Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8 developer preview program and releases GDR3 Update today

Remember the promise made by Microsoft more than a year ago about an early access program that would enable anyone to install beta versions of upcoming Windows Phone updates ? Today is finally the day. After being totally silent on the subject for nearly 18 Months the boys in Redmond have finally announced the launch of the  Windows Phone developer preview program alongside the GDR3 update preview which will be rolled out to anybody who accepts to enter this preview program.

But there are a few caveats before being able to download and install the GDR3 Bits:

- You will first be required to have an active developer account at https://dev.windowsphone.com/

- Install the Preview For Developers app on your WP8 device from here

- Check for updates in the phone settings

- For more Dev info about the 8.0.10512 update hit this link

So what’s new in Windows Phone 8 ? Just check out the full press release after the break:

Continue reading Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8 developer preview program and releases GDR3 Update today →

Microsoft finally releases its Bing Apps for Windows Phone 8: Bing Weather, News, Finance and Sports

Microsoft’s Bing apps for Windows 8 have been highly praised since their release over a year ago and are favorites of mine especially the Bing Weather and Bing Finance app which are packed with useful information and features. The most logical thing would have  been for Microsoft to port them to Windows Phone 8 as soon as possible so user of Windows 8 and WP8 can have a consistent user experience at home and on the go. Unfortunately Microsoft isn’t known for doing things in a logical way but this time common sense prevailed (although nearly 12months too late) and those amazing apps have now finally landed on your beloved smartphone platform.

Continue reading Microsoft finally releases its Bing Apps for Windows Phone 8: Bing Weather, News, Finance and Sports →

Windows Phone 8 Support Life Cycle increased from 18 Months to 36 Months. Business Feature Pack announced

With Windows 8.1 hitting RTM next month everybody has been wondering if and when Windows Phone 8.1 / Blue is going to be announced or simply mentioned. Well, today is not the day. Microsoft has just announced that Windows Phone 8′s support lifecycle has been increased from 18 Months to 36 Month. The good news here is that if you have both a WP8 handset back in November 2012 you will get updates until November 2015.

Microsoft has also announced the release of a Business feature pack slated to be released in the first half of 2014. The feature pack will be just one part of the update’s coming to Windows Phone in the coming months. Redmond is planning to constantly update the OS with bug fixes and new hardware support alongside the feature packs.

Continue reading Windows Phone 8 Support Life Cycle increased from 18 Months to 36 Months. Business Feature Pack announced →

EA Games releases 4 Nokia Lumia exclusives titles plus more Windows Phone games

EA Games has just made available 4 of their mobile games which were previously released on Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 exclusively on Nokia Lumia handsets: Parking Mania, Trivial Pursuit, The Game Of Life & SPY Mouse. But today’s bigger news is that 4 new Nokia Lumia “timed” exclusive EA titles have also been released: Mass Effect: Infiltrator, Tiger Woods 12, Real Racing 2 and NBA: Jam.

Only Mass Effect: Infiltrator is Windows Phone 8 only and that shows because Real Racing 2 and Tiger Woods which are WP7.5 compatible aren’t really super optimized (not running native code) and are rendered at a lower screen resolution and then upscaled to 720/768P. Mass Effect on the other hand is perfectly smooth and seems to be rendered at a fairly good resolution. Even the game tiles of the Windows Phone 7.5 compatible games are super low-res as you can see in the screen shot above. Simply scan or hit the links below to at least try them all out before shelling out the cash.

Continue reading EA Games releases 4 Nokia Lumia exclusives titles plus more Windows Phone games →

BBC iPlayer finally coming to Windows Phone. Sort of…

The BBC has just announced that iPlayer support will finally be coming to Windows Phone 7.X and Windows Phone 8 in the coming weeks. But there’s a catch: this isn’t going to be a full blown app but simply a link/shortcut (similar to the “official” Youtube one) to a modified website compatible with IE9/IE10Mobile.

We will be releasing a shortcut to BBC iPlayer in the near future which will be available in the Windows Phone Store, enabling the BBC iPlayer website to work on Windows Phone 7.5 and 8 via a live tile.

This shortcut will wrap the BBC iPlayer mobile website together with our media player. Hopefully these and other developments will help to expand our online reach further. Our latest figures show that over 650 different device types can access BBC iPlayer.

Better than nothing I guess….and obviously only applies to UK users.

Continue reading BBC iPlayer finally coming to Windows Phone. Sort of… →

Official Twitter app for Windows Phone updated: Finally worth it

The official Twitter application for Windows Phone 7/8 has finally been updated after nearly a year with a totally new UI and new features that make it worth it. Among the new goodies included are the lock screen support, pinning of any Twitter account to the start screen and most importantly a new beautifully snappy UI.

