23/04/2013 - Windows Phone gets an official Tumblr app
You can now scratch one more big name off the list of apps not available on Windows Phone. Tumblr has just released its official app for Microsoft's mobile platform (the latest version of it, at least), offering all the key features found in its iOS and Android counterparts with a distinct Windows Phone flavor. That includes the ability to swipe left and right to switch between the dashboard and "explore" options, and the option to add the latest images from your dashboard to your lock screen or live tiles. You can also rest assured that animated GIFs will remain animated while you scroll.
In response to a customer's question about Windows Phone plans, US Cellular used its official Facebook page to proclaim its intent to launch a WP8 device in the near future. While the representative specifically mentioned Windows 8 (sans "Phone"), we reached out to US Cellular for clarification. A company spokesperson confirmed our suspicions, stating that a device running the mobile platform will indeed be launching. We'll have to wait until next month to get additional details about it, but USCC customers biding their time for a WP8 smartphone will soon have the opportunity to grab one for themselves without making the move to a different carrier.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
We just witnessed the arrival of Pandora on Windows Phone last week, and sometime this week users will be able to enjoy another large title: Temple Run. The flee-from-evil-monkeys thriller has long been available for iOS and Android, but its arrival adds another popular app to Microsoft's arsenal. We've confirmed that the 99-cent title is in fact the original version, with no official word on when or if the sequel will land in the Windows Phone Store. The game is just one of six that plan to debut in conjunction with the Game Developers Conference. The list of the other five includes 6th Planet, Propel Man, Orcs Must Survive, Fling Theory and Ruzzle, and most (if not all) will be available as early as today.
21/03/2013 - Official Pandora app coming to Windows Phone 8 today
At October's Windows Phone 8 launch event, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore stood on stage and eagerly announced a laundry list of popular apps that were confirmed to be coming to the platform in the coming months. To the delight of many, Pandora was on the list -- and to top it all off, the music streaming service would come ad-free for the first year. The question then shifted to when it would actually make it to the Windows Phone Store, and we finally have an answer: today.
The free app will take advantage of a Live Tile in all three possible sizes, the two largest showing which song is currently playing, along with its album cover art. Pandora's arrival also marks another milestone: not only will it be available on Kids Corner, it's also the first app capable of automatically filtering out explicit content when the feature is activated. The service will only be available for Windows Phone 8 devices, but anyone accessing Pandora through alternate apps on Windows Phone 7.x can continue to do so.
Historically, Microsoft has been fairly transparent about its plans to support older versions of Windows -- and it tends to give users a nice, long heads up, too. Until now, though, that hasn't always been true of Windows Phone -- remember how long it took Redmond to confirm you couldn't upgrade to WP8? In any case, Microsoft seems to be taking a more direct approach going forward: the company posted a brief table on its site, explaining when it will end support for Windows Phone 8 and 7.5. In short, each OS gets a total of 18 months of support, and that period has of course already begun, as both operating systems are shipping on various hardware. Support for WP8 will end first, on July 8th, 2014, while 7.5 "Mango" will hit the end of the road on September 9th of that year.
Either way, if you purchased your device on a two-year contract, you might not mind the abrupt end to system updates, as you'll probably be eligible for a new handset by then. And besides, those of you who took a chance on 7.8 surely did so with the understanding that it can't be upgraded to WP8 anyway. What we're really curious about is whether Windows Phone 8 devices can simply be updated to the next version of the OS, entitling owners to another 18 months of support. We'll just have to cliffhanger you on that one.
A new job listing over at Microsoft has revealed when the outfit is planning to serve up the next iteration of its smartphone OS. According to the post, work on the current version is being finished up and they're "getting ready for our next release targeting the holiday of this year." Presumably, the update will be part of the wider Blue umbrella of tweaks for Windows. Though a vague "next release" doesn't offer any details in terms of features, it's likely the OS will carry a significant set of changes as the team in need of a developer is responsible for the Start screen experience, the shell, first party apps and more.
