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3 years ago

Microsoft officially launches Windows Phone in China [Photos]

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Today is March 21st which means Microsoft took the big step in growing the Windows Phone ecosystem by releasing the mobile OS in mainland China.

Launching on numerous devices, including the HTC Triumph (aka TITAN), the Nokia Lumia 800c and offerings from ZTE (including the Orbit/Mimosa), Microsoft looks to regain some ground in the smartphone war by offering a variety of hardware running the refresh of Windows Phone 7.5 "Tango" (build 8773) in one of the largest emerging markets in the world.

The press conference was held in Beijing in a makeshift warehouse with HTC, Nokia, ZTE, Qualcomm and Samsung all in attendance. In addition, Simon Leung Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region was also there to introduce the operating system to the audience. The press conference involved a demonstration of the OS, new hardware, Skydrive, Office as well as mention the more than 2,000 Chinese applications already in the Marketplace, including 50 top tier apps.

Overall, it looks to have been a successful launch though of course, it remains to be seen how keen on Windows Phone China is in the next few months as these devices go on sale around the massive country.

See more photos and coverage at WinP.cn; Thanks, Lucas, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Glow Artisan is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week; Tentacles gets a price drop

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The new Deal of the Week is a repeat sale, but thankfully it's for a game that hasn't been on sale in a while: Glow Artisan. You can get it for just $1.99. If that's not savings enough, Tentacles has also received a permanent price drop to $2.99. What else do both games have in common? They're not easy!

Glow Artisan is a colorful puzzle game with an artistic bent. Players are tasked with recreating a pixelated picture by drawing colored lines and overlapping lines to make new colors. Achievement-wise it gets pretty tough due to some strict time limits, but if you’re just playing for fun, this title will give you a glowing smile. Check out our review for more info.

Tentacles is the story of Lemmy, a microscopic, artificially-created, tentacled creature. He journeys through 40 stages inside a mad scientist’s body, eating tons of eyes along the way. That’s the good part – the bad part is the countless unnecessary deaths due to poor design decisions like taking control away from the player when you’re getting hit and the occasional horrible currents that push Lemmy to his doom. For the full story, check out my review. But Tentacles has a lot of fans who don’t mind the whacked-out difficulty, so the sale price may be right up your alley. It also just received an 80 MS Point DLC expansion that adds 16 new levels but no extra Achievements.

Glow Artisan is on sale for $1.99 for one week only, down from $2.99. Marketplace link

Tentacles now permanently costs $2.99, down from $4.99. Marketplace Link

Thanks to Lucas for the clarification on Tentacles' price drop.

 

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: PES 2012 runs onto the field ahead of schedule for Windows Phone

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Last week Gerbil Physics went up on the Marketplace a bit early, and it’s happened again this week. Somebody at the big MS is on the ball! Anyway, you can now buy this week’s Xbox Live release, Pro Evolution Soccer 2012.

What’s new in PES 2012? Well, you can’t tell from the official description, which sounds just about identical. Here it is:

  • Unrivalled realism: Experience incredible gameplay and focus on tactics, goals and winning trophies while competing against the most advanced team and player AI on the market. Striking animations such as referee cut-scenes or goal celebrations and technical moves (diving header, bicycle kick, and more) will make you feel the beauty of the game.
  • Exclusive UEFA Club Competitions: PES 2012 includes many of the best European club teams in the officially licensed UEFA Champions League™ and UEFA Europa League™ modes.
  • Online connectivity: Prove your skills and unlock the various Xbox LIVE achievements, compare yourself to your friends, make it to the top of the leaderboards and become the world’s greatest PES player.
  • Outstanding Accessibility for Beginners and Experts: The uniquely designed true flow™ control system provides instant access for players of all levels by utilising the accelerometer and AI-supported touch controls. More advanced players are presented with unlimited freedom of play by being able to master classic console-style controls with virtual pad and buttons.
  • Stunning graphics: Detailed stadiums, pitches and weather effects provide the perfect visual environment for exciting matches
  • Avatar awards: These aren't listed in the official description, but we have it on good authority that they're coming in the near future.

Hmm... One of those bullet points doesn't add up. Having played both PES 2011 on Windows Phone and PES 2012 on Xbox 360, I can tell you without a doubt that this series is not accessible for beginners. It’s an extremely realistic and challenging depiction of soccer, which is great for people who’ve been playing it for years. Me, I just couldn’t get overcome the learning curve. You might also consider that the PES 2011 was delisted from the Marketplace without warning, which will likely happen to 2012 once next year’s version gets closer to release. Hopefully Microsoft starts allowing users to back up or redownload delisted games between now and then, but I’m not holding my breath.

Enough commentary! Football/soccer fans who want to play their sport on Windows Phone can’t do any better than Pro Evolution Soccer, and that’s what matters. PES 2012 costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Natres for the tip!

