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Microsoft has teamed up with startup 22tracks, which focuses on helping consumers discover new music through curated playlists, to redesign its experience with touch in mind. If you're not familiar with 22tracks, the genre-based music collections are by multiple experts from different parts of the world. The two parties have come together to build a new HTML5 interface with numerous features.

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While Microsoft may be dominating the Windows news today with the announcement of the Surface Pro 3 hardware, partner Adobe is also targeting creative professionals of the slate with an updated Photoshop experience that brings a better touch experience to the slate. Given the capabilities of the Surface Pro 3 such as an Intel Core i7 processor, an accurate pen for drawing and writing, and a capacious 12-inch display, the Surface Pro 3 may serve as a great Photoshop tool for users who need to draw and manipulate photos and images.

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Microsoft Mobile – or what we’ll still to refer to as Nokia for now – has been busy this morning, pushing out no less than five updates for some of their Lumia system software. These are those little apps that help things run smoothly on your device, and are considered pretty important.

Of course, that implies we know what was fixed and in this case, we don’t. However, you can guess at the usual bug fixes, and we wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few optimizations for Windows Phone 8.1 devices (fingers crossed). Regardless, there’s no harm in doing these updates, so let’s have at ‘em.

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Nokia never fails to impress us with the little options and configurations the company adds with its system app updates. This latest release (version for the Touch system app on Lumia Windows Phones enables a new setting for consumers to toggle, which affects the vibration feedback caused by hitting the capacitive buttons. You're now able to simply turn the vibration on and off.

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Recent updates by Nokia may reveal forthcoming additions to expand Lumia functionality for users

Nokia has been churning out quite a few updates lately for its Lumia Windows Phones, especially for those with the Amber update. The last few system app changes, notably Extras + Info yesterday and Display + Touch for today, simply moved those settings into their own categories.

While that is seen as a fix for discoverability, there are few other deviations that have been noticed as well that may be a sign of things to come.

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Yesterday we reported on Nokia making some changes to its Display + Touch settings area, where you can configure some options for the Glance screen, altering display properties and adjusting touch sensitivity. The company has split up the panorama panes into separate settings entries to help with familiarity and easier to notice when first using a Lumia Windows Phone. 

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Let’s not beat around the bush. When the touch-centric iPhone came out in 2007 it changed mobile gaming – for the better. It helped to push mobile gaming to the masses and cement touch as a viable input option for games. Since then Android and Windows Phone have had their share of awesome games – beautiful and fun games stuff like Tentacles and Contre Jour are examples of games that couldn’t exist without touch. One thing that’s lacked in the tablet and smartphone space is a unified input system. A recent patent filing shows that Microsoft is positioning to change that.

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The Nokia Lumia 920 will have a 4.5" WXGA, 1280x768 PureMotion HD+ display. It is being billed as the fastest and brightest displays and has the most sensitive touch responses.

We've been impressed with Nokia's ClearBlack technology found on other Lumia Windows Phones, such as the Lumia 900, and from what we have witness during today's press event the PureMotion technology definitely takes things to the next level.

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And that's the real question, isn't it? When it comes time to put up or shut up -- and Microsoft's not yet saying when or where you'll be able to buy one of the new Surface tablet laptop thingies -- just how much are you going to have to shell out? Here's the official line.

Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Not exactly long on details, is it. But even if it's competitive with a comparable ARM tablet (of which there are a scant few, by the way) or an Intel Ultrabook, you're still going to be handing over several hundred dollars. What's more is that nobody's saying whether the Surface Touch Cover -- that's the official name for the keyboard cover -- will be optional, or if it'll come with the tablet. 

That's long been a complaint about tablets like the ASUS Transformer Prime. By the time you buy the tablet and optional keyboard, you're well within laptop costs. But we'll all keep our fingers crossed.

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Well, if there's one thing we learned tonight it's that a lot of you watch Kiefer Sutherland's "Touch" series on Fox, at least judging by the amount of tips we received. Evidently tonight was the two-part season finale (yes, the show was renewed) and the main child prodigy gets his hand on a cyan Lumia 900. What's more, the scene is fairly long by product-placement standards, resulting in some nice screen time for the hit device on AT&T.

Also note the appearance of the AT&T AirGraffiti app for Windows Phone. For those of you who don't know, AirGraffiti was a concept app from AT&T that allows users to "...leave videos, photos and songs “in the air” at physical addresses for friends or others to retrieve when they visit that location". It's a very cool concept that uses the phone's media resources, social networking and Location Based Services (LBS).

AirGraffiti on Windows Phone?

No word though is that app is actually coming to Windows Phone or AT&T and Nokia are just teasing the hell out of us. Let's hope it's the former as that'd be a very cool win.

Anyway we managed to get a video clip of the appearance on the show--there were two scenes--and we mixed 'em and posted 'em for you to peep. The video is on SkyDrive and if you're wondering why it's not on YouTube, you can blame their Draconian copyright enforcement.

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With the release of Windows Phone 7 right around the corner, just in time for the holidays, techjunky79 tipped us on a cool video over on Vimeo that might help usher in that holiday spirit.

The design hangs in the Lost Boys (a London marketing and technology agency) reception area and uses HTC Touch phones that were recently shelved during a corporate upgrade. Tunes can be composed and sent to the sculpture online to mix things up.

