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Nokia and Microsoft are slowly (but surely) looking to roll the GDR2 + Amber update out to consumers with a Lumia Windows Phone. Those with a Lumia 928 and who are anxious to get the update will be able to get dirty by manually applying it to their device. Windows Phone Central member tungha has published some links on the forum that contain files for the Nokia Amber update.

Fancy some flashing? You can now update your Lumia 928 manually, should you know what you're doing of course.

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The Nokia Lumia 521 is a very nice, budget oriented Windows Phone. To keep cost low, Nokia trimmed back some of the features part of which was the camera light.

Admittedly, I've yet to meet a camera light that performed very well. They often lack the power to distribute enough light to your subjects or create a blue color cast. While I'm not particularly fond of these lights, others may feel differently. Which brings us to this comparison.

In low lighting situations how does the Lumia 521 measure up against a comparable camera that is fitted with a light?

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If you're looking for a way to view web pages on your Surface RT, or any other Windows RT device, there's a tool out there to let you update the Default Whitelist. In doing so you can authorize web pages to display Flash content in your browser.

Just download the Windows RT Flash Player Tool here and install it to your Windows RT tablet. You can download/install from the Windows RT browser or transfer it via USB, SkyDrive or other means.

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First off, congratulations to Nokia’s Chanse Arrington who’s Head of Developer & Content Marketing at the company. He was just married and while the addition of a wife to his life must be fulfilling, we’re focused on that Lumia 920.

The picture above is taken with the 920 as posted to his public SkyDrive account (he Tweeted the image yesterday). The picture is obviously very low light though a flash is used this case to brighten the scene.

Flash photography is a finicky subject. A lot of us shoot “natural”, which means big heavy lenses and only on available light. But sometimes you have to use a flash for certain situations. One thing though pros never do is use the “on board” flash—it’s like sacrilege. That’s why they always have giant flash contraptions with diffusers and such to give a much better photo.

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A custom ROM with Windows Phone 7.8 bits on the HTC Titan

Although Windows Phone 7.8 is not expected to arrive until after Windows Phone 8 launces, bits of the OS are evidently floating around and are being incorporated in custom ROMs for various 1st and 2nd gen Windows Phones.

One of those is the ‘EB Edition’ found at XDA Forums and meant for the venerable HTC Titan. We decided to flash it on to one of our devices and give it a go, so make sure to check out the video after the break…

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Back in early June, we noted how a factory-shipped Lumia 710 on Rogers was sporting Windows Phone "Tango" aka build 8773. At the time, we speculated that Nokia and the Canadian carrier were getting ready to push out the update to all and sure enough that day is upon us.

Reader Gurpreet just notified us that plugging in his Lumia 710 to his Zune Desktop prompted him to update his device. That means the rest of you up North should be able to do the same.

In addition to having Windows Phone Tango and it's new messaging features, user should also have some bundled fixes with the new firmware. We don't have that changelog, though it may have a lot of similarities with T-Mobiles latest update for the same phone.

If you're getting the update, hit us up in comments and let us know your thoughts.

Thanks, Gurpreet, for the info

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Okay, in a way we really don't recommend you do this, on the other hand we just did so who are we to judge. In short, with a few tools and about 20 minutes of your time, you can flash the latest build of Windows Phone (8107 with the keyboard fix) and the latest firmware (12070) onto your T-Mobile branded Nokia Lumia 710.

The latest firmware fixes the end-call bug in addition to giving other "performance enhancements" e.g. powering on from standby seems faster to us now, whereas before there was delay. We haven't run it long enough to see if battery life has improved, though we presume since this matches the Lumia 800's new firmware that it has some of the same tricks (we're idling at about 135mAh, for what it's worth).

How is this done? The files come from Nokia's servers where you can download various ROM packages. In this case, Nokia has available three variants (by color) of their latest 710 ROMs for India available. That's right, you'll be installing a ROM for India on your US phone. No worries though as it's unbranded and heck, it even has two pics of the Taj Mahal as a bonus.

Downside? Evidently in India you can't give an option to disable the camera shutter sound, so you'll literally lose that option in Settings. This is also a full-on flash, meaning you'll wipe your device and backups won't work (new firmware). Finally, we lost our "4G" icon which makes us wonder if we lost our HSPA+ speeds. Our browser download tests (compared to a T-Mo Radar 4G) show that no loss in speed has occurred and from normal use, it feels just as fast as ever for data.