08/02/2013 - Spotify beta now available on Windows Phone 8
It's true, folks: Spotify is finally available as a free download on Windows Phone 8, which should come as a happy surprise for users who have been sorely missing the perks of the music streaming service on their brand new devices. Until now, the app was only available for legacy Windows Phone users, but it's finally made its way to WP8. If you don't see it available in your phone's store, hang on for a few hours; the app just barely started rolling out, so it may take a little while to reach everyone.
The Windows Phone 8 deluge is slowly starting to taper off. HTC and Nokia have made their presence known with loud, bold statements and even Huawei has gotten in on the action. Meanwhile Samsung has already blessed the market with its flagship ATIV S, a respectable rehash of the Galaxy S III with a Microsoft soul. Nokia and HTC even have their respective mid-range models on the market. Which leaves just one slot to be filled: a budget offering from Sammy. With the debut of the ATIV Odyssey it's safe to assume that the Windows Phone landscape won't be changing too dramatically in the immediate future. (Of course, Mobile World Congress could make a liar out of us in short order.)
The ATIV S simply doesn't have the pomp and flash (though, it has the guts) to run with the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X. But in the mid-range, where gimmicks and style often take a backseat to functionality, perhaps Samsung can carve out a space for itself among the Redmond faithful? Last year's Focus 2 and 2011's Focus Flash struck a winning combination of price and functionality by offering comparable specs to their higher-end competitors. Just over a year later, the question is whether that's still a winning combination in a market that's significantly broadened its horizons. Gallery: Samsung ATIV Odyssey review
Gallery: Samsung ATIV Odyssey review
When Microsoft and Nokia married at the temple of Windows Phone last year, the dowry was nothing if not complicated. Nokia had to pay a minimum amount in software royalties to Microsoft regardless of how many Lumia smartphones it sold, but the financial hit was more than cancelled out by "platform support payments" coming back the other way. At some point, however, the net flow of cash was always bound to switch direction, as the cost of the software royalties exceeded Redmond's $250 million quarterly support payments and the whole thing started to mature as something closer to a zero-sum transaction. According to Nokia's latest financial report, that turning point has now been reached and the company's accountants will have to start writing a minus where there used to be a plus. That makes it doubly fortunate that Nokia has just returned to profitability -- at least if future quarters prove it really has.
Nokia Drive+ is still in beta but, starting today, more people can take part in the navigational fun. The app has been freed from its Lumia exclusive bonds and is now available in the US, Canada and the UK on any Windows Phone 8 device. The download is free, but it's important to keep in mind that this is still a beta product -- so we can't make any guarantees about stability or compatibility. Still, the turn-by-turn navigation and offline maps are likely a huge improvement over whatever carrier-branded substitute you've been saddled with until now. Hit up the source for a few more details and to dig up a download link.
Via: My Nokia Blog
Source: Windows Phone Blog
14/12/2012 - Windows Phone web store opens in 37 new countries, adds universal search, and supports installing apps via SD card
If you had any doubts about Microsoft's efforts to actually make an impact with Windows Phone 8, let this address them. After announcing that it'd be maintaining a full staff to certify apps through the holiday period, the outfit has just revealed that its web store for apps / games is now open in 37 new locations around the globe. (You can find the full list after the break.) All told, that makes 112 supported nations, complementing the phone store that's available now in 191 markets.
As for other changes? First off, universal search is being added -- instead of having to go one place to find apps and another to search for how-to articles, you'll now see all these search results in one place. The web store has also gained support for installing apps via SD card, which Microsoft points out could be useful when a solid cellular or WiFi connection is nowhere to be found. For the full spiel, head on over to the source link.
Source: Windows Phone Blog
With all the hubbub surrounding Windows Phone 8, it's easy to forget that Microsoft has another new OS in the pipeline: a refresh known as Windows Phone 7.8. One group hasn't forgotten about the update, however, and that's all the current users of Windows Phone 7.5. Now, Microsoft is issuing a reminder that, yes, the update really is coming -- just not this year. The folks in Redmond assert that they're currently working with hardware manufacturers and carriers to deploy Windows Phone 7.8 to "as many devices as possible" in early 2013. So, it seems that Christmas will come a bit later for owners of older hardware, but at least Microsoft has a New Year's resolution worth sticking to.
