changelog

Over the last week, there’s been a flurry of information about Windows Phone 8.1, due to be announced in only five weeks at Build. It's been overwhelming, so we’d like to direct your attention to our continually updated ‘feature list’ page for 8.1

It’s hard navigating through all the noise, so this is a one-stop, bullet point list, organized by category. Hopefully you’ll be able to get the bigger picture of what may be included in the final, release-to-manufacture (RTM) version, expected at the beginning of April.

If you're in our app, swipe right and choose View Links! Did we miss anything? We probably did, so add them to our forum’s thread, and we’ll attempt to verify and add it to the master list!

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If you’re like us, you’re pretty excited about getting a new OS and firmware update this afternoon from Nokia on your AT&T Lumia 1020. While we’ve known that Lumia Black (new Nokia firmware) and Update 3 (new version of Windows Phone 8) were on the horizon, no one saw them being released this early. But you may be asking yourself, what’s new?

Luckily for you, we have all the details. You don’t have an AT&T Lumia 1020? Don’t fret. Your update will be coming too, but for now, you can crib off of this list to get an idea of what’s coming.

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Windows Phone 8 GDR3 to be delivered in the coming weeks, bringing many new features to current and future hardware

This morning at 8 AM ET, Microsoft officially pulled the veil off of the highly anticipated General Distribution Release 3 (GDR3), the third and final OS update for Windows Phone 8 before next year’s 8.1 overhaul. This comes just days after AT&T in the US began to push out GDR2 for current Lumia 820 and 920 users and the nearly complete worldwide launch of that second update.

Microsoft updates their mobile OS through a series of updates, called GDRs, which are akin to the Service Packs of Windows desktop from years ago. In addition to full OS updates, GDRs are meant to add fixes to the OS for bugs, bring new features to current users and enable new hardware options for their hardware partners.

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News this morning has come out regarding some more changes coming to Windows Phone 8 General Distribution Release 3 and Nokia's Bittersweet shimmer. Most of these features we have been aware of for some time, in fact we re-capped them on Saturday with the Glance screen information, but there are a few new tidbits to give a clearer idea of the big picture.

The info comes by way of Nawzil, who has been posting quite a bit of information regarding Microsoft and Nokia’s plans for the upcoming OS and firmware update. We have heard that GDR3’s features have been briefed by Microsoft with various people recently, so we’re not too surprised to hear information is now coming forward—leaks are leaks.

So what’s new? Let’s take a look.

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We already brought you news earlier today that Verizon and Nokia were updating the Lumia 928 with the GDR2 and Amber OS and firmware. While most of those features have been previously reported, Verizon has gone ahead and highlighted the key changes, in case you wanted to know.

The updated info comes via their website where they list the alterations in a PDF file. For your convenience, we’ll republish those key changes below.

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Although we have gone over a lot of the changes in the Windows Phone 8 ‘Portico’ update that started rolling out today (build 10211), there were a few tiny nuggets that even we missed.

Luckily Microsoft has gone ahead and printed out all the changes in detail on the site and while there is nothing that’s stop-the-presses, the details should satisfy those who need to know.

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A lot of hay has been made over Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3/build 8773 of Microsoft's mobile OS. The update contains a lot of minor things and is mostly focused on compatibility with 256MB devices for emerging markets and low-cost Windows Phones.

Nokia is hard at work with updating their ROMs for all Lumia phones and in fact if you use Navifirm to check, the Lumia 710 and 800 are getting heavily populated with new Tango updates, presumably being readied for roll-out in June.

We grabbed one of those ROM, OS 8773 with firmware 12120 from Mexican carrier Telcel to see what it has on board. Presumably, these changes you see in the above video will also be on the Lumia 800 and 900 ROMs as well, so consider this a sneak peek. Here is what's new:

  • Call forwarding - forward your calls to a designated number for (1) all calls (2) when I don't answer (3) when I am busy (4) when my phone is turned off
  • Call waiting - enable/disable
  • SMS delivery confirmation* - on/off
  • MMS delivery confirmation* - on/off
  • SMS Character set - Reduced (no accents, standard SMS) or Full
  • Send MMS acknowledgement* - on/off
  • Internet Sharing (aka WiFi tethering)
  • Enhanced MMS - Send voice notes, multiple images, video
  • Nokia branded Marketplace icon

As you can see, some of those features are pretty great (especially Internet Sharing) but they're also not necessarily "must have" items either, making Tango a minor update, something we've been emphasizing for some time now. Still, Nokia has done a nice job here and we expect T-Mobile to roll this out sometime in June officially (just a guess).