In order to do this you'll need two pieces of free software: Navifirm and Nokia Care Suite 5.0. The former downloads the ROMs from the server, the latter via the Product Support Tool For Store 5.0, allows you to flash your phone. (Honestly, it's really easy once you read some instructions).

Unfortunately we're not going to give a step-by-step because this is a little risky (although you can just flash back the T-Mobile release ROM). Still, if you want to know more about how this works, just head over to ye'old XDA where you can read the similar instructions on flashing the Lumia 800 (yes, it works on that too). Or you could just wait for the T-Mobile version, which we imagine will be here in a few weeks.

Thanks, Robert, for the heads up

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Though we were a bit critical of the Samsung Focus S's screen, specifically its auto-brightness setting, we'll admit that since version 1.5 of 'Extra Settings' (see our closer look), things have improved dramatically.

Now the app has hit version 1.6 and of course, there is no changelog to report on. But we can assume that things like screen brightness, how white backgrounds are handled and perhaps even haptic feedback have all been improved and tweaked a tad.

We don't have a direct link here since it is hidden, so just watch your Marketplace app for the update.

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AT&T Samsung Focus Flash - Review

As far as Windows Phones are concerned, Samsung has enjoyed a good bit of success with the Focus. The company recently released two new Windows Phones they hope will enjoy the same amount of success, the Focus S and Focus Flash. We first turn our sites first to the Focus Flash.

The Focus Flash is one of the more compact Windows Phones available and follows the same design of Samsung's successful, overseas Windows Phone the Omnia 7. Sporting a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen the build quality of the Flash is very good and the phone fits snugly in your hand. While the Flash makes a very good first impression, the compact size may not appeal to everyone. There's not a lot of elbow room with the on-screen keyboard and I often found myself activating the Search or Back Button when I held the phone too tightly.

Another concern with the Flash is the amount of storage space available. The Flash is fitted with 8GB of storage and once you've loaded all the software, only 6.33GB of storage remains. Many will find this unappealing in that they will have to be more selective on what is loaded onto the Flash.

The performance, build quality and price does make the Flash an attractive Windows Phone but the reservations illustrate what may be the state of Windows Phones today. There simply isn't a bad phone out there, it's just a matter of finding which fits your needs, budget or tastes the best. If you like a more compact feel to your Windows Phone and storage isn't an issue, the Flash will do nicely.

To read more on the Flash, follow the break.

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Although we still hear the occasional clamor for Flash on IE9 for Windows Phone 7, the masses have pretty much moved on. Good thing for us too as Adobe is expected to announce later today that they will no longer be porting or making Flash for any mobile OS or browser going forward. Some rudimentary support for Android is expected to remain e.g. security fixes, but if Android changes in a significant way (which it usually does), there will be no new support for those devices. From ZDNet's source:

"Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates."

Of course it was way back to February 2010, we heard Microsoft and Adobe were working on Flash for Windows Phone 7. There was further mention in June of that year including promises of Adobe AIR support,  but by February 2011, Microsoft had clearly moved on, betting it all on HTML5 and IE9. In the end, this seemed like a good decision by Microsoft (removing a feature is never received as well as adding one, even if it is janky). But now we know, we'll never have the frustration of watching Flash bring our devices to a crawl.

Well, we're not sad in the least.

Source: ZDNet; via Android Central

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AT&T, as expected, released the Samsung Focus Flash and Focus S today. We've already shared our first impressions on the Focus S and now we turn our sites on the Focus Flash.

The Focus Flash is a compact Windows Phone sporting a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen. The phone comes across as well built and comfortable in the hand. The Flash weighs in at 4.1 ounces which is strangely .2 ounces heavier than the larger Focus S.  It's virtually identical to the Omnia 7 and comparable in feel to the HTC Surround (but thinner and lighter) and the HTC Radar (tad shorter).  The phone is 4G compatible which will be a nice thing once 4G service becomes more widely available.

Having only tinkered with the Flash for a short time it makes a nice impression. Here are my initial reservations. First the size may not appeal to everyone. If you like compact phones, you'll love the Flash. Next, the Flash is fitted with 8GB of storage and doesn't have an expansion slot. After all is said and done with preloaded software, you are left with just over 6GB of storage left. Some may see this as too restrictive.