It's definitely a creative way to make use of the older Windows Phones.

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Multitouch and Windows Phone 7 Series

Now that Windows Phone users will have to get used to having capacitive touchscreens (see what we just did there?), let's take a look at exactly what's supported, including multitouch. We'll start with the most basic gesture -- the tap. A single touch on the screen. Or, as Microsoft describes it in the Windows Phone Design and UI Interaction Guide, "Finger down on a single point within a bundled area and back up within a short period of time."

That whet your appetite? Of course it did. Join us after the break for more.

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It is with awe and envy when we see chief Windows phone manufacturer HTC take one of its devices and convert it for the competition.

And that seems to be the case here as the rarely talked about HTC Rome, now appropriately dubbed Touch.B, takes the stage for the first time. And guess that labeling on the back is here to stay? We're okay with that.

Not much is known about the specs, so nothing to get worked up over at this time. It certainly does look nice and we suppose it's not that different from the Eris (which to us trumps Motorola's DROID).  

Still, it is odd having Android running so closely with Windows phones these days. It's like our twin sibling evil twin sibling plotting to kill us.

[UnwiredView via MobiFrance]

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Windows Mobile 6.5.x explained?

Just yesterday we were mentioning the latest leaked build of WM6.5, build 28004, which is branched off as WM6.5.3.

This is the latest in a series of builds by Microsoft that continues to make things more finger-friendly, that much is obvious. What is not obvious is where exactly this fits in with Microsoft's plan in regards to WM6.5 and WM7, and whether this ever see the light of day in an official capacity. (Even the much-heralded HTC HD2 is running older builds.)

Looks like the folks at MoPocket have, off the record, spoken to a Microsoft representative at a trade show, and they asked directly about what all of these builds were about.

In short, it is about the coming wave of capacitive devices. According to the rep, capacitive screens are much more responsive but far less accurate than resistive. (But you already knew that.) In turn, things need to be bigger to touch (and this is also why the iPhone does not have handwriting recognition). 

As a result ...

"Windows Mobile ... is a UI designed to be able to tap with nearly pixel accuracy. As it stands, the top bar and bottom bar of WM6.5 aren’t tall enough to be able to have clickable buttons without a resistive display."

And what about the HD2, you may ask? After all, it has a capacitive display.  Indeed and HTC had to do a lot of in-house work to make that happen, because it's not actually enabled by Microsoft in the OS. That's something we've asked about before on the podcast, and Microsoft is working to make it easier for the OEMs by building it into the OS.

So there you have it. WM6.5.x is real, but looks to be designed for next-generation capacitive displays and might well not be an upgrade for current WM6.5 devices. (Though it could well point to the availability of  more capacitive-display phones before the launch of Windows Mobile 7.) It also probably won't be called WM6.5.1 either, just another special variant for specific devices.

Read more mopocket 

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That's right, folks. For a limited time only (we presume) you can get the HTC Touch Pro and Touch Diamond, as well as the Samsung Omnia, for the low, low price of $99. As you well know, all three of those phones are on their way out, so the discount isn't unexpected.

(The Samsung Saga is still at $199, btw, the SMT5800 is $99 the Ozone and Q9m are $49, and the original HTC Touch is $9.99.)

That all comes along with a 2-year contract. So if you don't mind signing away 730 days of your cellular life for phones that while good, aren't the latest and greatest, head on over to Verizon.

Thanks, Elliot, and everyone else who sent this in.

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Sure, just about everyone is moving to the new kid on the block--Touch Diamond, but not everyone is made out of cash and lets be honest, the original Sprint Touch has its charm too (WM 6.1, GPS, RevA, etc).

So it's nice to see this guy dropping to the ultra-low price of just $49 on Sprint (with a new contract, or talking Sprint down if you're convincing). That's even lower than the Centro.

Have that friend who wants their first smartphone but not ready to commit? Maybe this will tempt them. And throw in that special Sprint plan...magic!

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Well, that didn't take too long...

Just days after the succesful port of a very early release of WM6.5 on various GSM devices, Conflipper over at ppcgeeks has released a kitchen that opens the door for a ton of  CDMA devices (Touch, Diamond, Touch Pro, Mogul).

Now, be warned: this is pre-release, early build stuff for WM6.5, meaning a lot of "things" are broke--so your help is needed. 

Also, we should be on the lookout for a newer WM6.5 build around January sit tight.

Having said that, here's what to expect...

Read on for the nitty-gritty details!

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Touch Pro Finally Lands at Verizon

Steven emailed us this morning:

It's HERE, it's HERE, it's HERE!!

Indeed it is, sir, the Verizon Touch Pro is live at Verizon's site for $420 with a 2 year contract and a $70 mail-in rebate, bringing the final price down to $350. We're still baffled (and we mean baffled) as to why it's different from the Sprint, Alltel, Bell, and Telus version of the Touch Pro, but who are we to argue against any device that offers:

  • EVDO Rev A
  • 640x480 Touchscreen
  • 1340mAh battery
  • TouchFlo 3D
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • 3.2 mp Camera
  • 512mb / 128 RAM

...Ok, we're going to hedge on that last bit, doesn't seem like quite enough for a TouchFlo 3D device. Then again, maybe that's why Verizon doesn't show it in their marketing image, above, eh?

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