Source: Windows Phone Blog
If you just bought a Windows Phone 8 device like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC 8x and were hoping to load it with Xbox content for the holidays -- after all, they're both from Microsoft, right? -- it seems that you may be in for some disappointment. As of right now, purchases or rentals from the newly-branded Xbox Video will not sync to Windows Phone 8. Microsoft has even officially acknowledged the issue in its support page, stating: "Windows Phone 8 does not currently support playback of rented or purchased content from the Xbox Video Store." The article goes on to say that you can go to the Windows Phone Feature Suggestions page to recommend it for future releases. Gee, thanks, Microsoft; that's so helpful. Now we'll actually have to talk to our families. The horror.
Via: WP Central
Source: Microsoft Support
Following its launch event in San Francisco and the appearance of its first devices last week, Windows Phone 8 is hoping for big things in the future. Microsoft's chief exec Steve Ballmer said that its work with Nokia, HTC and Samsung offered them the chance to create a "really strong third participant in the smartphone market." He admitted that they weren't there quite yet and told the audience at a Windows 8 launch event in Israel that Microsoft's mobile OS was "still relatively small", but that he expects "the volumes on Windows Phone to really ramp quickly." The company will be lavishing more on marketing and advertising around Windows 8, Window Phone 8 and Surface than it has on anything previous -- which sounds good, as its new mobile OS might need the help.
Ballmer: Windows Phone 8 'still small', but will 'really ramp quickly' originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 05 Nov 2012 06:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Reuters | Email this | Comments
Microsoft may be readying an all-out marketing blitz to get Windows Phone 8 all up in your cranium, but those loyal to Sprint won't be getting anything but perturbed. During today's Windows Phone 8 event in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile were "all in" for Windows Phone 8. Strangely, however, America's number three carrier is evidently "all out." While Sprint was a carrier for Windows Phone 7 handsets like the HTC Arrive, the carrier was showing cold feet as far back as January of this year. Given that the Arrive was its "most returned phone," though, it's hard to cast blame.
It could very well be due to the way Sprint's 4G drama has gone done -- at the time, Microsoft likely didn't want to create WP8 devices that supported by WiMAX and LTE, and now that Sprint has foregone the former in order to grab the latter, it's all a bit too late. Of course, it comments made to PhoneScoop earlier this year by spokesperson David Owen are to be believed, Sprint may join the WP8 party early next year. Sort of seems like a familiar refrain, actually.
For more, check out our Windows Phone 8 event liveblog!
Sprint sits out Windows Phone 8 launch in the United States after tepid WP7 reaction originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 29 Oct 2012 14:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Windows Phone 8 event liveblog | Email this | Comments
29/10/2012 - Windows Phone 8 review
Two years ago, the mobile landscape was quite different than what it is today. Android flagship phones sported 1GHz single-core CPUs and were in the process of upgrading to Froyo, the iPhone 4 was the Apple phone of choice and the word "phablet" was sure to be followed by a "Gesundheit." (It still is, arguably.) This is just a brief glimpse at the world in which Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 was born. Destined to be the replacement solution for an obsolete Windows Mobile 6.x platform, WP7 did its best to disrupt the industry by offering its unique Metro user interface and slick performance across the board.
There was one growing problem, however; the mobile industry was rapidly changing, and the Windows Phone honeymoon didn't last as long as Microsoft would've liked. Today, the company enjoys less than 5 percent of the world's smartphone market share as it prepares to launch its next major revision, Windows Phone 8. The new firmware promises to resolve concerns surrounding hardware limitations and the platform's ecosystem, add a plethora of long-awaited features and integrate the OS with Windows 8. It's a hefty task for Microsoft to undertake, to say the least, but we're hoping that two revolutions around the sun were enough for the software giant to impress us with its struggling mobile platform. Did it pull it off? Take a look at what makes Windows Phone 8 tick after the break.
