tango

Although we're not expecting too much more in terms of new Windows Phones for the next few months, Nokia is just getting the Lumia 610 into people's hands in various countries or unlocked for those who want it.

The Lumia 610 is Nokia's device for emerging markets and thus features lower specs than most users are accustomed to, in turn they are able to keep the price down, hovering below $300 contract-free.

We just had ours show up on our doorstep so we figured we would give you a quick tour. While plastic throughout the device comes in four colors including black, cyan, magenta and white, giving it quite a nice appeal. Truth be told, while it lacks the ClearBlack screen (but it does have Gorilla Glass), it's a nimble little guy and quite impressive for those who can spring for the higher-end Lumias.

Featuring a 3.7" screen, 256MB of RAM (ala "Tango"), a 5MP camera and 8GB of storage (5.59 GB available), the 610 is not particularly mind-blowing, especially with its Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 7227A  800MHz CPU, which just gets it by in terms of performance.

The bigger story of course is that this phone allows Nokia to push down into the rapidly expanding emerging markets of the world, someplace where Apple can't go but Android has with a vengeance (the quality also drops rapidly on the latter on such low-end hardware). Will the 610 be successful? All in all, it's so far not a bad experience and we imagine for many, this will be a solid Windows Phone introduction.

We'll have more over the next week on this device, so pay attention to Windows Phone Central.

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Skype working on Tango has come and gone with Microsoft and Skype announcing that the rushed-to-the-market Windows Phone app will not run on devices with less than 512MB of RAM. We then saw Nokia announce to the world that the Skype app will run on Tango Windows Phones (specifically the Lumia 610) with minimal amounts of memory. This was reaffirmed by Justin Angel using the app on his 610 to feature on a recent Windows Phone Central podcast.

Now Nokia HK has turned around and stated that they have decided to recommend to Lumia 610 customers that the Skype app really shouldn't be used and will not be available to those wielding the device. See the below quote from an email reportedly sent by the manufacturer:

"Nokia values the user experience provided by its products and services. Therefore, although the Skype Windows Phone version is workable on Nokia Lumia 610, after in-depth testing, we found that the user experience is not up to par with Nokia and Skype's expectation and decided not recommending users using Skype on Nokia Lumia 610. In the future, users of Nokia Lumia 610 would no longer be able to download Skype Windows Phone version from Window Phone Marketplace. However, Skype Windows Phone version would still be available for other users."

Looks like devices that are hitting the bare minimum requirements for Windows Phone Tango will not be able to run Skype. At least for now anyway. We're still looking at the Skype app as a pressed result from pressure mounting up on the teams to get something out on the Marketplace. We do expect the teams to sort out the issues and get the app working on low-end hardware as well as the flagship Windows Phones in the future. Our Rafael looked at why there are limitations with Skype on Windows Phone altogether, which is also worth a read.

Source: WeLoveWP.hk (Bing translation)

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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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Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3 is the OS update everyone wants though very few know why. Indeed it brings only a handful of updates, mostly revolving around MMS options and geolocation icon. The OS update is mostly aimed at the low-end 256MB devices that are now hitting the market though it does give companies a chance to tie in precious firmware updates with the OS.

While the AT&T Lumia 900 sells with 8112 (CR2), everyone is anxiously anticipating 8773 (CR3). That OS update won't actually do much but the accompanying firmware presumably will (read: bug fixes).

Having said all of that the Finish Tango ROM (8773 with firmware 12140) popped up on Navifirm this morning and yes, can be downloaded. Does that mean it can be flashed to your AT&T Lumia 900? We wouldn't recommend it as down-grading the ROM to the proper one is not guaranteed. Still, we know many of you are anxious on this end so we'll see what the more ambitious folks have to say if someone dares to flash.

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Perhaps not too surprising, Samsung today has announced the Omnia M, a follow up to the Omnia W and obviously riding the Focus 2's mid-range specs.

The device is a ho-hum 1GHz  CPU with a 4" Super AMOLED screen and a disappointing 4GB of storage on board. It features HSPA at 7.2MBps which is even a low-end data, bypassing the much preferred HSPA+ or HSPA+ DC like on the Lumia 900.

It does have a front-facing camera though and the design, while reminiscent of every other Samsung phone especially the W, still looks svelte and comfortable to use.

Having said that, this is obviously Samsung's "Tango" phone, playing up against Nokia's 610 and the ZTE Tania, meaning most of you will probably want to pass on such a phone and wait for Windows Phone 8.

We're curious though how such low-end devices will sell. In theory, if this phone is offered for next-to-nothing on contract it could be a very desirable phone for those who don't yet have a smartphone. That's an important market and while it doesn't earn headlines, for market share, it's an important demographic to consider.

