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Latest figures published by market research group Kantar has revealed that Windows Phone is on the rise across the board, excluding a number of markets where sales remain low. The Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X and Samsung ATIV S are all high-end smartphones that will be pushing the platform forward in 2013 with potential marketshare gain in multiple locations, but how has the platform progressed through 2012?

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In a recent interview Google stated they will not devote any resources to making apps for either Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8. They have also now ceased consumer support for ActiveSync.  Some are calling it ‘war’ while others passionately question if Windows Phone can survive without Google products and services.

The relationship between Google and Microsoft has always been somewhat hostile. In many ways the battle they engage in now can be seen as a kind of echo from a distant technological past. Google have dug in their heels and to some degree shown their true colours by declaring zero support for Microsoft’s newest operating systems, Windows Phone and Windows 8.

But does it matter and has anything really changed?

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Probably the toughest problem any new user faces when switching platforms is finding comparable apps on their new OS. Sure, we have the Windows Phone Central forums to help and we try to do what we can here, but Nokia has something even better.

Nokia, in conjunction with Xyologic, have teamed up to bring a site called Find your Favorite Apps (www.xyo.net/lumia) that allows you to name the platform you’re coming from (iPhone, Android), choose one of 15 supported countries and then the app you are looking to pick up. The service then searches database and comes up with what it thinks is the best choice. Heck, it even auto-creates a QR code for quick and easy scanning.

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The Windows Phone Store (previously the Windows Phone Marketplace) has been growing at a fairly steady rate since the platform launched back in 2010. The number of apps and games available to consumers to download (both free and paid) is still increasing, and the platform has passed the 100,000 app milestone.

Since Windows Phone is a smaller ecosystem than both iOS and Android, is it worth investing in app and game development? According to data from EEDAR's 2012 Mobile Syndicated Reports, Windows Phone is actually a valid option for developers when it comes to monetisation. According to the reports, Windows Phone users spend more funds in the Store than users on competing platforms.

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Windows Phone 8 Rooms feature

Windows Phone 8 brings with it many improvements to its social abilities, one such improvement is the inclusion of “Rooms”.

Taking some of the ideas from Windows Phone 7’s Groups feature and expanding it out, the new feature allows for powerful social interaction with a selection of your contacts. Windows Phone has always been a powerful performer with regards to its social networking prowess and Rooms is going to take that a step further.

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Have you ever felt like adding your music to the cloud and being able to stream it anywhere, on multiple platforms? To listen to your own music library wirelessly? There are a number of options available, iTunes Match probably being the most likely recommendation, but they’re restricted in some way or another. Cue the introduction of Jukebox (www.get-jukebox.com).

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Platform exclusivity isn’t what it used to be these days. Several Windows Phone-exclusive Xbox games have moved to iOS in the past, including Kinectimals, Tentacles, Rocket Riot, Max and the Magic Marker, and more. Microsoft has even published Halo Waypoint and Xbox Live companion apps for Apple's competing platform. We can now add WP7’s sole Japanese-developed exclusive to that list as well. Dodonpachi Maximum from CAVE hits iOS on October 26.

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As we move ever closer to the launch of Windows 8 we also near the relaunch of Microsoft’s music services. All traces of Zune branding are being replaced with the upcoming Xbox Music.

On trying to go to www.zune.net we now get a re-direct to Xbox.com to be told that Zune Music is now Xbox Music. We’re going to miss that crazy pink and white website but it's had its time.

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Staff at Hackney Wick Station in east London have a dig

Apple's CEO Tim Cook has issued an open letter to customers on the company's official website (www.apple.com). The letter addresses iOS 6 Maps, which replaced the Google-powered solution with an in-house developed service from Apple. The mapping service has subsequently been under scrutiny and the subject of controversy due to the quality and accuracy of presented data.

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People really like the Lumia 920 but switching is always hard

In a new poll conducted by CouponCodes4u.com, 2,371 US smartphone owners between 18 and 35 were surveyed on the new Lumia 920 introduced by Nokia last week.

The survey found that most respondents were impressed by the new device with 61% of those interested intrigued by the PureMotion HD+ screen and 52% said the PureView camera system appealed to them.

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We first looked at live music service Pepper earlier this year at a previous WPUG event. The app and backend service impressed us with the variety of features available, as well as how unique the functionality is in a package we've yet to see elsewhere. Exclusively available for Windows Phone, we enjoyed having the Pepper team on-board pushing the platform further with continued support. We've now got word that an imminent update is on its way, as well as apps for both Windows 8 and the iPhone.

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Twitter has announced some sweeping changes to their all-important application programming interface or just API. This API is essential plumbing to allow application developers access to the “fire hose” of data from twitter. It has been no secret that Twitter wish to tighten their grip ever more over whom can access their system. With their latest set of guidelines, they show they mean business.

As Windows Phone users, we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to third party twitter apps, with the likes of Rowi, Carbon, glƏƏk!, Mehdoh and Birdsong (to name drop a few). The new API could mean real headaches for those trying to differentiate with their Twitter client...

