Windows Phone Summary of the Week: March 12 - 18 2012

Welcome to your Windows Phone summary of the week, where we fill you in on everything that has happened over the week here at WPCentral. It's been fairly eventful period (with advertising and promotion anyway - looking at you Nokia), so let's head straight into it. Before we crack on with the goodies, WPCentral is judging a Windows Phone UK contest where the main prize is a shiny new Lumia 800! All you have to do is review your favourite must-have Xbox Live game and submit it for a chance of winning.

We've got episode 138 of the WPCentral podcast published and ready for your viewing pleasure - Jay and Dan are joined by Justin Angel from Nokia. Over at our Windows Phone forum, we've got a new bartering section implemented that enables registered members to exchange / buy / sell devices and other products. Among the active discussions currently taking place, there has been particular interest in Apollo (Windows Phone 8). Be sure to head on past the break for the full summary.

Kicking off our highlights is the recent reference to Windows Phone "Tango" as the 'Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh', though it has since been confirmed that this is not an official title of the OS update. Microsoft is set to officially launch "Tango" in China on March 21st, with Stephen Elop of Nokia confirming that they'll be brining the first Nokia Windows Phone to China by the 28th.

According to a survey ran by Strategic Analytics, consumers desire the larger screens that we're seeing (in the 4" region) and the results show almost 90% actively seek prototype / newer handsets that sport larger displays. AppHub will be adding 23 more countries to the supported list, which will enable developers in those countries to submit their work to the Marketplace, and for consumers to download and enjoy apps / games.

Air Pick Voice, the exciting concept by developer KeyboardP, has been rebranded to TellDJ and the desktop software is currently available for testing with feedback greatly appreciated.

WP Central

Gerbil Physics has entered the Marketplace, bypassing detection and arriving a week early. IonBallEX is this week's Xbox Live Deal of the Week, which can be picked up for just $1.99. File this under "huge news" for the platform and Xbox Live gaming on the go as Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode II will feature synchronous gameplay between Windows Phone and the Xbox console.

The Gameboy Pocket emulator for Windows Phone, Blue Tomato (aka Wario's Jewels), has landed onto the Marketplace. We've experienced a number of sudden (and often unexplained) disappearances with games being pulled from the Marketplace, latest to fall victim is Twin Blades. Unfortunately the title has not only been pulled from Windows Phone, but also the Xbox and iOS stores too.

DoDonPachi Maximum, the massively hard Japanese Xbox Live title, has had its two secret achievements revealed, and they are not easy to obtain. Kinectimals has been updated, bringing Mango support and a new live tile, while Tentacles has been updated with new DLC made available.

According to a a PR Spokesperson from Google Germany, Stefan Keuchel, an official Google+ app for Windows Phone is on the way. GigaOm, the developer of TextPlus, have explained why they have chosen the Windows Phone platform over RIM's Blackberry. Yet another third-party YouTube client has been released onto the Marketplace, though PrimeTube is set to please those Metro fanatics.

The team behind Draw Something has listened to Windows Phone owners who desire to see the app developed for the platform. Should you be interested in seeing such a move, be sure to head on over to the community thread to show your support. First images of an unofficial Audible app in beta have surfaced, which will surely please those who are eagerly awaiting an app that will enable access to their Audible account.

We take a look at a preview video of the Lock Screen Widget homebrew concept that's under development by Windows Phone Hacker. ICQ for Windows Phone has finally arrived, after being announced back in November last year. Should you be a fan of newer services, then perhaps a Pinterest app will interest you? Pinsation is now available on the Marketplace. The popular enterprise messaging and conference Lync app has received an update to bump it to version 4.1.

LG has released Photo Exhibition for Windows Phone, while Nokia unveiled Creative Studio, both being simple (and free) photo editing apps. Our own Matt has released Pocket Meme onto the Marketplace that will feed the needs of those who require a daily dose of memes. "Speak To Play" has been rebranded to "Hey DJ" and receives a price drop with new features added in.

WPRemote for Roku has added more functionality in version 2.0, including YouTube playback, which the folks at Roku central can't achieve due to not wishing to pay Google for the rights. easyRing gets updated and receives a name alteration to easyRing&Music. The update adds the capability to play / download music as well as create ringtones. Sketch Camera received an update which introduced more effects for use. Finally, iHeartRadio gets Pandora-like playback with the latest version.

While it hasn't been officially launched yet, Windows Phone "Tango" has been leaked on the XDA Developers forum and some chefs have cooked a ROM for both the HD2 and Omnia 7. Nokia's design chief, Marko Ahtisaari, the company is working hard on a tablet. Possibly Windows 8? Nokia published an FAQ for the U.S. and international Lumia 900, which also confirmed that the entire range of Lumia handsets will be sporting WiFi tethering soon enough.

Optus, an Australian carrier, has sold out of Lumia 800s, but should you reside in the Netherlands you'll be able to purchase one (in any colour) from Castle Telecom for free. This deal is closely followed by New Zealand Telecom and Telenet. The Lumia 800 bundle, which was unveiled at the Microsoft Store, has landed at Amazon in black and magenta. 

FCC has certified the Samsung SGH i667 "Mandel" 4G LTE Windows Phone, and is set to be heading for AT&T this year. The HTC TITAN II is still bound for the U.S., but it would seem as though Australia would like to get in on all the monster action with a release date on Telstra of early April. In China there has been some recorded hands-on with the HTC Triumph (TITAN). Lastly, images of the unknown Lumia 719 have been leaked.

Should you be an avid Facebook user, then you may want to check out this interesting Windows Phone cover photo design to show off those tiles. Nokia is continuing its global marketing campaign by launching the platform in Chile with a 3D light show in Santiago. Sydney was also taken by storm with giant Lumia 800s as well as an augmented reality event

Pip Anderson, an established free runner / stunt performer, took the Lumia 900 for a spin in Barcelona. Symbio has used 144 Windows Phones to break the world record for largest phone-formed display - impressive stuff. Colour us surprised, but it seems as though TELUS has taken the leap to advertise the Lumia handset 800 off their own back instead of Nokia. It's good to see a carrier with confidence in the handset.

If you've been a Microsoft fan / follower for some time, you can now use some retro Microsoft logo wallpapers on your Windows Phone. If that's not your cup of tea, and you're more into the likes of StarCraft, then perhaps some StarCraft II wallpapers will get your attention? Nokia set up a lab at the SXSW event sporting a number of Lumia handsets, which turned out to fairly popular, now we've got some photos of the event published by the company that also shows a "smokedbywindowsphone" type competition being held.

For our trusty developers we have just two entries for you. The upcoming Windows Phone User Group meetup is on Wednesday (21st March) in London, be sure to register and head along should you be available. AdDuplex interviews 4Bros Studio, the developers behind Taptitude, for an insight into the marketing and monetization.







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.