Some of you may wonder if the OS feels any different (faster, smoother, etc.) and to our eyes, no, it feels exactly the same. Perhaps there are some optimizations here and there but we really didn't notice it. We should also note the MMS issues we had in the video are probably due to this not being a T-Mobile ROM and more over, Nokia pulled their Network app to be fixed  (it'll be back soon) so we can't configure our MMS gateway for T-Mobile.

If you have any questions, ask away in comments. And yes, we'll see about whipping up a tutorial on how loaded Tango on our T-Mobile phone for you 'leet hackrz out there.

* Items with asterisk were not covered in video

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T-Mobile Radar 4G's software update

And since the international HTC Titan received an update this morning, we finally got around to updating our U.S. T-Mobile Radar 4G which is getting its first firmware refresh too (the unlocked version received one a few weeks ago). Here are the software changes.

  • Firmware - 20102 (old - 10802)
  • Bootloader - 2.1 (old - 1.8)
  • Radio - 03.17_ 16.27.00 (old - 02.09_2_16.24.00)

It seems clear that HTC is moving to a 2.x bootloader and 2.x firmware for both the Titan and Radar, meaning the AT&T Titan could very well get a refresh soon too.

The update took about 20 minutes and we even gained a teeny amount of space back (see above) which was kind of nice. There's no word either on what this addresses, but presumably its for performance and fixes--some of which we hope to find in the next few days (lets us know if you notice any).

Also, the international version of the HTC Radar, at least on T-Mo in the Netherlands, received a software refresh yesterday too:

  • Firmware - 20103 (old - 10902)
  • Bootloader - 2.1 (old - 1.9)

Thanks, HPDeskjet, for the info

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WinRumors reports that the NoDo update should be coming today for some phones--namely unbranded ones. No source is given, just that they heard users should be getting an update notification sometime soon. We just checked our AT&T and T-Mo Windows Phones and no dice there, so we'll have to wait and see about when the carriers unleash NoDo--our bet is it could be a few days.

Adding legitimacy though to the claim is the fact that Microsoft just updated their support page to list the full changelog of NoDo. While we knew copy/paste, faster performance and better Marketplace search were on board, we noticed a few other changes unmentioned (e.g. the Marketplace update process). Now, Microsoft has given all the details, published after the break and they may be small, but are still important. Thanks to everyone who sent this in...

Update: Reader Morten Romslo confirms on his non-branded HTC Trophy: "...just conected my HTC Tropy to Zune, and the NoDo update was ready for install. No carrier phone europe"

See the full changelog for 'NoDo' after the break...it's pretty lengthy!...

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Last week we covered a flurry of updates for Xbox Live titles, including The Harvest, ilomilo, and iBlast Moki. We had some trouble digging up release notes for Crackdown: Project Sunburst’s version 1.2 update though. At last, the contents of the update have been revealed.

Crackdown: Project Sunburst v1.2.0.0 changelog:

  • Overall connectivity is more stable and reliable.
  • Fixed an issue where players who moved phones were not able to play the game.
  • Fixed bugs related to Friends’ bases not scrolling or displaying properly.
  • Improvements to the My Bases screen to make it more clear what things do.
  • More consistent integration of player’s overall GPS settings.
  • Added a FAQ link in Help and Options that links to the Facebook page.
  • Numerous other small fixes.

Sounds good, right? Brace yourself… We’ve heard rumblings at the game’s Facebook page and other places that this update is causing some users to lose their save files, destroying hours of work. The Slumber Party Achievement has also become unattainable for some people, presumably forcing them to sleep by themselves, which is never fun. Project Sunburst is an innovative game, but it’s disheartening to see that after several months of release it still doesn’t work quite right.