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The speech recognition service, offering similar capabilities to Apples Siri is set to get a sweet little cash injection. The company has just walked away from talks to inject $5 million US into expanding its service to include more accents and languages.

The company is working closely with Nuance Communications to deliver mobile apps for Android and Apple devices and even bring the service to normal cell phones too. They aim to bring the service to tablets and computing headsets also.

Ask Ziggy also announced that they intend to release its SDK shortly. Sounds like good news for the company. It is clear that investors see the market value of these speech recognition systems. As Windows Phones users, we have had Ask Ziggy for some time and overall folks seem happy with the service.

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A recent paper presented at Black hat 2012 by Peter Hannay has demonstrated a vulnerability in how iOS and Android deal with certificates whilst operating with an Exchange Server. The good news in this report is that Peter was unable to trick Windows Phone 7.5 devices using the same methods.

Using a man in the middle attack combined with a generic fake certificate, they were able to gain some traction in sending a command to iOS and Android devices to commence a device wipe. When devices are connected via Active Sync they commit to accepting certain responsibilities, one of the most important and sensitive of which is the wipe command. They tested off two sets of Exchange 2010 servers. One running with a self-signed certificate, a very common configuration for small business and another using a certificate from a trusted certificate signing authority.

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Here at Windows Phone Central, we’re all big fans of strategy title ARMED! from Dallas-based indie developer Sickhead Games. Among the game’s many qualities are sharp 3D graphics, intuitive controls, online multiplayer, and of course, plenty of strategic depth. Not only that, but Sickhead has regularly updated the game since its release, tweaking and improving a variety of elements with each patch.

The latest update, version 1.6 is no less impressive than previous updates. The update just went live so look for it pushing out any time.  We've got the full list of changes to share with you, the most impressive of which is the new price: $2.99, down from $3.99. That and more ARMED! news after the break.

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In a new study just released tonight, Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 3,632 'Appcelerator Titanium' developers from May 11-18, 2012 on their plans for app development now and in the future. Though not a survey of consumer demand the data is but one piece of the bigger picture of how Windows Phone (and Android, iOS, BlackBerry and webOS) is fairing amongst developers. For that reason, it should be considered as a metric but not necessarily the only one to measure interest or future success.

The news is not very good for Windows Phone but there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the future iterations of the OS, specifically the ‘Apollo’ update coming later this year.  That's interesting as Windows Phone has been coasting on ‘hope’ for nearly two years now and developers have not yet completely abandoned it, seeing weakness in Android.

For a complete run down, head past the break…

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We last looked at PhoneGap, the Adobe-owned open source mobile development platform, when version 1.3 arrived which included support for Windows Phone. Adobe has now released 2.0 and further expands on the feature set provided to developers who wish to build apps that can easily be submitted to multiple platform app stores.

Using HTML5, CSS and Javascript, PhoneGap allows those who do not possess the knowledge of mobile platform native code to create and release apps for all the supported operating systems. So what's new in version two-point-oh? The team have implemented a new command line interface for building iOS apps, which removes issues surrounding Apple's Xcode tools, adds more support for enterprise app development, includes enhanced user guides and documentation, as well as security and stability improvements.

Cordova WebView is also present, which allows for the integration of PhoneGap as a larger native application. Listed with the new features is "Windows Phone support", which we're slightly confused at since it was added in version 1.3. We've reached out to the PhoneGap team for clarification just in case there are some incredibly useful features added. We'll update the article once we've received a reply.

Source: CMSWire

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Microsoft continues to flesh out their Xbox live app for those of us that have iPads. The latest update brings more of the once exclusive features of the Windows Phone Companion App to iOS users. Unlike Windows Phone, which has a combination of apps to take care of Xbox live business, the iPad rolls all the functions into one. Personally, I like it all integrated into one whole and have been a little confused as to why the Windows Phone has essentially stuck with the Xbox Hub plus the two addition apps called Xbox Companion app and Xbox LIVE Extras App.

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Microsoft has updated the Xbox Live Companion app for iOS and released a version for the Android system. While there was no movement on the Windows Phone version, the iOS update may be a good indicator on what might be in store.

The Xbox Live Companion update for iOS takes that app to version 1.5 and adds the following features for the iPhone or iPad.

  • Discover fresh content from the iPhone
  • Connect to and control content on your Xbox console from the iPhone
  • Authentication improvements for the iPad
  • Retina display support for the iPad

The Android version of the Xbox Live Companion is limited to:

  • View, manage, and message friends
  • View Xbox achievement progress
  • View and edit your LIVE profile
  • Edit your avatar
  • Stay connected to the Xbox Live community via Spotlight
  • Access recent activity and manage beacons

While it's nice to see Microsoft continuing to improve iOS and Android users connectivity with their Xbox console it would have been nice to have seen the Windows Phone app given a little attention. Then again, SmartGlass will eventually become available and may make the companion app obsolete.

Source: Major Nelson

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