Even though there are some reservations with the Focus Flash, the Windows Phone makes a nice first impression. The screen looks fantastic, the 1.4GHz processor moves things along nicely, and I like the physical Start button.

The Focus Flash is running about $399 out of contract from AT&T and we've seen contractual discounts dropping the price as low as $.01 (here at AmazonWireless).  Could we tag the Flash as a Windows Phone for the budget minded?

I'll echo Dan's earlier thoughts in that it's nearly impossible to say which is the best Windows Phone out there. HTC, Nokia, and Samsung have all stepped it up by producing quality second generation phones. Again, this means you don't have to worry about the quality of the phones but instead, concentrate on finding the Windows Phone that fits your personal needs/tastes best.

Look for a full review of the AT&T Samsung Focus Flash in a few days.

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It's no secret that the Samsung Focus S and Flash are headed to AT&T and while their appearance on Samsung's website doesn't reveal anything new, it's a welcomed sight. The two new Windows Phones are now listed as "Coming Soon" over at Samsung's US website.

You can find the listing for the 4.3" Super AMOLED Focus S here and the smaller, 3.7" Super AMOLED Flash here.

No release date or pricing information are listed. Strangely though, when you click on the "Buy Now" button for the Flash you find an Amazon.com link. Unfortunately the link takes you to an Amazon listing for an ancient Samsung film camera with built in flash.

Both second generation Windows Phones look really good and AT&T customers will have a tough choice deciding between these two Samsung phones and the HTC Titan. Hopefully we'll see these phones listed over at AT&T soon!

via: 1800PocketPC

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Today, AT&T has announced its Windows Phone 7.5 plans, including new phones and updates (see earlier AT&T roadmap leak). The three new devices, the HTC Titan, Samsung's Focus S and Focus Flash will all be available in Q4, though no specific date has been specified. Most impressive is the announcement of the first 4G Windows Phone, coming from Samsung.

We've all seen (and drooled over) the HTC Titan, with its gigantic 4.7-inch screen, 1.5GHz processor, 8MP camera with dual LED flash in addition it's front-facing 1.3MP camera. No doubt that the Titan will be highly anticipated and a weclome addition to AT&T's offerings.

As for the Focus S (SGH-i937 aka Kapua) it will "build on the success of the award-winning and highest selling Windows Phone in the U.S., the Samsung Focus." and will sport a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1.4GHz processor, 8MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front-facing camera, all snuggly tucked into a svelte a 8.55 millimeter profile (the current Focus is 9.9mm thick, for reference)

Finally, the Samsung Focus Flash will be geared for the more price-conscious consumer.  While it, too, will have a 1.4GHz processor, the screen measures in a tad smaller than the Focus S, at 3.7 inches, and will only have a 5MP camera.  All three will have front-facing cameras, which seems to be a standard for any new, Mango-native devices.

Speaking of which, AT&T also took the opportunity to say that they will be among the first to roll out Mango to their existing lineup of phones.  The HTC HD7S, HTC Surround, LG Quantum, and Samsung Focus will all see Mango updates "this fall,"  which could even come to mean this week.

Source: AT&T

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Mango-only LED app White Light shows us the way

Even though devs supposedly don't have official access to the camera LED or notification APIs, that hasn't stopped developer davepermen from giving it a go. The app, White Light, uses your screen as a flashlight but also takes hold of the camera's LED flash, giving you twice the lighting power. Huzzah! Tapping the screen turns it white to black, but keeps the LED on.

We ran that app on on Samsung Focus and as can be seen above, it works like a charm. Not so much on our Dell Venue Pro though. The app is free and ad-free too. We didn't yet try it on HTC only because they already have an official LED flashlight app. Grab it right here in the Marketplace. May only work on Mango devices, but let us know in comments.

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While it may be too early to tell if this will be a permanent feature, evidently in the Mango SDK emulator, the camera app now remembers what flash settings you've chosen. According to reader Amit:

"Playing around with the emulator. Discovered that if you change the flash setting of the camera it will actually persist now!"