No word on release though we imagine it will be out in a few weeks. It's planned for Europe and "other regions".

Source: Samsung

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We've heard through the tip line during the last few days that the latest Tango ROM updates for Lumia devices features a slightly new Marketplace.

In short, the 'Nokia Collection' is being renamed to 'Nokia Market' on all Lumia phones, a move that we applaud ("Collection" never really fit). The move is accompanied  by a icon change for the Marketplace as the traditional bag is flattened for a more Metro look but also features a big 'n' logo emblazoned on the side.

The new logo can be seen in an unboxing video for the Lumia 610 in Vietnam at about the 3:25 mark

Certainly this is an unprecedented move by Nokia obviously done with the blessing of Microsoft. It also shows how deep the Nokia-Microsoft partnership can go with Nokia slowly but surely exerting control over the OS and user experience with the focus on Lumia and less on "Windows Phone". Even with all the advertising here in the US for the 710 and 900 the words "Microsoft" and "Windows Phone" are never mentioned, which is probably a good thing for now.

Users of the AT&T Lumia 900 should probably expect their Marketplace to be updated with a future software update which will most likely include Tango.

Source: Nokiapoweruser, XDA forums, Verge forum; Thanks, Dave S., and Simon G., for the tip!

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We just got a report in that the venerable (and underrated) HTC Mozart is receiving a Windows Phone "Tango" update. The news comes form the personal blog of Aviraj Ajgekar, who is a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft Corporation.

That puts him pretty high up there as far as credibility. What's more, he documented the whole experience noting that his Mozart (we assume un-branded) received no less than three updates, going from OS build 8112.7 to 8773.98 to 8779.8, putting it just slightly ahead of what we understand to be "standard" Tango or Windows Phone Mango, Commercial Release 3 (CR3).

The whole update only took a few minutes to download mostly due to the fact that "Tango" only offers a few fixes and updates to the OS (mostly around enhancing MMS).

No word if HTC is pushing this out for their other devices but we have a feeling we'll be reporting on this a lot more for HTC phones very soon.

Carriers are reportedly going to push out Tango in June while unbranded devices presumably will get it earlier. Nokia already has the Lumia 710 Tango ROM completed with internet sharing on board and we expect the Lumia 800 and 900 to get it as well.

Update: Aviraj has deleted the post from his blog and no one else is reportedly getting this update. Is yet another Microsoft employee being misinformed or was this an internal update for testing?

Source: Aviraj Ajgekar's Blog; Thanks, Joe (@astroXP), for the tip!

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Yesterday, Skype and Microsoft took Skype for Windows Phone out of beta and gave it the v1.0 designation, adding new functionality along with a more reliable connection.

Windows Phone Daily noticed that Skype app needs 512MB of RAM, which is fine for current handsets on the market but rules out so-called Tango phones like the Lumia 610 and ZTE Orbit which only have 256MB of RAM. So the question naturally comes up: What's the deal?

A Skype spokesperson got back to us on the matter and while it confirms the limitation, it appears that it is something that they are well aware of and are looking to address with future updates:

“As outlined in our Skype Garage blog, we are aware of various issues on the Skype for Windows Phone app, including minimum memory support requirement. This is our first version of the Skype for Windows Phone app. To ensure our customers have the best Skype experience possible today, the Skype for Windows Phone app currently requires devices with Windows Phone 7.5 and higher 512 MB of memory. We’re invest (sic) in improving the Skype for Windows Phone app to deliver a great experience and plan to resolve issues and build new features on an ongoing basis.”

If we were to read between the lines, we would have guess that Microsoft and Skype were pressed to get this app to the Marketplace and working with what they got on the backend (which we hear ain't pretty), hence the limitations. But it does sound like the Skype team is working hard on bringing updates to the Windows Phone app and we can hope that optimization of the code will allow a more streamlined experience for the Tango phones in the future.

Seeing as Tango phones are just getting ready to launch and the bulk of Windows Phones can run Skype mobile now, we're not too concerned. But it will be interesting to see how this goes forward in the future.

On another note, we'll have more this week on Skype and why background calls and notifications are actually a tricky thing to implement on Windows Phone. It should be an interesting read as our own Rafael Rivera will be doing the explaining. Stay tuned.

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We've reported twice on Nokia getting ready to serve up some Tango ROM updates along with new firmware for the Lumia 710. First was a planned update for China and it was followed by an update for the carrier Proximus in Belgium.

