago we overhauled our content-management system (CMS) which broke a few things in the app. So if you're experienced some app crashes or images not showing, they should now work well in v1.7. The good news is the CMS change has given our trusty developer Jay a greenlight for adding commenting to the app. Yes, we know you want that feature and we don't blame you, but we had to do the boring backend stuff first. Going forward, not only will we avoid those 502 site-errors we had but we can expand and add new functions. Case in point, hover your mouse over the Mobile Nations Super Bar near the top of your browser, then scroll over each OS. Cool, eh

Haven't tried our official app yet? For shame! Grab the trial/free version here in the Marketplace. If you buy it for $0.99, you get no ads and Live Tile support. With nearly 25,000 downloads and consistently one of the top news app in the Marketplace, you can't go wrong.

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3 years ago

Microsoft Lync Mobile coming in next few weeks to Windows Phone, Android, BlackBerry and iOS

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Lync, the office communication tool from Microsoft, has been a long time in the making in coming to Windows Phone. We did see it recently at Nokia World, meaning its release was close, but now we have some more info. Evidently, Lync Mobile will be coming in the next 4 weeks, which should also be the time for Skype on Windows Phone. What's more, it also looks to be coming for Android, iOS and even BlackBerry.

The info comes form Gary Holden, a tech enthusiast out of Australia. While that in of itself doesn't qualify for rumor validation, Microsoft Australia re-Tweeted his info, placing a "Confirmed" in front of it, seemingly giving solid credence to the time-frame and multiple platforms. If true, and we believe it is, this is a huge win for Microsoft as Lync can rapidly expand to become the go-to app for inter-office communication.

Thanks, Amir, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Big App on Campus campaign

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Big App on Campus campaign

Introducing the Big app on Campus campaign where Microsoft and the Windows Phone team is out to reward student developers for all the time and effort poured into the platform. They are partnering with the band The Gracious Few to create an awesome experience for ten lucky students at SXSW. The lucky chosen few will attend a private concert, receive backstage passes, go to a private dinner with the band, and be interviewed on national radio about their apps.

If that wasn't enough, two $15,000 cash awards are to be given to the developers for the two apps that will be named "Big App on Campus" (one award going to the top free app and the other for the top paid app). The campaign is open to U.S. college and university students who build apps for Windows Phone. Each app created from August 1st 2011 until February 14th 2012 can be entered and students can submit multiple entries. Submissions are due by February 14th and the campaign ends on March 13th.

How will the submitted apps be judged?

  • Innovation (40%): How innovative is the app? Does it do something new or does it accomplish something in a new way?
  • Experience (40%): Does it feel seamless and like a native experience on Windows Phone? Does the app have a polished feel?
  • Potential (20%): Does the app have potential in the market (lots of users, making money, both) or not?

Public voting will include the combination of number of app downloads and Facebook "likes" accumulated. To enter, you'll need a submitted and approved app on the Marketplace and complete the entry form. Be sure to check out the official rules

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace statistics after one year

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We've been following the Marketplace closely since the platform officially launched in October of last year. The statistics has always made us quietly giggle to ourselves with the growth Windows Phone has witnessed in terms of quality apps being submitted and developers establishing themselves compared to Android and iOS. Distimo, a mobile analytics firm, has published Marketplace data in some pretty charts and graphs. Starting with the image above, we can see the steady growth of the Marketplace, which is well on its way to the 50,000 marker, and compare the increase of paid and free apps with the number of publishers.

From launch 70% of available apps were paid, and this trend continued until early this year where an influx of free apps stormed the Marketplace - accompanied by spam. You'll notice a growth halt between June and July this year, which was due to Microsoft decreasing the number of apps a developer can publish a day with similar functionality. Check out a few more charts after the break that run through app breakdown, the comparison of downloads between Apple and Windows Phone with top 300 free and paid apps, and the number of apps available in countries.

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3 years ago

Tetris returns as the Xbox Live Deal of the Week, eliminates four lines at once

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Anybody remember when Tetris was the Xbox Live Deal of the Week? Those days have returned, comrades. Tetris will again go on sale for $2.99 this week, down from $4.99.

The Windows Phone version of Tetris is actually quite slick. It’s got great visuals and a fine remix of the classic Tetris theme “Korobeiniki.” There are numerous gameplay variants such as Gravity and Radical that add a bit of variety to the game we’ve all played a million times before. Some have complained about the touch screen controls (swipe left and right to steer, tap to rotate, and swipe down to drop pieces), but I find them to be natural and effective. Our review also praises the game’s stat tracking.

Tetris will be on sale for $2.99 for one week only starting Wednesday. Puzzle fans can pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

BBC Radio apps receive update

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BBC Radio apps receive update

The BBC Radio apps for Windows Phone, by Igneous Software, have received an update that brings more functionality to the table. The apps themselves were recently updated to Mango two months ago so this is a welcomed refresh with taking advantage of more Mango-only features. Some of the included features are as follows:

  • Reminder function for programmes later in the schedule
  • Direct links to the selected BBC programme’s website
  • Better checks for playback over GSM if the option to block is set
  • Ability to pin the current station to the Start screen (BBC Radio Player only)
  • Addition of 16 new World Service channels including Arabic, Russian and French (BBC Radio Player only)

You can download BBC Radio from the Marketplace for £0.99 ($1.29). Remember that there are four individual apps for each radio station, these are all included in the main app should you wish to listen to more than one station.

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