We know tomorrow's Windows Phone 8 event will finally answer all of those burning mysteries that we've been yearning to hear more about since Microsoft first announced the new OS in June. After all, the company has kept its upcoming platform under tight wraps, preventing its hardware partners from showing it off to the press. So what else will the folks from Redmond have up their sleeves? Stay tuned here as we bring you all of the revelations live in San Francisco, tomorrow at 1PM ET!
The Microsoft Windows Phone 8 event happens tomorrow, get your liveblog here! originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 28 Oct 2012 23:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
The most striking takeaway from a recent meeting I had with Xbox Music GM Jerry Johnson wasn't the Spotify-like service he was in New York City to show off, but rather what he said about a much larger internal change at Microsoft. Having been relegated to the world of video games for the past decade, Microsoft is opening up its Xbox branding to a larger world of media. "'Xbox' is actually going from thinking about gaming in a device to being the entertainment face for all of Microsoft," Johnson said -- a major change from the Xbox name's place as a stand-in for "the Halo and Gears of War box," trotted out once or twice annually by lower level execs from the Washington-based software giant. "That's what the company -- all the way up to Steve Ballmer -- have gotten behind. That's why you're gonna see movies on Windows 8 slates, you're gonna see music, and it's gonna be branded as 'Xbox.'," he explained. This naming convention carries to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 RT as well -- all post-Windows 7 Microsoft devices (and Xbox 360) will refer to music and video libraries as "Xbox Music" and "Xbox Video," respectively.
But to many, that shift could be confusing. Isn't "Xbox" that thing in the living room? When "Xbox Music" shows up on Windows 8 devices later this month, will your average user understand that, no, they don't have to own an Xbox to listen to the music therein? Johnson's not worried about that potential reality. "The brand has continued to evolve," he argued. "I don't think it's left anything behind, I think it's broadened the number of people who engage in these type of experiences. And Microsoft as a company I think recognizes that, and it's more about Xbox meaning 'entertainment.'"
Gallery: Xbox Music on Xbox 360
Xbox: The new face of 'entertainment' at Microsoft, beyond just video games originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 15 Oct 2012 13:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
09/10/2012 - Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8 event
04/10/2012 - Microsoft to Release Windows-Based Smartphone
03/10/2012 - Microsoft reportedly set to launch Xbox Music on October 26th, ad-supported option on tap
We've known that it was coming for some time now, and today we have a report of an actual launch date for Microsoft's Xbox Music service. According to The Verge's sources, the rollout will coincide with the launch of Windows 8 on October 26th. What's more, the site is also reporting that the service will include a free, ad-supported option in addition to paid subscriptions -- rates for the latter leaked out last month. As expected, the service will be available on Windows Phone, Windows 8 and the Xbox 360 at launch, with iOS and Android apps said to be coming at a later date.
Microsoft reportedly set to launch Xbox Music on October 26th, ad-supported option on tap originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 03 Oct 2012 10:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | The Verge | Email this | Comments
26/09/2012 - Windows Phone 8 SDK gets leaked and peeked (video)
While Microsoft's freshest Mobile OS is still a few weeks away from its big debut, versions of its SDK have begun to crop up online. The peeps over at WPCentral have snagged build 9900 of the software and are offering up a video tour of the reasonably-finished setup. It's not clear if this is a fully-loaded edition or if we're going to see a few more surprises if / when it launches next month, but if you'd care to see for yourself, check out the video after the break.
Windows Phone 8 SDK gets leaked and peeked (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 26 Sep 2012 11:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink The Next Web | WPCentral | Email this | Comments
05/09/2012 - Nokia Lumia 820 vs. Lumia 800: what's changed?
Curious about how Nokia's new second-tier handset matches up against its predecessor? Well, we certainly are. That's why we've compiled a list of key specifications and stacked the Lumia 820 side-by-side with the 800 -- so we can see how Redmond's newest mobile OS has liberated Finland's finest design minds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments