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Welcome to another From the Forums, where we bring you the latest and greatest discussions from the Windows Phone Central forums. It has been a rather busy day with a lot of articles being pumped through our feed so we figured it would be a jolly good idea to wrap up the discussions that are on-going in our community.

We've opened up two new forums for the HTC 8X and HTC 8S, which were both unveiled by HTC today in New York. If you're considering purchasing one of the two new Windows Phones from HTC, be sure to head on over to the designated sections to engage with other readers in relevant discussions.

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Did Apple's announcement help Nokia buy time?

Just over one week ago as Nokia took to the stage to announce their new Windows Phone 8 devices, their stock value dropped 16% in a single day upon the news. To many of us, this was confusing if only because the devices themselves really seemed great—but the problem was (and still is) the uncertainty created by not announcing price and availability.

We had an excellent analysis of the situation by our own Chris Umiastowski and noted how this was probably temporary and not warranted.

Since that time, Nokia’s stock has slowly climbed back up but there was another hurdle in the distance: Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement. The anticipation was if Apple announced something truly groundbreaking—revolutionary instead of evolutionary—it would further damage perception of Nokia to investors. The iPhone 5 is already one of the top selling phones in the world and it just got way better? That’s bad if you’re betting on Nokia.

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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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Last night during Nokia’s par-tay we managed to check out their little photo challenge area. In short, they literally had a cubby hole in a brick wall where you could mosey on up with your smartphone, snap a pic and then Nokia would do the same with the Lumia 920.

Of course the Lumia 920 is better positioned to win such a contest, after all it has everything: lens stabilization, a larger BSI sensor, F/2.0 aperture and some funky Nokia algorithms to top it all off. And indeed, challenge after challenge we saw the 920 crush any phone that attempted the feat—iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S3—all were smoked.

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Windows Phone has been growing at a steady rate, mainly down to advertising campaigns and brand pushes from Nokia with its Lumia family of smartphones. According to data released today by IDC, the platform has been sporting a year-on-year growth increase of 115% - not bad, eh? IDC also notes that the OS has been closing the gap between itself and Blackberry in the last quarter in the fight to become the 3rd major player in the smartphone market.

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Nokia has reportedly shipped 6.9 million Lumias

Sales numbers and estimates are always a tricky thing, especially when you don’t have concrete numbers to work with. We also tend to boast the good news and downplay the bad so with that caveat we’ll provide you the latest in “market analysis”. Don’t worry, this one is mostly good.

Strategy Analytics is making quite the name for themselves this day if only because they tend to buck the trend when it comes to Nokia and Windows Phone. In their latest report (available here to subscribers), they claim that Nokia shipped (not necessarily sold) 6.9 million Lumia Windows Phone since its launch in Q4 2011 and up through Q2 2012. 

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SoundGecko is coming to Windows Phone soon

With today's busy world, sometimes finding time to read you favorite article or keep up with the news can be difficult. Luckily, there may be a solution for some of you on the horizon. 

SoundGecko is a new, amazing service where you find any article, email it to them, and they will send you back an MP3 file of that article. The service can connect up with your SkyDrive or DropBox service to automatically deposit audio files of new articles, allowing to you to pull them down on-the-go. The smartphone app is simply a method to flag articles for the service for conversion.

Currently, the app is only available on the iPhone and Chrome browser (via an extension) but fear not, a Windows Phone version is in the works and we'll have some information on that coming soon...

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Editorial - Windows Phone getting fragged

Fragmentation is the modern day Darwinism. Only the strong survive and technology is not above this rule. Every three months there is something, bigger, badder, better. There is no doubt in any ones mind that there is always something more amazing coming out when you buy a new phone. Back in the 1990's and early 2000's, when you bought a phone, you expected it just to work. Smartphones were called PDA's and they were like a mini computer. They were big, expensive, clunky and were complicated to learn for the average consumer. Then the iPhone was born and took the world by fire.

After the iPhone, there was Android with their unshackled operating system. There were many promises with both operating systems that there would be improvements with hardware, software, and how you would interact with their devices. No one thought they would have to buy a new phone every two years to take advantage of the newer software and hardware.

The older generation of cell phone owners keep their phones for as many years as they can. They will duct tape, glue, rubber band, their phone together because they feel they shouldn't have to buy a new phone. It should just work forever.

We can all agree, technology moves at a fast pace. Currently Android has five versions running ( Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Donut) in the market. with Jelly Bean just announced. The iPhone has about 3 versions of its operating system, and Windows Phone also has 3 (NoDo, Mango, Tango) which are hardware independent.