Sure, it's not (yet) remembering all of your settings, but between being able to control your flash's behavior and disabling the shutter sound, well heck, we're willing to meet Microsoft half way. (We never use the flash except on the HTC Mozart with a xenon flash or on the Arrive, which is just well balanced).

Plus you Focus owners now have image stabilization by default with NoDo, so double bonus for you.

Thanks, Amit, for finding this!

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Last night on the Twitter, Chris Walsh, aka one of the people who brought ChevronWP7 to the masses, was working on something "big", having Raphael Rivera testing something related to those new tools release by Microsoft. Those tools were meant to fix two rare but possible update errors people may be experiencing with the NoDo updater.

Turns out, when modified, those tools were able to force pre-NoDo and NoDo updates to any phone, any carrier with any language. Indeed. There's no sideloading here, no modifying of registries, etc. Just a multi-step process that will bring you the update to your phone right now.

Basically they’ve created a managed wrapper over the whole update process for us, rather nice of them.

So I flashed my HTC Mozart back to RTM (7004) via a ROM update HTC ship and whipped up a little application to flash pre-NoDo (7008), NoDo (7355), NoDo update 1 (7389) & NoDo update 2 (7390) all in a single process. No I don’t care which carrier you are on, which phone you have, it’ll just update your phone accordingly.

We really have to commend Microsoft here for being able to split up the OS updates into differential packs, which saves users downloading 200+ MB updates, unlike the IFruit updates.

All you need to do is run the ChevronWP7.Updater.exe console app and follow the prompts.

For the instructions and custom updater file (both for 32 and 64 bit Windows), go to Walsh's blog for more info. [Also, see Simple Mobile Review for a step-by-step walkthrough]

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Why you should care about IE9 on WP7

At Mobile Word Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore gave a demonstration of some of the new features coming to Windows Phone 7 in an update to come later this year. The touted features include multitasking, which is for some the Holy Grail of mobile platforms. Somewhat overshadowed by the multitasking features was the demonstration of Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Phone, which is to include many of the features of its desktop counterpart.

The real issue for some WPCentral readers is why they should care about Internet Explorer on Windows Phone? IE has long been the whipping boy among browsers, at least from a PC enthusiast’s standpoint. Lambasted for its lack of security and standards support, Internet Explorer has been losing market share to Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.

Follow the break to learn why Internet Explorer 9 is the single biggest feature coming to Windows Phone 7 in 2011, at least in this writers estimation.

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Looks like all is not going well with that Windows Phone update that are rolling out today as reports are coming in that the Samsung Omnia 7 is having some stability issues when updating.

Specifically, we're told that the "backup gets stuck at 100% (Step 7 of 10) and the update doesn't carry on". So while the phone is still usable (luckily), users can't proceed with the update which also means the 'NoDo' update will be out of reach as well. This isn't just one or two people either as @winhonesupport is dealing with quite a number of user-generated problems with the same description.

Windows Phone Support is already on the case, looking into what is happening exactly. So far though, this seems to be Samsung/Omnia 7 specific, so for now we'll have to advise those to wait a bit before updating.

Thanks, Steve F, for letting us know!

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Although HTC users get to use a pretty solid (and free) mobile YouTube application that even handles HQ videos, the rest of us are left on the sidelines for some 3rd party developer. Luckily, one has come forward: SWFlight and their app called RealTube which fetches for $1.99 in the Marketplace. The app basically converts Flash to Silverlight. Smart.

The app is in some ways better than HTC's since it is not bound just by YouTube, but rather can play all sorts of videos found on the internet: MSN, MySpace, FunnyorDie, CNN, DailyMotion, etc all in HD (when over WiFi). The app also works over 3G for those on go. It does lack full YouTube integration, so managing your account of favorites and sharing seems like a no-go too, plus if someone sends you a link, it won't open RealTube (no file association). Still, despite the obvious limitations, video quality is quite high and the search works pretty well, even allowing filters.[Edit: Although I didn't know how to in the video, to get results from a specific web site, "...add the phrase site: to your search, for example: crazy cats site:funnyordie.com"]

While $1.99 is a bit pricey, the free trial at least lets you take it for a test drive (the trial is fully functional for a generous 15 days) and for you video hounds out there, this seems to be a solid solution, especially for a v1.0.  Grab the app here on your phone or Zune desktop.

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