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3 years ago

Lock Screen Widgets for Windows Phone beta released [Homebrew]

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Lock Screen Widgets, a concept by Windows Phone Hacker, has just been released as beta to the homebrew community. With this app, the user will be able to add app information in the form of small live tile widgets on the lock screen. Information displayed can range from weather reports to RSS feeds. We previously looked at the preview video of the concept last week, but now you're able to try it out for yourself.

To be able to use Lock Screen Widgets, you'll need a rooted Windows Phone. Remember that this is the beta version so issues are to be expected, and feedback is appreciated by the developer. Optimisation and further improvements are currently in development, so be sure to keep up-to-date with progress. Head on over to Windows Phone Hacker to download the beta.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker; Thanks, Jesus, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Cross-platform messaging service PingMe now available for Windows Phone

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We previously touched on PingMe making a move to Windows Phone, the cross-platform messenger that's already available for iOS, Android and Blackberry is now available on the Marketplace for free. Should the likes of Kik and WhatsApp not fulfil your needs enough, you'll be able to enjoy the following features with PingMe:

  • Cross-platform and will enable communication with iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Blackberry devices.
  • Record and send voice and video clips.
  • Receive real-time message receipts with typing indicators and sent / delivered / read notifications.
  • Engage in group chat with numerous contacts at any given time (ability to create circles / groups).
  • No registration is required. Your number is your ID.
  • Receive social updates from close friends to stay up-to-date.
  • Locate friends and contacts nearby with geo-location enabled messages.
  • Push notification will keep you alerted when a message is received.
  • Find friends or known acquaintances with the included friend finder functionality.

It's an appealing app with some interesting functionality that will be right up some Windows Phone owners' streets. You can download PingMe from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Review: Photo Booth

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3 years ago

Nokia Drive version 2.0 with offline navigation now available

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Nokia Drive (our review) version 2.0 has been released and is available for download on the Marketplace. The Windows Phone turn-by-turn navigation app from Nokia now sports offline navigation to further cut the use of data. With this functionality not dependant on your connectivity (or data allowance), you'll be able to drive with peace of mind.

As well as the offline use, we've also got "Last Destinations" that can be selected for user convenience. The ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) of the selected destination is also displayed along with the speed you're currently travelling at (as well as on the route selection screen next to the distance). An audio speed limit alert can be set up in the settings, which will sound should the user exceed the road limit.

Should you really want to take an in-depth look at how Nokia Drive can help you on your way, be sure to check out the user guide (updated for version 2.0).

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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3 years ago

Nokia wants incoming calls to vibrate your tramp stamp; Patents haptic tattoos

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Nokia is taking phone notifications to an extreme with a new patent, tattoos that react with your phone using haptics, the same vibratory interaction that you experience when typing on a touchscreen keyboard.  A recent submission to the United States Patent and Trade Office describes a haptic material that would react to magnetic signals sent out by your mobile device.  So you set your phone up to let you know when a call is coming in, the phone then emits a specific magnetic signal, and the material reacts by vibrating.  Different signals could be assigned for different functions.

Initially, the patent explains that users would wear the material on clothing, stick-on patches, etc.  However, it goes on to apply the functionality to magnetic inks, which can then be embedded into the skin in the form of tattoos.  That process gets a little more involved, first demagnetizing the ink, applying the tattoo, then magnetizing it once again.

It's a wacky, creepy kind of idea that one would expect from an old sci-fi comic, but it's also feasible enough to become a reality.  So if you're someone who really hates missing calls, this could be just the thing for you.  That is, until you decide to trade in your Nokia for the latest HTC device.

Source: USPTO; Via: UnwiredView

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3 years ago

Nokia Maps version 1.3 now available with new features

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Following the 2.0 update to Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps has been bumped to version 1.3 and is now available on the Marketplace. So, what's new? Nokia have expanded the reach of the service, with added support for more Asian countries. But that's not all as users can now personalise their favourite places on their Windows Phone, which can be subsequently pinned to the home screen.

Recent locations and destinations are listed next to the favourites for more convenient access to the app history. Should you require more "Places" to visit around your location, more points of interest are now displayed on the map. Lastly, users can now share routes and destinations via social networks (using built-in connectivity), which is an interesting addition.

You can download Nokia Maps from the Nokia Collection on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Facebook notification trouble with the "Me" tile?

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According to a number of reports on our forums, coupled with confirmation by the team, there appears to be an issue with Facebook notifications and the "Me" tile. The issue is it seems as though the notifications sent through get caught up and continuously alert the user to the same content.

Some of our readers have stated that the service corrected itself over time and now functions as it should (while others have to resort to clearing notifications via the Facebook app), but it still remains to be a particular annoyance to many. We're not sure as of yet whether this is due to Facebook's service or with Microsoft servers. 