The current generation of Smartphone users are use to the 2 year cycle and getting new hardware and software at the end of their contracts. Even newer smartphone users that get their phones in 2012 always want the next big thing now!  

They don't want to wait 2 years for a new phone, because when they see what they missed out on, they get upset and sometimes cancel their accounts and start a new contract with another carrier, just to get the newest phone.

Android and Apple started the fragmentation game and we are all playing by its rules. Microsoft recently announced that current Windows Phone will not get Windows Phone 8, but will get a version of it called 7.8. Twitter users reacted with outrage because Windows Phone was the last OS that kept everyone phone current with updates. Microsoft delivered the Mango update to 100% of eligible phones last year. It is safe to say that every Windows Phone is running the current software. For most people this was a great change. No more fragmentation for a platform.

At the Windows Phone Developer Summit, Microsoft announced that with Windows Phone 8, there will be a change for hardware. This leap in technology is giving the platform, NFC support, dual core processors, higher resolution displays, and removable SD card support. The current Windows Phones hardware doesn't have any of these new specs. In order to give customers what they want, there had to be a change. It created fragmentation, but Microsoft is completely upfront about these changes.

Unlike Android or iOS, where you have to read the fine print, or scour the internet looking for clues to what devices will receive the latest software. Microsoft is being honest and telling their customers why this is happening. I can empathize with people who just bought Lumia 900's or the Titan 2, but a large amount of regular users never ask about updates. They see the phone, love how it works, and are satisfied with what they have now.

With greater hardware comes, greater responsibility, and that is exactly what Microsoft is doing when they said that "Windows 8 devices will be supported up to 18 months of release".  Microsoft is being forthright with its community and telling them their update life cycle of each device.

At the end of the day, fragmentation is Darwinism at it's finest, because we all want the best of the best.

Windows Phone is giving us what we want, so no hard feelings, because you know up front what Microsoft is bringing to the table, can Android or Apple say the same? I think not.

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In our continued "look which celebrity is using Windows Phone now" series, actor, comedian, writer, playwright and all around swell guy Stephen Fry evidently has a Nokia Lumia 900

The famous British personality is well known for his love of all things Apple and is quite fond of his iPhone too. In fact, Fry doesn't seem to be swaying from his love of the iPhone as he took its picture with his Lumia 900.

The evidence comes from this Tweet where the actor comments "My iPhone, pimped into @NCFC colours by the geniuses from @JailBreakCon - I'm blissed out!". The Tweet itself comes from "Microsoft" which we know is the default reference for Windows Phone. In addition, a quick look at the EXIF data from the photo (hosted on SkyDrive) reveals that the photo was indeed taken with a Lumia 900.

Unfortunately, a quick peruse of his Twitter timeline reveals he also has an Android device too and the Lumia 900 gets no mention from him. Meaning? We assume Mr. Fry was given a promotional phone at some point and unfortunately just never really took to it.  Still, maybe he just picked it up and is giving it a go. Either way, we won't hold it against him.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Craig H., for the tip

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Yesterday, Apple Inc. finally revealed their latest iteration of iOS for iPhone and the iPad.  There were no real "wow" moments just the continued rehash of market numbers and a collection of little improvements to the world-wide hit operating system.

We're not trying to be too bitter here--look, Apple and iOS have a massive success on their hands so they're not messing with a good thing (think of all the grandparents with iPhones!). But today's unveiling of the new iOS is starting to show that Cupertino may be out of "big" ideas for mobile and are instead concentrating on refinements. That's not exactly a bad thing and we don't necessarily blame them, especially with their strong market share. But it sure does make for some boring discussion.

Our friends at iMore were there for the whole event, turtlenecks and all, documenting all the new additions to the sixth version of the OS.  Due this fall, here is their summary of the major changes:

  • Maps - Probably the biggest news was the addition of Apple's own Maps app which will be powered by TomTom. Maps will come stock with turn-by-turn navigation, traffic info, and a new feature called Flyover.
  • Siri additions and enhancements- Siri received quite a few updates under iOS 6 including iPad support, integration with many car manufacturers, and several new features. 
  • Passbook - Passbook is a brand new way to store and save airline apps, boarding passes, and more all in one place. Many different services and Passbook apps are already available such as express check at hotels, Target cards, movie tickets, coupons, and more.
  • Photo Stream sharing - Photo Stream sharing will allow you to create separate streams (similar to how you'd create albums currently). You can then share those separate streams with whoever you'd like. Have one with family for vacation pics and one with mom and dad for baby pics. They'll also be given the ability to comment and like photos native in iOS.
  • Mail enhancements - Multiple e-mail signatures, VIP Mailbox allows you to add all the important people in your life to a VIP list and their messages will automatically be filtered into a new VIP mailbox that appears under your default inbox.
  • Facebook integration - In iOS 5 we saw Apple integrate Twitter into iOS natively. This year the same will happen with Facebook. Post status, upload pictures, and more without needing a third party app.
  • FaceTime over the cellular network - FaceTime has only ever been available for us on a Wi-Fi network since it's release in iOS 4. iOS 6 is about to change all that and you'll soon be able to FaceTime wherever you are, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G.