Both ROMs contained  OS 8773 which is known as Windows Phone Consumer Refresh 3 (CR3) or just "Tango" and will have either 12111 or 12120 firmware on board to coincide with the pushed update. But what a lot of folks were wondering is if the firmware enabled Internet Sharing aka Tethering, a feature long missing from the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800.

Indeed we can now report that at least some of these software updates will have this on board as site WP7.nl has installed and verified that this feature in present. Of course, we don't necessarily expect all updates to contain these as it will technically be up to the carriers but a good portion will opt for the pay-in service of wireless tethering.

We expect Nokia to begin pushing these update for both regions and more in a few weeks presumably June, if an earlier report is correct. In the meantime, Nokia will probably begin to populate their servers with more updates for other carriers for the big OS refresh. We'll keep you posted.

Update: Interestingly, Nokia has pulled the 8773 ROMs from their servers. Thanks, Francesco

Source: WP7.nl; Thanks, Niels, for the tip

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Speaking of Windows Phone updates and rumors, our friends over at Mi Movil Windows have confirmed with two sources that Windows Phone Tango (finalized as OS build 8773) will be released officially at the beginning of June. (We've been told who the sources are but have been asked to not name them).

Even though ROMs of Tango have been floating around for awhile (and we've seen some for the Lumia 710 as of late) Microsoft reportedly pushed the April time-frame for release back to June so that more operators could finish testing and Microsoft could target a more universal roll-out, much like Mango. This becomes self-evident when you realize that no Tango updates have happened yet, even though the ROM has been finalized.

Of course if true, this won't mean we'll all get Tango the same day, let alone the same week. Instead what we could be seeing here is a rolling update where various regions and carriers will release over an extended time-frame.  This sounds a lot like the Mango-update which took roughly two-months to reach nearly 90% of devices. The difference here is the fact that Tango is a far cry from those 500-new features we saw last year.

Windows Phone Tango is expected to be optimized for 256 MB devices for emerging markets, feature enhanced MMS capability and other under the hood optimizations.

It will be interesting to see if AT&T, who have gone on the record twice now, will be taking advantage of this extension to also roll out this Tango update for current devices. The timing seems about right.

Source: Mi Movil Windows

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Look what just popped up on Nokia's Care Suite servers. Why it's Windows Phone 7.5 Consumer Release (CR) 3 aka "Tango" for the Nokia Lumia 710 in China. Specifically the ROM build is 1600.3029.8773.12111 where the "8773" denotes the OS version and the "12111" is the firmware build.

Windows Phone OS 8773 is the "gold" version of Tango which adds support for 256 MB devices, MMS enhancements and other smaller, under the hood changes. A lot of phones today are sporting Mango CR1 (8107) or Mango CR2 (8112) and AT&T is expected to rollout CR3 (8773+) for its devices in the future.

With the addition of this ROM on Nokia's servers it's a safe bet that those with a Lumia 710 in China will be seeing an update notification from Zune Desktop in the next few days.

Of course the big question is can you flash this to your Lumia 710 if you're using Nokia Care Suite (much like the 8107 update)? Technically, yes, you can but seeing as this is a ROM for China we're not too sure on what language packs are on board. It's very likely English is there but if you'll be taking a risk as downgrading a ROM can be difficult.

We'll keep an ear out if this ROM starts to pushed out to user or if you're a risk-taker, whether you can flash it yourself (and void your warranty).

Thanks, @Arktronic, for the tip

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A few weeks ago we spoke with AT&T about the lack of OS updates for current Windows Phones, specifically the 8107 update which fixes the disappearing keyboard and applies various security fixes.

During that conversation, AT&T informed us they were committed to updating current Windows Phones and were evaluating a post-8107 update aka "Tango" or Consumer Release 3 (CR3). You can read that whole situation here but the important take away was that AT&T users would get a significant OS bump in the coming months (no time frame was committed to).

Now in their help forums, AT&T has once again come out publicly to reiterate this position. From Community Manager Jamileh:

"Hey all - I know you're eagerly awaiting news about this. AT&T plans for a Windows Phone update that will contain the improvements in the 8107 update and more.

I will likely start a new thread as I get more information as this one is getting a bit tricky to find information in.

Stay tuned!"

Again, no time-frame was given. But at least AT&T have twice gone on record on the matter. Now, it's just a matter of waiting which for some of you will be too long no matter how quick AT&T pushes this out.

Source: AT&T Support Forums; Thanks to all who sent this in

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Little over two weeks since it was released, the custom Windows Phone "Tango" (build 8773) ROM for the Samsung Omnia 7 has been bumped to version 3.1. The Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh contains a number of minor changes (most notably lower RAM requirements), including MMS improvements and an SMS bug fix.