Don’t let me scare you away from trying it out, though. Crackdown: Project Sunburst is a unique tower defense game that integrates with Bing maps to allow players to defend real world locations. Our review found the gameplay quite addictive. Buy it for $2.99 or try the demo here (opens a link to your Zune software) on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Kathy Richardson at Microsoft for the release notes.

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Since we initially mentioned Haypi Kingdom, the first Massively Multi-player Online game for Windows Phone 7, the game has been updated twice. These updates come as no surprise - MMOs are huge, constantly evolving games. Let's look at what's been added or tweaked. Note that we've edited these a little for clarity and inserted our own comments.

Haypi Kingdom version 2.10.0.0 change log:

  • Enhancement system added: You can improve your current equipment with enhancement stones, which can be attained via hunting, daily gift, competition or purchased from NPC. The enhancements can be made to create additional attribute points to your current equipment, enhancing your prowess on the battlefield.
  • Two new chest types (Gold and Silver) added: These special chests can be gained from war or as daily gifts. They need to be unlocked by coins and there are many alluring surprises in them including coins or valuable treasure. You can also choose to sell the chest to get money.

There's a lot more after the jump...

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The Harvest version 1.2 changelog

The Harvest, an Xbox Live action-RPG from Luma Arcade, received an update recently. Hey, when it rains, it pours. How has Luma's Windows Phone 7-exclusive title improved?

The Harvest v1.2.0.0 change log:

  • Fixed a bug that could cause a random crash to hub when loading save games due to non-thread safe access of Leaderboards
  • Fixed a bug in the French language version that would cause specific breakable objects to not be visible
  • Fixed a bug introduced in version 1.1 where players would start at the level entrance when loading a save game, if it was a game saved during game dialog
  • Fixes to the Teleporters in The Ancient City and The Catacombs to allow them to not cause players to be blocked if they had been affected by the level start save load bug from v1.1
  • Fixed a bug with game music not always starting properly after the Intro movie

As you can see, this update consists of numerous bug fixes. Luma Arcade actually submitted the update a month ago, but Microsoft’s slow approval process kept it from releasing until now. Shame on the big MS for the heel dragging, but kudos to Luma Arcade for further perfecting an already very impressive game.

The Harvest is an action-RPG set in a distant future in which aliens have conquered humanity. Thanks to the development of armored mech suits, the remaining pockets of humans finally have a chance to fight back. Our review praises the game’s beautiful 3D graphics, easy controls, multiple playable characters, and diversity of upgrade options.

The Harvest carries the lofty $6.99 price tag, but it’s definitely a top-tier Windows Phone 7 game. Buy it or try the demo here (Zune link) at the Marketplace.

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iBlast Moki version 1.1 changelog

iBlast Moki , the Xbox Live puzzle game from Godzilabs, received an update today. We thought you might like to know about what’s been changed.

iBlast Moki v1.1.0.0 changelog:

  • The controls are much better in the world and level list on HTC HD7.
  • Gold medal for Mountainland/Balance can be obtained with a time less than 3 secs instead of 1.4 secs
  • You can get the Achievement "Finished all levels ... " with the bronze medals
  • Fixed the purple screen of confusion that you could get on some phones.
  • Fixed the slowdown when unlocking the "Speed of …" Achievements
  • Also added a few instructions tutorial to guide the player in the levels Pond, Bounce and Wait Hills
  • Added a failed screen if the Moki falls below a certain limit

Previously, one level’s gold medal time was unattainable in the Windows Phone 7 version of the game, making an Achievement impossible to acquire. Thankfully that’s been fixed, along with the “Finish All Levels” Achievement’s requirements. The extra help text should be appreciated as the game’s puzzles eventually get quite devious. And of course, HTC HD7 owners will finally be able to run the game properly, so Samsung Focus users like me will have one less thing to gloat about.

iBlast Moki is a physics-based puzzle game for Windows Phone 7. Players are challenged with knocking one or more round ‘Mokis’ into goals using nothing but well-timed bombs to guide them. With over 70 levels and a bright, endearing art style, fans of puzzle games and Angry Birds should definitely give it a look. We’ll have a full review soon.

You can get iBlast Moki for $2.99 or try the free trial here (Zune Link) on the Marketplace.

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