Nokia Drive 3.0 for Windows Phone released

Nokia Drive 3.0 for the Lumia Windows Phone handsets has just been released to the marketplace a few hours ago. Those of you who took the time to read the user manual a little while ago should already what’s included in this newest release:

• Find your way with turn-by-turn directions and voice guidance
• Track your location, speed, and the distance driven, even if not navigating
• Preload maps before traveling and use Nokia Drive offline to save data costs
• Save your most-used destinations to your phone
• Get a warning when you exceed the speed limit
• Get real-time info on traffic incidents and conditions on your daily routes using
my commute

Unfortunately the My Commute feature doesn’t work in some countries yet (only works in the US right now..lame) which is really disappointing given that real time traffic data is now supported nearly worldwide in Bing Maps and Nokia Maps. You can grab it directly from the Nokia Collection in the marketplace or by hitting this link with your Lumia phone or scan the QRCode after the break:

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Nokia Drive 3.0 user manual released

If you can’t wait to get you hands on the soon to be released Nokia Drive navigation app for your Lumia Windows Phone you can at least take a look at its user manual which was recently uploaded to Nokia’s servers. The PDF covers all the new features which are going to be introduced in this newest version: Commute, live traffic info, save & view places and automatic switching between day and night mode:

• Find your way with turn-by-turn directions and voice guidance
• Track your location, speed, and the distance driven, even if not navigating
• Preload maps before travelling and use Nokia Drive offline to save data costs
• Save your most-used destinations to your phone
• Get a warning when you exceed the speed limit
• Get real-time info on traffic incidents and conditions on your daily routes using
my commute

Continue reading Nokia Drive 3.0 user manual released →

Microsoft and Nokia add traffic and better geocoding to Bing Maps worldwide

Another milestone has been reached in the Microsoft / Nokia partnership today with the inclusion of Nokia’s Traffic and Geocoding backend to Bing Maps in 24 countries worldwide. It wasn’t long ago when Nokia and Microsoft had also decided to use a similar color them and layout for their Mapping data and starting today Windows Phone users you should finally be able to get the show traffic feature working if they are located in the following countries:

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Unified Bing Maps and Nokia Maps design launched

Microsoft and Nokia have just announced the unification of the their mapping services design. This one of the first result of the partnership signed last year between both companies that outlined the integration of Nokia’s Navteq assets into Microsoft’s Bing Maps service. As of today, Bing Maps and Nokia Maps have a unified map elements and color palette and the same Nokia Pure font. Frankly you won’t really notice much of a difference in Bing Maps but Nokia Maps unfortunately looks a bit washed out now. You can compare both offerings directly on you windows phone if you have a Nokia handset via the OS’s Maps application and the Nokia Maps app. Nokia Drive will get the same color treatment in the upcoming 3.0 update coming out in the coming weeks.

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Bing Vision going worldwide with news Newspaper match feature in March

In case you missed this little piece of news from late last week, the Bing team has announced that Bing Vision in Windows Phone 7 Mango is now available outside of the US (this has been the case since early February in some European countries like France) and also announced a new feature called Image Matching for Newspapers:

Enabling people to quickly find the digital version of a print magazine or newspaper article, Bing Image Matching for Newspapers allows users to take a photo of an article using their Windows Phone camera and link directly to a digital version of the article online.

Offering global access, consumers will have access to content from over 3,000 publications worldwide.

Image matching fro Newspaper ill only launch in March so don’t go around trying to scan every newspaper in sight yet (also note that Bing vision won’t be available everywhere either so just set your search region to US to try it out). Now where’s my local traffic data in Bing Maps please?

