Windows Phone Summary of the Week: February 19 - 26 2012

Welcome to this week's Windows Phone news recap where we take a look at everything you may have missed throughout the week. Kicking us off is our forums where we've re-introduced the 'off-topic' section for all the general non-Windows Phone related banter. As well as the reminder of our non-serious forum, we've got a handful of hot threads that you may wish to engage in.

As you're more than likely already aware of, it's Mobile Nations Fitness Month and we're in the last leg of February, so you'll see an assignment published by each of us detailing how Windows Phones can help us remain healthy. Our Seth Brodeur takes a look at some cuisine apps for both vegans and vegetarians. Lastly, just a quick reminder: The Lumia 710 giveaway photo contest ends tomorrow, so be sure to enter for your chance to win. Head on past the break for the full summary.

AT&T has brought secure messaging for government and enterprise to Windows Phone with a new app: AT&T Secure Messaging, which allows encrypted messages to be sent between handsets and then some. The minds behind WizTiles have released a new Silverlight web app enabling users of their app to create their own live tile themes. While some development is ongoing for the platform, other brands are still holding off, including Grooveshark.

Here in the UK Windows Phone is poised to overtake Symbian in terms of marketshare shortly and statistics reveal a promising picture for Microsoft's platform at 2.2%, up from just 0.4%. Ben (the PC Guy) was giving away more Windows Phones for the best desire stories on Twitter; while having a short break at smoking competitor handsets.

Microsoft has signed a new app privacy policy deal alongside Apple, RIM, Amazon, Google and HP with a California courtroom. This will require developers to be much more upfront with stating what data will be collected, etc. and will be a welcomed move for the Marketplace. While on the subject of Microsoft and the Marketplace, it looks like the software giant is scrapping the Zune and Windows Live brands in Windows 8, to further integrate products under a larger umbrella.

Nokia has become Windows Phone's top manufacturer, according to Strategy Analytics, after just four months since the launch of both the Lumia 710 and 800 in Europe. Yahoo! has recommended the Lumia 710 4G as an affordable option alongside other competitor 3G handsets, which illustrates the value for money. Nokia has reached an agreement with Tencent to offer their QQ Game Hall gaming platform and replace the Xbox LIVE functionality on "Tango" handsets released in China.

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Microsoft has announced several new Xbox LIVE titles that will be making their way to the Marketplace next month, including the likes of Pinball FX 2 and Carcassonne. MaxNick, Russian developer best known for the Xbox LIVE title Spider Jack, has released a new indie game called Doodle Invasion. Will you provide aid and support to the beaches?

We take a sneaky look at Splinter Cell: Conviction, an Xbox LIVE title (that has just been released) which left us relatively impressed. If that wasn't enough, we also have an exclusive preview of another live-enabled titleGerbil Physics. The Sega Master System and Game Gear emulator Sonic's Jewels 7 (SJ7) was recently removed due to a copyright claim filed by the company, but it has returned under a new name - Blue Tomato.

This week's Xbox LIVE Deal of the Week is... *drum roll*... Orbital from Bitforge and Microsoft Studios. Rounding off our gaming coverage for the week is an update being pushed out for the Xbox Companion app, although we're not too certain what's actually changed in the latest version.

Facebook for Windows Phone received a follow-up update with the major release that appeared to have removed the 'Events' main menu entry. We covered the release of a Homebrew Marketplace Windows desktop app, which enables those who sport an unlocked device to browse a catalogue of homebrew apps. The HTC YouTube app has disappeared from the OEM catalogue again, but shouldn't affect those who have invested in more functional 3rd-party solutions.

CNN has released an official app for Windows Phone, and a potential Photosynth app could be on the horizon from Microsoft. DFT has hit the news twice this week with obtaining access to Windows Phone build 8757 and releases a Bluetooth file transfer app for completely unlocked handsets.

We're covering MWC this coming few days, and ZTE is set to unleash a number of handsets at the event with a few being set for our platform. While the Lumia family has scored Nokia the top spot with regards to Windows Phone OEM marketshare, we take a look at how this reflects in app usage. The Lumia 800 bundle is available at the online Microsoft Store, and has recently launched in Ireland accompanied by an Xbox console promotion.

Nokia Lumia Windows Phones are being stocked by both Optus and Virgin Mobile for Australian consumers to take advantage of. The HTC Radar 4G is available on Canadian network Wind Mobile, which has had adverts published in local newspapers. Our Dan Rubino takes the new Mugen 1950mAh HTC Titan battery out for a spin, we'll check back later with results on possible improvements against stock.

We've had a number of videos from Nokia, with a solid collection from "The Amazing Everyday" campaign:

As well as the marketing commercials, we had the Lumia 800 being blown at MACH 5 speed (which is pretty darn gustily) by the folks at NokNok. Should you have had enough of Bullet Asylum on the mobile, desktop wallpapers will ensure your defence is primed for imminent invasion. We also caught up with Microsoft's Cafe Mango in the Dallas area.

For our beloved developers we've got news of Press Play announcing their intentions to release the Unity 3D toolkit (for free) they built and used to port games to XNA/Silverlight. To close us off on a positive note, Microsoft organised the first Windows Phone developer camp in Cairo, Egypt.







Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.