Read more after the break for some exclusive Windows Phone 8 news...

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Microsoft held a fairly eventful press presentation at this year's E3, which saw the company unveil new services related to their best selling game console - the Xbox 360. More on these new services later, for now let's get through Xbox SmartGlass. As we previously covered, Xbox SmartGlass will connect the gaming console to other devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone as well as competitor platforms (Android and iOS). Think of the Xbox Companion app, but on steroids.

Apps developed for all supported platforms will enable users to control their Xbox 360 and interact with services on the big screen. Microsoft is attempting to transform the bog-standard home television into a Smart TV with the power and connectivity to pull down rich media content from the Internet. As mentioned above, SmartGlass will work with other Windows platforms, but will also be available for iPhone / iPad and Android devices. 

Example: should you happen to be watching a movie while on the go and would like to continue where you left off on the big screen, SmartGlass will enable you to resume the video on the Xbox 360. Gaming will also be taken to a new level with integrated through SmartGlass. A short demonstration was provided in the presentation with the upcoming title Halo 4. Halo Waypoint will come into play by offering lore information on in-game elements, as well as turning the mobile device into a companion device with match requests from friends being accepted on the handset, and then synchronised while in-game on the Xbox.

Internet Explorer was last to be announced with SmartGlass. The Xbox console will soon sport its own web browser, but instead of using the controller to navigate through the web, which could cause issues, Microsoft will use SmartGlass to allow users to choose Kinect or support mobile devices. Check out the video below for a quick run through of everything announced for SmartGlass.

Watch out for the release of SmartGlass sometime later this year. Be sure to check out our updates from the floor at E3 2012 where our Daniel Rubino and Paul Acevedo will continue to hunt down the latest news.

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Microsoft is developing a cross-platform service that will enable users to migrate from competitor platforms (or Windows Phone) to Windows Phone, according to a patent filed back in 2010. The service will allow apps to be detected on the legacy handset, which will then be listed on the new Windows Phone for convenient downloading, providing users with peace of mind when it comes to installed apps.

According to the filed patent, the company is planning to provide functionality within the service that would analyse installed apps on the legacy handset (eg.: Android). The service would then search for identical or similar apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The user would be presented with popular third-party suggestions should official apps not be available.

If there's no third-party app present on the Marketplace, the service will notify the user in the future once a similar app is published. Is that more than enough? Not according to the company. Microsoft is reported to be wanting to take things further with actually creating a complete solution where app data would be stored and transferred across to new Windows Phones or from other platforms, preventing data loss. Of course, little detail is available and we're yet to see how this service could work with the likes of Android and iOS

Another question on mind is if apps will have to be repurchased for Windows Phone when migrating from another platform, or would the software giant subsidize the costs? Microsoft has clearly been serious about Windows Phone since the off, and this reaffirms the company's commitment to take part in the smartphone marathon. How would you like to see such a service implemented?

Source: Unwired View

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All eyes were on Microsoft's rather important launch of Windows Phone in China earlier this year. Nokia followed up with the Lumia 800c, released on China Telecom. According to Michel van der Bel, COO of Greater China Region at Microsoft, the company has achieved 7% marketshare in the country, overtaking the iPhone (sitting at just 6%).

Before you think "well 7% isn't something to get excited about", remember that the platform has only officially been available for just under two months. Windows Phone has captured 7% of the Chinese smartphone market in just 60 days, and the campaign has only just begun. This kind of growth is a struggling goal for the platform in other markets, so it's positive to see Chinese consumers choosing the Windows Phone experience. Plus, it's always a great headline when Windows Phone beats the popular iPhone.

With manufacturers also on-board and attacking supported countries, Windows Phone should look to repeat the success story currently being written in China, especially with Nokia powering through marketing budgets. There's still much more to do in China though, as van der Bel went on to admit the company understands the difficult task ahead and has deployed a 2,500 head strong team in its R&D department to focus on the Asian market.