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Skype for Windows Phone 7 is still coming soon

You got to love delays. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about them especially when the company decides to stay silent about a product. As you all already know, Skype for Windows Phone was announced back in April of last year and was supposedly set to launch alongside Mango last fall. Nothing happened, Nokia’s then flagship product, the Lumia 800 didn’t even feature a front facing camera so Microsoft may have decided to act as nothing was missing. That’s until this week CES where Skype’s VP of Products Rick Osterloh just let a “coming soon” slip in a interview with….Microsoft. Video after the break:

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Spotify for Windows Phone 7 coming today

According to the folks who are attending the Mango launch event in today, the long awaited Spotify application for Windows Phone 7 application is ready to hit the marketplace today. They’ve also shot a short hands-on video of it in action:

UPDATE: Spotify is now available here!
Continue reading Spotify for Windows Phone 7 coming today →

New Bing Maps road Map Style now in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

I’ve just noticed that the new Bing Maps Road Map Style layout that was introduced on the desktop version back in July is now showing up on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. I don’t know if this is related to the newest Samsung Omnia 7 firmware or not but I definitely didn’t have it prior to that. So what’s the difference ? Well the new layout is a lot more easier on the eyes and includes several new improvements:

- Primary roadways are denoted in a more distinct color
- One way streets are more clearly marked
- Road shields are more visible
- Text labels are easier to read
- Traffic overlays are clearer and more defined
- Lots of other details to improve map readability

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Microsoft licenses augmented reality patents

Microsoft has just licensed several augmented reality patents from a company named GeoVector. From the looks of it the technology in question seems to be similar to what other companies like Google are doing with their services (and it’s quite possible that the big G also licensed the same patents awhile ago). This obviously means that we can expect AR features using the compass and Gyro in an upcoming update to Bing Maps on Windows Phone (WP7, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8). Just keep in mind that today’s licensing agreement doesn’t mean that Microsoft has just started to work on this stuff. This is essentially done to protect the company from being sued in the future as the press releases clearly says that “The non-exclusive multi-year agreement gives Microsoft rights to use concepts covered by GeoVector’s patents” . Full PR after the break:

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Bing Maps Indoor Map in Windows Phone 7 Mango Video demo

I finally stumbled upon an indoor maps while on Windows Phone Mango while playing around with Bing Maps and shot a short video to show you how it works. Indoor Maps are exactly this: Maps of indoor locations, mainly malls and other shopping locations (only in the US). As you will see in the video below the indoor map is overlaid on top of the base map and shows all the businesses and shops located in the mall. You can choose to tap on a particular shop or just hit the directory view which is essentially a list of all the businesses/shops sorted alphabetically.

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Microsoft details new languages and local services support in Windows Phone 7 Mango

Microsoft’s Windows Phone team has just detailed the new languages support coming this fall in Mango. As you probably already know, Mango will support 17 new languages in addition to the 6 already supported since launch (not 16 like originally announced): Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish. The Zune software will also support the set of languages.

Not all the languages listed above will be available on handsets as this is depended on the carrier and phone manufacturer (the more languages the bigger the rom will be..). Mango will also include four new fonts: Simplified Chinese (DengXian), Traditional Chinese (Microsoft MHei), Japanese (Yu Gothic), Korean (Microsoft NeoGothic).

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Nokia Ovi Maps API already works in Windows Phone 7

A post on Nokia’s developer forum dated from the beginning of the month notes that the OVI Maps API will be officially supported in Windows Phone 7 Mango:

This would be good to know for the future use cases; the current Ovi Maps API will be supported in
the oncoming devices. Some changes for code may be needed, also some dedicated features may
be implmented – we will get more information and details on this during the coming months.

But there isn’t anything really new here other than the claim that it will probably be “officially” supported by Nokia because it is already working in Windows Phone 7 pre-Mango right now as seen in the Outdoor Navigation application currently available on the Marketplace and which can use Nokia’s OVI Maps (or Google Maps, OpenMaps etc..) instead of Bing maps. It’s safe to assume that everything isn’t working now and that Mango will most probably improve things. Just click here to check it out.

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Turn-by-Turn voice guided Navigation and Outdoor Navigation for Windows Phone 7

Some of you may already be familiar with the super nice Outdoor Navigation application for Windows Phone 7 developed by GPSTuner but what you may not know is that the same developers have also recently released a Voice-Guided Turn-by-Turn navigation application for Windows Phone 7. To put it simply: Both applications are just awesome and are some of the best mobile apps I have used.