The changelog for the v.3.1 custom ROM is as follows:

  • Image update now working
  • Custom apps updated
  • CSC file cleaned
  • Removed HTC drivers
  • Fixed known glitches & carried out optimisation
  • Pagepool set back to 3/1 mb

Be sure to head on over to the XDA thread to download the custom Windows Phone "Tango" (build 8773) ROM for the Samsung Omnia 7.

Source: XDA, via: Plaffo

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AT&T caught a lot of flak over the weekend regarding their semi-public announcement to not support the 8107 OS update for their current Windows Phone lineup. That update, as many of you know, is critical for security fixes as much as for fixing the famed disappearing keyboard bug.

We just spoke with AT&T on the situation and we can confirm and clarify a few things on the record. First, it is true that they have passed on 8107 or what they referred to as "Windows Phone Mango Commercial Refresh 1" or just CR1. They've also passed on CR2, which is what the Lumia 900 and Titan II are running (that's build 8112). That update brings LTE and Visual Voicemail support for AT&T with the first aspect obviously being pointless for current Mango phones.

So that's the bad news.

The good news is they have not shut the door on OS updates for their current lineup including the Samsung Focus S, Focus Flash and HTC Titan.  Stacey Harth, a spokeswoman for AT&T, told us this morning "AT&T plans for a Windows Phone update that will contain the improvements in the 8107 update and more" with no commitment to a time-frame.

So what does that mean exactly? It means "Tango", which goes by the alternate name CR3, is something that they are looking to evaluate for an OS update. While they did not want give any time-frames they are definitely committed to updating those devices with a post-8107 OS update from Microsoft. "Tango" (or a build post-Tango) is certainly the most viable candidate for such an update.

Of course what you want to know is why are they passing on 8107? It's a bit complicated and you don't have to agree with their position but they do have a rationale (and it's not to get you to buy a new phone). In short, each update comes with a corresponding OEM firmware update which also fixes hardware bugs and/or optimizes the software (these are often at the request of AT&T). Those updates need to be scheduled with the "bits" from Microsoft and it does take a bit of coordination to get that to happen. Moreover, while 8107 does fix a pretty annoying bug, the updates in CR3 (aka "Tango") brings that fix and even more . For example, AT&T very much likes the idea of multiple-photos in MMS, voice notes, etc. that Tango brings to the table.

And that's the crux of the matter: AT&T is admittedly conservative on OS updates and would prefer to not certify every single one that Microsoft releases for evaluation. Instead, they prefer the method where you can pack numerous bug fixes and new features into a single, bigger update. It's similar to the "do I buy this phone now or wait 3 months for a better one?" scenario that many of you face when you follow technology. For AT&T, the question is do we push this update or do we wait for that even better one just a few weeks away?

That does raise a larger, ongoing issue, which is why can't Microsoft just push out mini-bug fixes to the OS without interference by AT&T, especially if it does not touch the radio firmware? It's certainly a very valid point and the reason seems to be a combo of "this is how carriers operate" and Microsoft has not made "patching" as easy (or perhaps they've just conceded too much power to the carriers).

Regardless, the take away point is that AT&T is planning to update your phones and that update will be a larger, post-8107 update which will include that keyboard fix and even more features. We can disagree on what makes an update imperative and yes, we consider the keyboard fix to fall into that, but that is the current situation.

In the end, it may not be the answer you want to hear but we think it is a lot more palatable than the perception left from this weekend.

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Take heed developers, you'll want to go update your Windows Phone SDK to the official 7.1.1 version which was just released today.

This latest update offers support for 256MB RAM devices aka "Tango" phones like the Nokia Lumia 610 and ZTE Orbit.:

"The Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update provides additional functionality to the existing Windows Phone SDK 7.1. Using this update, you can more easily develop apps and games that are optimized to run on 256-MB devices. This update includes a new 256-MB version of Windows Phone Emulator, an updated 512-MB version of Windows Phone Emulator, and IntelliSense support."

As noted by Microsoft, 95% of the apps currently in the Marketplace will have no problems running on these lower-end Windows Phones, but those remaining 5% will need to think about optimizing their app if they want it to run on these news devices. Microsoft began contacting developers who's apps won't be able to run the new Tango update back in February so as to avert any confusion on the matter.

Grab the new 7.1.1. SDK update right here from Microsoft and the read announcement on the Windows Phone Dev Blog.

For further information and tips on developing your app for Tango device, check out Nokia's developer guide and Best Practice Tips which should go a long way in making this an easy transition.

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For those curious as to what OS version the AT&T Lumia 900 was shipping with, wonder no more. It is version 8112 which is just a few builds higher than the current release of 8107, an update that brought the much needed keyboard and security fixes to the OS. That release started rolling out last month to numerous phones and is currently still being pushed out to devices as we speak.

