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Kantar Worldpanel's latest numbers shows continued rapid growth for Windows Phone sales in European markets, but heavier drops are highlighted in China and Italy.

Kantar WorldPanel today released market share figures for the smartphone market. For three months to August 2013, the report shows Windows Phone posting its highest ever share of sales, with 9.2 percent across five European markets. Compared to last month's report, this is substantial growth. Android remains dominant across the board, as is to be expected, but there's certainly a change in the winds.

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Grab a cup of coffee and that outdated backpack, we are going to get you ready for the first Semester of classes in this special Back to School 2013 Guide. We have broken the guide down by different student types including “The Geek”, “The Artist”, “The Budgeter”, and “The Entrepreneur”. Check it out below and let us know what you think. Alright, all board – let’s go!

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In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, corporate vice president of mobile communication products at Asus, Benson Lin has revealed that the company is indeed considering Windows Phone. Unfortunately the employee also noted that such hardware has no timeline on when they'll be released to consumers. For Asus to be building Windows Phones would further add to the foundations of the platform.

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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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We wrote yesterday about the things to watch out for with the launch of Windows 8. One of those things was SmartGlass and Microsoft have now revealed more ahead of the launch. They have updated the Windows 8 apps and free streaming is now available for Xbox Music.

As part of a broader roll out of better entertainment services, SmartGlass aims to improve the ability to use tablets and smartphones to better control the experience with the Xbox 360.  The video goes on to show how internet sessions can be shared from Windows Phone 8 to the console, along with bouncing it back from the console to your tablet. It’s looking awesome, check out the video after the break.

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Accord Windows Phone 8 device from HTC appears?

The usual warnings of rumour caution apply here but this looks like this could have some weight. In what appears to have been discovered from a HTC ROM, a new HTC device sports a mind-bending shade of purple. We have already reported on the leaked specifications of HTCs future Windows Phone 8 wares, and this colour usage certainly receives our attention.

We have to point out the obvious here and say, its running Windows Phone 7.5. Granted its not sporting a standard colour scheme so could just be HTC experimenting with getting those shades right.  The body design is certainly not what we normally see from HTC, perhaps this signals some exciting things coming from one of our favourite device makers?

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Amazon & Android. New competition or just hype?

Amazon, the online retailer we all know and love, are testing a smartphone. According to reports, sources within companies who supply hardware for Amazon's upcoming handset have confirmed that testing of said device is already underway, with production set to take place later this year or early 2013.

With what we've seen with the Kindle Fire tablet, it's a strong possibility that the online giant could well be using Google's Android OS to power their new hardware, which could then be sold under the Kindle brand. What's interesting to note, probably only from a Windows Phone point-of-view, is that Brandon Watson is currently at Amazon working away on the Kindle. Could he be collaborating with the company on a new smartphone after leaving Microsoft?

The WSJ reports that Amazon's smartphone has a display size sitting in the region between 4 and 5 inches - a perfect size to compete with the likes of the TITAN II and Galaxy S 3. It'll be interesting should Amazon choose to go with Android and launch a smartphone, since the platform is pack full of competitive companies, not to mention the established iPhone, BlackBerries, Windows Phones, etc. 

But what if they didn't choose Android? Let's not forget about Mozilla's Firefox OS. A 2013 smartphone release would fit in with Mozilla's plans for world domination kicking off next year. Then again, as we've asked before, will Firefox OS actually take off? It wouldn't make sense for Amazon to put eggs in a basket that's yet to prove itself.

We'll be sure to keep a close eye on the online retailer. What do you guys think of Amazon's plans? Let us know in the comments.

Source: WSJ, via: ITProPortal

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First out of the gate from CTIA 2012 in New Orleans is the Samsung Focus 2. The follow-up to the (wait for it ...) Samsung Focus brings a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 8GB of internal storage and it's rocking a 1.4 GHz processor. And as was confirmed by the official specs earlier today, it's got a 1750 mAh battery. 

The Focus 2 actually is a tad heavier than its predecessor, but it's in a slightly smaller form factor. It feels decent enough in the hand. It's definitely got a plastic feel to it, which you'd expect from a Samsung phone. But, indeed, for an entry-level device, you're not going to be ashamed to pull this one out of your pocket. And it's always nice to see a dedicated camera button on the side of a phone.

Other items of note: It'll be available May 20 for $49.99 on contract ($19.99 on upgrade). We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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Nielsen has announced that half of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. now own a smartphone. Comparing February 2012, where the lines for both feature phones and smartphones meet in the above graph, with February last year we can clearly see a massive jump from just 38%. That's an average increase of smartphone owners by 1% per-month.

With low-end, affordable Android and Windows Phones, consumers are now able to hop onto the smartphone train without breaking the bank balance. As technology continuously evolves and social networking becomes more prominent in our lives, more mobile phone owners are looking at ways to stay in touch with friends and family that doesn't require either texting or calling.

"More than two-thirds of those who acquired a new mobile device in the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone."