We previously had issues with Twitter notifications back in January, so this is nothing new unfortunately. Be sure to let us know in the comments, and join in the discussion over at our forums, should you be experiencing issues as well.

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Zombies!!! 3.5: Not Dead Yet! Expansion Details and Impressions

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We mentioned a few weeks ago that Babaroga’s survival horror-themed board game, Zombies!!! (review) would soon be receiving its first PDLC expansion pack, known as ‘Zombies!!! 3.5: Not Dead Yet!’ As it turns out, the expansion has quietly slipped onto the Marketplace and won’t require a new title update. Finding it might prove a challenge though – you have to actually start a New Game and then select Expansion Packs from the top of the screen. While ‘Not Dead Yet!’ may not be easy to find, its price is fairly easy to swallow: 160 MS Points ($2), a bit lower than anticipated.

Head past the break for WPCentral’s exclusive detailed descriptions of the expansion’s contents, hands-on impressions, and Achievement tips.

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3 years ago

Splinter Cell: Conviction - Xbox Windows Phone Review

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On Windows Phone, Gameloft is known for producing some glitchy games. There’s Brain Challenge, a game with an amazing six broken Xbox Live Achievements; and even the otherwise great Let’s Golf 2 has one Achievements that’s impossible by design. Yet on the iOS platform, the ‘Loft has a much different reputation. They’ve made a name for themselves by either porting or cloning big-name console titles to iPhone, usually quite competently. Splinter Cell: Conviction falls into the licensed game category. And luckily for Windows Phone gamers, it’s free of technical problems and glitched Achievements that have plagued previous Gameloft ports.

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3 years ago

Latest IDC survey finds developer interest in Windows Phone holding steady

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Some mixed news coming out today from a survey of 2, 173 developers taken in late January by IDC and app tools maker Appcelerator. Developer interest in making apps for Windows Phone is at 37% which is just a 1% less than the previous report back in November--in other words, statistically it's the same.

That's good and bad. The good news is that RIM is continuing to plunge from 20% to less than 16% leaving Windows Phone to be the clear "number three" in the mobile OS space (when factoring out tablets). The bad news is even with the Lumia 800, developers are still not jumping on the Windows Phone bandwagon as expected (or needed). Despite this, Appcelerator says "interest remains high" for the freshman OS even in the face of unimpressive device sales to date.

The survey was conducted just days after the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 was announced, so developer interest in that device had barely had anytime to register for this survey (not to mention it has not gone on sale yet). Only 18% of those surveyed were interested in developing for the Lumia devices, meaning Nokia still has some word to do to sway devs that Windows Phone is worth it.

Interest in Android, however, did slip from previous quarters which lead the researchers to conclude that there's a “small but steady erosion” in developing for that platform, perhaps a result of fragmentation and issues with getting devices on par with ICS. Meanwhile, iOS is holding steady from previous quarters.

In the end, this latest survey reinforces what we already know: iOS is number one and steady, Android is a strong number two but slowly eroding and Windows Phone is in a steady-state with under 40% of developer interest. What is needed is a game-changer and at this stage, Windows Phone 7 may not be it. But to quote Yoda, "there is another"...it's Windows Phone 8.

Source: Appcelerator; via: GigaOm, ZDNet, Reuters

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3 years ago

Baseball legend John Kruk recruited for Nokia Lumia 900 commercial

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While we wait for the AT&T Lumia 900 to grace our growing Windows Phone collection here at WPCentral, it shouldn't be a surprise that Nokia is already thinking about how to promote the darn thing. Their attempt at "carpet bombing" consumers with Lumia ads is called Operation Rolling Thunder and one of those strategies may be using famous baseball player (and current ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst) John Kruk in some shape or form.

We know this because the man himself tweeted as much yesterday, stating:

"In St.Pete, doing a tv commercial for Nokia, got to preview the new Lumia 900, very cool"

No other details were given, so we don't yet know in which capacity Kruk was used, but safe to say it's for AT&T and presumably the Lumia 900. Should be interesting to see what comes of it in the coming weeks.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Will (@h11wiscan), for the tip!

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3 years ago

WPCentral App nominated for Nokia Conversations' March Madness contest

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We're both flattered and excited to see that our own WPCentral App has been nominated in the 'news & entertainment' category for the March Madness contest by Nokia Conversations.

A total of 32 apps have been pitted against each other ranging from Carbon to Plants vz Zombies to IMdB. Voting will take place through out the week for the various categories with 'games' going on now. Our app is up against All About Windows Phone, which should have an interesting result (voting is in a few days). The winner will be crowned on April 2nd making this an exciting two-weeks of voting and teeth gnashing for all who are nominated.

We'd just like to extend our congratulations to our developer Jay Bennett and Rich Edmonds (who handled the graphics), as well as a thanks to Nokia Conversations for the nomination!

Source: Nokia Conversations; Thanks, Residing, for the heads up!

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