Likewise, the firmware for the AT&T Lumia 900 is at 12082, which is slightly higher than the 12070 firmware that dramatically addresses current battery issues on the Lumia 800 and bug fixes on the Lumia 710.

What makes 8112 OS build interesting is that it's not Windows Phone "Tango" which is thought to start around build 8731 and is shipping at 8773 in China. In fact, even the Lumia 610 has 8763 (thought to be a beta build) which was back at Mobile World Congress.

So what does that mean for AT&T users? Not too much as Tango is mostly an under-the-hood optimization release for those low-end devices that only have 256 MB of RAM. But Tango does have some goodies on board, including a more robust MMS client (multiple picture support, read receipt, voice notes and video) and the GPS-location icon, not to mention any other smaller tidbits we may have to uncover.

In the end, Lumia 900 users will get a solid OS though with no keyboard bug and 4G LTE support which should be good enough for most. It of course will be interesting to see what updates the phone gets though in the coming months.

Thanks, Jeffery B., for the photo!

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Nokia Lumia 610 heading to Ireland in Q2 2012?

The Lumia 610 low-cost Windows Phone is on its way to Ireland, according to Nokia Ireland on their Facebook page. The social team has stated Q2 2012 for when stock will be made available to consumers. The Lumia 610 has already been confirmed to be heading to the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and India, to name but a few.

This positive move will bring Windows Phone "Tango" to the Irish shores, offering consumers a more affordable option. The Lumia 610 sports a 3.7" screen (WVGA 800 x 480), 8GB storage and 256MB RAM. Check out the Nokia Ireland Facebook conversation transcript below:

Consumer: "when is Nokia Lumia 610 coming. I think it be great if Nokia give Lumia 610 or 720 to developers to be able to program an application and test it out. As i am working on Windows Phone application and i need a windows phone to make sure it works and i will give it back"

Nokia Ireland: "[...] the Nokia Lumia 610 will be coming to Ireland in Q2. We will be sure to keep you posted on it's arrival!"

Note that we'll keep this filed under "rumours" as nothing has been officially announced, nor is the Nokia Lumia Momentum Map reflecting this information (though it's not showing any plans for the Lumia 610 globally). 

Thanks Mike for the heads up!

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As a follow up to Monday's story regarding Windows Phone Tango and the reported increase in the number of apps for fast-app switching, the story has proven to be false.

What was seen was a custom Tango ROM for an HD2 where the ROM-chef (HD2Owner) had increased the number of apps in the taskswitcher from five to eight -- but alas, in the official Tango ROM this is not the case and five, sadly is still the limit. From XDA:

"more tasks in taskswitcher is not a tango feature

it's just another useful tweak i implemented into my rom"

Certainly this explains why Microsoft did not convey this information earlier but at least on the bright side, it's one thing to be less excited about regarding Tango.

via: Windows Phone Daily

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Please see the latest update to this story: http://www.windowscentral.com/follow-windows-phone-tango-does-not-increase-multitasking-app-limit-eight

Now that the Tango ROM has been leaked onto XDA, those members are going over it with fine comb to find every little change. Guess what? There are more improvements then we knew about in Tango, making us want it even more.

For instance, we know that even devices with 256MB of RAM will have app-switching via the Back button (see our last podcast). But going further, instead of just the last five previous apps being held in memory, we now can have eight apps stored in memory which is sure to make everyone happy. While just adding three more apps does not seem a lot, in practice we imagine such an addition will be very practical for everyday use.

Other additions noted are increased memory efficiency with just 122MB of RAM being used in the 8773 build versus the current 153MB in 8107 found on most devices today. Finally, MMS delivery confirmation/acknowledgement is there as well. While that last part seems kind of "meh", we know from experience that sending MMS is hit or miss depending on your network, so having a confirmation can actually be a good thing here.

Source: XDA Forums; via Windows Phone Daily

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China is set to finally launch Windows Phone in the coming weeks and while Nokia will be doing that at the end of March, HTC has beat them to the punch with the HTC Triumph.

New HTC phone you say? Not really. The Triumph is just the TITAN with a rebranding and Windows Phone Tango thrown on board (officially launching on the 21st). Still, with it's 4.7" screen, 8MP rear and 1.3MP front cameras and 1.5GHz CPU, China is kicking it off big with this device. The Triumph went on sale yesterday, hence the above unboxing video.

No word on official carrier support though, meaning folks in China may have to pay out of pocket for the full-experience of Windows Phone. Still, it's nice to see the device with localized-Chinese features on board.

via: Unwired View

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