According to Nielsen's marketshare data (for the U.S.), Android still runs the show with a 48% hold of the market. iOS is at a comfortable 32%, RIM struggles on with 12%, and Windows Phone is lost somewhere among the "other" 8%. While many could look at this negatively, this data is prior to Nokia and AT&T's upcoming marketing blitz for the Lumia 900, which is set to available on April 8th.

With the steady rate of consumers acquiring smartphones, now is the time for Nokia to push through the Lumia family of handsets to capture the market, and Microsoft needs to be behind them throwing surplus dosh away at every opportunity.

Via: BGR

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It's not everyday that we witness an incredible smartphone conceptional design, but the above video shows what SchultzeWORKS have come up with - the Triple Flip smartphone. One could wrap this entire post covering the video in one word - stunning. Both the 3D modelling and the functionality of the device is inspiring, and it doesn't seem too farfetched at all. Best part? It's running Windows Phone 7.

The research for the “Triple Flip” was driven by the notion that the static smart-phone-with-touch-screen may be reaching the limit of their usefulness. Lead designer Dave Schultze explains, “We looked at the areas where smart phones were falling short and then delivered seven innovations to make them truly better. We had a few more, but seven was a good place to stop.”

Will we see this sort of advancement in future smartphones? Probably not for some time. Only one thing's for sure though (from this video anyway), Windows Phone 7 is a true contender for the smartphone market and I wouldn't be surprised if ideas begin to be drawn around WP7 with how new smartphone devices could function and look like.

Via: @aadjemonkeyrock

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Breaking down smartphone OS usage

 

The marketing research company Comscore has released the numbers from a July 2010 survey that breaks down smartphone OS usage in the U.S. and European markets.  The numbers have Windows Mobile holding it's own and in some cases, well ahead of Android, iPhone and Blackberry devices.

Nokia still dominates the European market representing more than half of the smartphones in use. However, Nokia share of the European market has slid 14.4% since last year likely due to the increase shares of Android and iPhone.

Windows Phones did the best in Spain and Italy, taking second place behind Nokia with 11.9% and 11.4% of those markets respectively.  The worst came with the U.K. market with Windows Phones coming in last at 7.1%.

Comparatively, in the U.S., Blackberry remains on top with 39.3% of the market with Windows Mobile coming in behind the iPhone (23.8%) and Android (17%) at 11.8% of the market.

It will be interesting to see how Windows Phone 7 will impact this survey when it is conducted next year. Will Microsoft see market gains with the new Windows Phones? Shortening the gaps between competing Operating Systems or increasing the lead?

via: wmpoweruser.com

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Facade gets bumped up to 2.1

SBSH Mobile has announced that Facade has received an upgrade to version 2.1. For the uninitiated, Facade is an interface customization tool for Windows phones without touchscreens.

We love us some Windows Mobile Standard around here. Customizing and tweaking can be a little more difficult on Standard than Professional, making a tool like Facade pretty handy for those of you that want more control over the look and feel that your phone provides.

In addition to the bug fixes, language updates, and performance and stability improvements; Facade includes some new or improved features in version 2.1. Access to an online Skins Arena will allow you to find and install a skin that fits your personality without forcing you to build your own. The Skins Arena can be accessed from your device or from a computer. Analog Clocks are also supported in 2.1, and are skinnable as well.

Facade 2.1 is available as a free upgrade to registered users of Facade 2. Those of you still using version 1.x can upgrade to 2.1 for $7.95.

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The bad news: AT&T is going to mandate that all smartphone users have actual, honest-to-goodness data plans starting Sept. 6. Buy a smartphone from AT&T after that date and you'll have to shell out some more money for data services. [via BGR]

The good news: If you currently have a smartphone and but still have one of the old MediaNet plans, you'll be grandfathered in and keep your old plan.

The even better news: This is GSM, people! Unless you're just dying to buy a phone subsidized from AT&T, all you have to do is buy one somewhere else and slap in your SIM card.

That said, this would be much easier to swallow if we weren't still seeing headlines about certain data-heavy apps being disallowed on AT&T's 3G network. (And remember, we're not just talking iPhone here. ToS is ToS.) If any carrier wanted to charge me, say, $100 a month to serve up the mythical dumb pipe, I'd glady pay it.

That's it for me. Get your rant on in the comments.

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This is how we love starting off our day — more he said/she said Dell news! So the other day investment analyst Shaw Wu (who gets no love from Daring Fireball) said that Dell shopped two smartphones around to carriers — one a Windows Mobile phone, the other Android. The carriers promptly turned their noses up and sent Dell back to the drawing board.

Today, DigiTimes reports that's just not so.

Dell will not delay the launch of its new smartphone lineup and is on schedule to release devices in line with its internal roadmap, company CEO Michael Dell said recently in Taipei. However Dell did not publicly divulge any details indicating when products are scheduled for release.

Whom to believe? It's anyone's guess. But since everyone seems to know what Dell's up to in the smartphone market, we'll throw our guess into the ring as well. And we're pretty sure you can take it to the bank:

Dell will release some sort of technology in the next few months. It will involve circuit boards, memory chips, a button or two, and more than likely will be painted black. It might make phone calls. It might not.

You heard it here first, folks.

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