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List of all of the new Windows Phone 7 Mango features

I’ve just compiled a relatively long list of all the most important new features that are going to be introduced with Windows Phone 7 Mango later this fall. Some features are still probably missing either because they haven’t been announced yet or because I forgot about them so feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll update this list. You will notice that there’s obviously less that 500 features which is the official PR claim. Unfortunately Microsoft isn’t saying what is exactly counted as new feature so I’m going to guess that it’s mix between some of the new APIs and end-user functionalities. Hit the break to check the most important features:

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Windows Phone 7 Mango Preview

Can’t get enough of Windows Phone 7 Mango ? I just came back from the Paris unveiling event with quite a bit of info regarding the first major update of Microsoft’s mobile OS. First let me start by pointing out to the previous Mango post I did about the new APIs and Developer related features here and here. Today’s preview will mainly focus on the consumer experience and some other bits of info that you may have not heard of before.

There’s obviously not much to say that already hasn’t been said earlier and even shown in official videos. The first question on everybody’s mind is most probably: When is Mango going to be released? Well the official answer is this Autumn but from what I’ve been told there won’t be a official launch day similar to what was done last year with Windows Phone 7. Instead, OEMs will start launching their devices when they are ready. This essentially means that once Mango is RTM and certified by carriers, manufacturers will integrate the gold code into their upcoming phones and start shipping them once they are ready. There will be a steady release of Mango handsets throughout the fall season and holidays.

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Why Windows Phone 7 Mango really matters

Announced during MWC11 back in February, Mango is Windows Phone 7’s first major update that will finally give the platform a feature parity with its main competitors; Android and iOS. Microsoft has already publicly disclosed most of the new features and improvements that will come with this new OS release and those who haven’t been officially unveiled are for the most part already known. Looking at all these new enhancements and additions coming-out later this year makes it perfectly clear that Microsoft isn’t standing still and instead perfectly aware that to compete in the rapidly changing & growing mobile market it has to act quickly.

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Windows Live Messenger to be integrated into Windows Phone 7 Mango

As it’s usually always the case during a Beta testing, many Microsoft employees already have Windows Phone 7 Mango running on their devices. What this also means is that leaks are inevitable. We are learning today from a Chinese guy Xiao Bian who apparently has it running on a Samsung Focus, that Mango will natively feature Windows Live Messenger integration in the People Hub, something that many users have been waiting for. Microsoft unofficially confirmed to me that this was coming when I asked them about it in Barcelona during MWC11 and claimed that it was in V1.0 because it was a priority feature. Another interesting bit is the inclusion of hard-writing recognition for east-Asian characters (would be a bit painful without a Stylus but that’s better than nothing I guess).

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Windows Phone 7 Mango Bing Vision, Audio and Turn by turn navigation features officially confirmed

The Windows Phone Dev podcast has confirmed what we saw a little while ago: Bing Vision and Bing Audio search will indeed be part of the upcoming Mango update. Bing Vision,which is already available in the Bing iOS application will let users scan bar-codes, QR Codes, Microsoft Tags, DVD, Movies covers/posters, book covers etc and match them with corresponding information through Bing (essentially the same as Google goggles) . The yet unreleased / unseen Bing Audio feature will allow you to search and discover Music similarly to what you can do with Shazam (supported in US, UK , France, Italy, Germany and Spain).


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Another Windows Phone 7 service issue: Reviews no longer showing up in Bing results

Windows Phone 7 has suffered from several services outages this week and it seems that things still aren’t fully up an running yet. I’ve noticed a couple of days ago that business reviews have disappeared from the Bing search results and since nobody has reported about it yet I thought that it would be wise to make a post and see if everybody’s effect by this or not. As you can see in the picture above, the Reviews pane is totally empty even-though this particular business has 46 reviews already submitted.  This happens all over the world so it isn’t specific to one country or service provider (Bing aggregates reviews from different providers depending on the country you are searching in).

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