Source: Emerce.nl via: Neowin

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Siri, the personal assistant found on the iPhone 4S, has been making headlines for Apple today, but for all the wrong reasons. The image above explains what's going on better than any words in this article. Should you happen to ask Siri "what's the best cell phone ever?", you'll be greeted with a surprising response. Not only does Siri choose a device that's not an Apple product, but it chooses the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. 

This result is produced by taking the mobile phone that's rated the highest by consumers and the cyan AT&T Lumia 900 just so happens to fit the bill. Siri found the above answer by using Wolfram Alpha, which lists the Windows Phone when visitors type in the same query. The launch of the Lumia 900 was met by an extremely high level of satisfaction from customers who purchased the handset, regardless of the issues that appeared.

We gave it a shot with Ask Ziggy to see what the Windows Phone Siri-like assistant thought of all this. Unfortunately, it appeared to be slightly smarter than Siri with leading us to a Bing SERP listing articles covering "top ten mobile phones", etc. Smart move Zig-meister. Smart move.

Does anyone find it even remotely humorous how the Windows Phone community (and tech media) have jumped on this story? At the end of the day, Apple can take something away from this - Siri has proven to be relatively accurate.

Source: Techtudo; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, calls Windows Phone "Intuitive and beautiful"

We reported recently that co-founder of Apple and all around cool geek Steve Wozniak was looking to purchase a Nokia Lumia 900 (WPCentral review) The info came via his Twitter feed where he posted from Foursquare. At the time, he was waiting for the AT&T store to open to check out the flagship Windows Phone.

Since then, we haven't heard much. In fact, there was no confirmation that he had even purchased the device but as it turns out, he did and what's more, he loves it. Over at  aNewDomain.net, Dan Patterson, Todd Moore and Gina Smith not only caught up with "the Woz" but got him on tape talking about his experience with Windows Phone and the Lumia 900.

The Report: Tech News and Geek Culture, EP 002 - Steve Wozniak Interview by KoPoint

As it turns out, he carries around multiple Android phones and a couple of iPhones too and while he still ultimately prefers the iPhone (due to all the apps), he had nothing but praise for the Windows Phone OS and the Lumia 900. Here are a few choice quotes:

"Just for looks and beauty I definitely favor the Windows Phone over Android"

"....I'm just shocked, I haven't seen anything yet that isn't more beautiful than the other platforms"

"Intuitive and beautiful"

"it's makes me feel 'Oh my gosh, I'm with a friend not a tool'" (In regards to the animations and graphics)

"I just really like the experience and will be carrying the Windows Phone everywhere"

He also notes how apps look just "more beautiful than on Android or iPhone"

In short, the Woz is really enamored with the esthetics of the phone, the ease of use and just how the OS pops and slides everywhere. It's a strong endorsement although he does have the usual complaints including how you can't do speech-to-text everywhere like on iPhone or Android or the lack of a Siri-like tool for asking questions (although we have AskZiggy).

The Woz also still defaults to his iPhone but as you can hear in the audio above, the Lumia 900 will be going everywhere with him, which is more than he can say for Android.

It sounds like Microsoft and Nokia may have just received their next big endorsement. While there is still much work to do for the OS and on our hardware, we may have just scored one of the most symbolic victories in quite some time.

Update: Steve Wozniak responded in comments on aNewDomain to clarify a few things. It's a little hilarious too.

"Wrong. iPhone is my favorite phone. I did give my opinion that the Windows 7 phone had superior visual appearance and operation cues that were also more attractive. In my opinion, it sets the mark for user interface. I would recommend it over my Android phones given that it doesn’t yet have the breadth of apps. I surmise that Microsoft hired someone from Apple and put money into having a role in the UI and appearance of some key apps. I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at MS due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things."

Source: The Report at aNewDomain.net; Thanks, jedi12, for the tip and Vygantas, for the new quote

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President and CEO of AT&T Mobility, Ralph de la Vega, was interviewed on CNBC recently answering questions surrounding both AT&T's latest financial report and the rumoured iPhone 5. One would ask, "what has this got to do with Windows Phone?" Well, nothing. But what's both humorous and surprising is Vega holds up a shiny new Lumia 900 instead of discussing the iPhone.

Check out the above video, at around the 7:40 mark. He jokes around the questions being fired by the reporters and states that the Lumia 900 is a fantastic device and carries one around with him as a daily smartphone. We're aware that Nokia has a deal with AT&T for employees to exclusively use the 4G Windows Phone, but it's good to see the captain of the ship actively promoting it on public television.

Source: CNBC; thanks Christian for the heads up!

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