Windows Phone Summary of the Week: May 7 - May 13, 2012

It's another Sunday, which means it's another summary of the week time here at WPCentral. In this recap of the past 6 days, we harvest all the stories you may have missed that are worth reading up on. So make a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy the ride. As always, before we crack on with the summary itself we'll run through some WPCentral-related headlines. First up is a guide by our Daniel Rubino, which walks us through how we can get a new Live ID and keep all Windows Phone app / game purchases. Neat!

WPCentral member SpeedTouch hosted a Windows Phone meetup in St Louis and was a relatively good success. Faisal Iqbal got fed up of a problem many smartphone users find themselves hitting where sharing websites can prove to be quite an issue. He developed a small Javascript bookmark that can be loaded on you Windows Phone when browsing a website. This will then load a QR code that another smartphone can scan to open up that exact webpage. Ingenious.

Have you just purchased a shiny new smartphone running Microsoft's OS? Are you wandering how the company's cloud storage service SkyDrive integrates into the platform? We've got you covered with our introduction to SkyDrive guide. Episode 142 of the WPCentral Podcast is now live on website where we discuss Samsung, Nokia and more. On our community forum, we've introduced a new user group for residential developers to make use of their experience on our boards. Alas, that's enough of us, let's get into this summary.

Samsung kicks us off with their plans to take on Nokia in the Windows Phone market with "Apollo" handsets built with Android hardware, will they succeed? Microsoft has added 300 new titles to the Brazilian Marketplace, which features tighter restrictions and requirements for games. Senior User Experience Designer for Windows Phone, Artuo Toledo, leaves Microsoft. The genius has plans to publish a free ebook for developers using his Metro development series.

Nokia has been a busy bee with Windows Phone. From going overboard with advertising to holding massive events, the manufacturer shows no signs of letting up. This is reaffirmed with news of the company striking new partnerships with developers and companies to bring more official apps to the Marketplace. There have been growing concerns from the community that these partnerships could cause fragmentation in the ecosystem, much like what Android suffers from, but we take a look at how this is not the case.

According to sources familiar with company plans, Microsoft has shown interest in having a Facebook certified phone run on their platform. Question is: why can't Facebook certify Windows Phone as the dominant OS? It's arguably the most socially connected, especially with Facebook itself. Nokia has begun rebranding the Marketplace app on Lumia Windows Phones with a new tile that has a cartoon-like bag with an "n" labeled on top. To close up our highlights, Microsoft is set to unleash an overhaul of Bing to make the search engine more social and give the experience a simplistic feel.

Battleship, Mirror's Edge, and Fling are coming soon to Xbox Live on Windows Phone, which is surely going to make a few owners drool. Feed Me Oil has splashed onto the Marketplace, and is only priced at a minute 99 cents. The Xbox Live Deal of the Week is Pocket God though, which requires some serious updating. Speaking of updates, ARMED has recently been patched, and we can also report that the title is coming to Windows 8.

We've got our hands on the achievements for two upcoming Xbox Live Windows Phone games: Gun Bros and Contract Killer. What's that? You're bored of geoDefense? Well how does geoDefense Swarm sound? It's coming to the platform on May 16th. Following this tower defense title is Droplitz Delight, a mobile-exclusive puzzle game, which is set to arrive on May 23rd. The popular fish feeding game Grow has been updated and now sports a free trial. To wrap up our gaming coverage is news of Monster Island getting updated and returning to the Marketplace.

Nokia has unveiled City Lens beta for Lumia Windows Phone owners. The app helps users find local POI (points of interest) using augmented reality - it's super cool. Are you interested? Of course you are! We take a closer look at Nokia City Lens, and should you not own a Lumia Windows Phone then fear not as Wikitude is an app available on the Marketplace that features similar functionality. The Caddie + golf app, which we covered previously, is now exclusively available for Lumia owners.

As well as signing deals and forming partnerships to bring apps to the platform, Nokia also got Six Flags on-board to create an app for all their theme parks. Official TIME Magazine and LinkedIn apps have now appeared on the Marketplace. With the built-in integration for LinkedIn, it's good to see an official app to compliment Windows Phone. Speaking of publications, The Daily Beast also releases an official app for Windows Phone, should you be interested in such opinionated news.

The popular Manga Reader for Windows Phone has been updated and is now available for free without any advertisements. Nextgen Reader also received an update packing more functionality and features with a helpful tutorial when first launching the app. YouTube Pro is dead. Long live SuperTube! The video streaming app is also completely free too. my NHS has been released onto the Marketplace, which also supports Microsoft's Health Vault service.

Pinterest has updated their APIs to block Windows Phone third-party clients, while Radio Controlled returns in beta and is once again a working Pandora app. HTC has introduced turn-by-turn charges for their Locations app. Voice-chat app TalkBox gets teased in a new video showing off the service, while Rabobank (RobABank?) releases an official client for customers who own a Windows Phone.

A few more updates were pushed through this week, including Soundhound with LiveLyrics support; the official SkyDrive app; and Newegg, which adds live tiles and other new features. Finally, VoIP service Viber has released a feature-limited beta for Windows Phone.

It would seem as though AT&T are either bringing Visual Voice Mail to non-LTE Windows Phones or an error occurred on their part, as we're noticing this functionality being present but unfortunately it gets stuck on synchronising. The carrier also announced the Samsung Focus 2 LTE 4G Windows Phone. We took a look at some photos and got some hands-on action with the upcoming Samsung phone. Should you be interested in the specifications, they're not all that impressive - we're still waiting on Windows Phone 8 hardware of course.

The white version of the Lumia 900 has been added on Amazon, but is already backordered. We've continuously reported on how the device is struggling stock-wise, and Nokia has since confirmed that they're just selling too many for supply to cope with. The Nokia flagship device managed to beat the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S for best display, which adds to the awards cabinet. The Lumia 900 has hit the British shores though and is available exclusively at Phones 4u.

We get some hands-on action with a Tango ROM on one of our Lumia 710s, which has been spotted on Nokia's servers. Samsung has also announced the Omnia M, as well as the Focus 2, but the specifications lead to us categorising it as a lower-end device to take on the Lumia 710 / 610. ZTE has finally reiterated their desire to bring Windows Phones to the U.S. but have raised other questions.

We covered the amusing news this week which saw Siri, Apple's personal assistant for the iPhone 4S, recommend the Lumia 900 when asked "What is the best cell phone ever?" At least it's accurate? Ben Rudolph, who started the Smoked by Windows Phone marketing campaign earlier in the year has released some insightful statistics surrounding the campaign - Windows Phone has a 95% global win rate. Not too shabby!

WP Central

Nokia has taken its UK-based Dare to Live marketing campaign to Scotland where Glasgow and Edinburgh were challenged to see if they could beat Windows Phone. Lastly, we have some miscellaneous news with Microsoft changing the Tweet via text when publishing from Windows Phone handsets. Instead of "via Windows Live", tweets are now sent "via Microsoft".

An upcoming Windows Phone developer conference reveals some details surrounding the upcoming "Apollo" update and states that it's due to be out this year. The Nokia and Microsoft  "Ready.Set () {Code}" challenges kicked off this weekend, be sure to check the event dates out for available places. We close up the developer news and this week's summary with the news of Verious opening up the pool of resources for Windows Phone developers to tap into.







Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.