New navigation: Four new tabs – Home, Connect, Discover and Me – bring you closer to the things you care about.
•Home: View Tweets from the accounts you follow; tap a Tweet to expand it and see more content, such as photos, videos and website summaries
•Connect: Keep up with your mentions; see who has followed you or retweeted or favorited one of your Tweets
•Discover: See trends, and find new content on Twitter –– browse categories, find friends on Twitter and see suggestions for accounts to follow
•Me: Read and respond to your direct messages; see your lists, favorites and more; view and update your profile

Tweet and search icons: Compose a Tweet or search from anywhere in the app, using the new icon buttons in the Application Bar.

Live tiles: Pin Twitter accounts, lists and searches to your start screen, giving you quick access to some of your favorite Twitter content.

Continue reading Official Twitter app for Windows Phone updated: Finally worth it →

Google Exchange ActiveSync support for Windows Phone extended until July 31st

Microsoft has announced that Google has decided to extend its support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) on Windows Phone until July 31 2013. As you already know Google was set to cut EAS support for it’s Gmail, Contacts and Calendar services on January 31st but Microsoft has apparently convinced the Mountain View company to give the Windows Phone developers some more time to add CardDAV and CalDAV support into Windows Phone 8.

Windows 8 and Windows RT users using the default mail application will unfortunately still be affected by the January 31st cut unless they have already setup the application to sync with their Gmail account prior to this deadline. The easiest way would be to migrate your Gmail account to Outlook.com if you don’t really use Gmail for anything else other than YouTube.

Continue reading Google Exchange ActiveSync support for Windows Phone extended until July 31st →

Nokia City Lens with SightLine for Windows Phone 8 released

Nokia has finally updated the Nokia City Lens for Windows Phone 8 with the SightLine building occlusion feature that was introduced back in December 1st 2012 in the Windows Phone 7 version of the application. Here are the new features introduced in the WP8 version:

  • See just what’s in front of you. Normally, City Lens shows you all the places nearby—even around the corner or a block away. In crowded areas, that can be a lot to take in. Our new Sightline features lets you switch your view to only what’s in your direct line of sight, making it easier to spot great places that are right in front of you.
  • Quick info– Get information while you look. Now you can quickly view a place’s address without leaving your camera view. Just tap to view the information overlaid on your display while you keep scanning. When you’re ready to learn more about the place, another tap pulls up its complete information.
  • Pause your view. When scanning your surroundings in camera view, you can now freeze your view and study your options without having to keep your phone pointed at the target.
  • Pin categories to start– Your most common searches with a tap. City Lens now lets you pin favorite categories to your home screen. Now wherever you are, you can find something you love nearby with just a tap.
  • Create Live Tiles– What you want at a glance. City Lens lets you search for your favorite things whether it’s books or sushi and lets you pin your favorite searches to your home screen.

You can grab it right now from the marketplace.


LG working on Windows Phone 8 handsets

LG is apparently back in the mix after calling it quits 9 months ago. The Korean manufacturer who finally having some relative success with its latest line of Android Optimus handsets and the Nexus 4 is currently working on several Windows Phone 8 devices according to a senior executive from one of LG’s local partners. As you may recall the LG Fantasy E740 never saw the light of the day as a commercial device and LG essentially stopped to support its Windows Phone 7 handset just a few months after the OS’s launch in 2010 even-though the company was the premier OEM partner for Windows Phone 7 during OS’s development.

Having LG back on board can only be seen a a good thing for the platform but won’t fix the may problem which is Microsoft’s current attitude towards its on product.

Continue reading LG working on Windows Phone 8 handsets →

Vimeo app updated for Windows Phone 8

The official Vimeo application has finally updated to fix several major bugs and add new features alongside Windows Phone 8 support. This new iteration of the video streaming service now sports a slightly redesign UI to match the website, NFC sharing functionality for WP8 handsets, HD video support a more:

• Watch and manage all your existing Vimeo videos
• Watch videos from your Vimeo inbox, Watch Later queue, or videos you have liked
• Use NFC Tap-to-Share to share Vimeo videos between phones
• Create live tiles from your videos or featured channels
• Easily like, comment on, and add videos to your Watch Later queue
• Discover new and fascinating featured videos
• Quickly search for videos on Vimeo
• Easily upload your footage in HD
• Pause and resume uploads
• Replace existing videos
• Share via Facebook, Twitter, email, or SMS
• Add videos to your Groups, Channels, and Albums

You can grab it directly from here

Nokia City Lens updated with Sightline feature but only for Windows Phone 7

Nokia has released the newest Beta version of Nokia City Lens which adds the Sightline building occlusion feature that was announced a few months ago during the Nokia Lumia 920 launch event but had yet to see the light of the day. Surprisingly this newest iteration of the augmented reality browser is only available for Nokia’s Windows Phone 7.5 handsets and doesn’t work on Windows Phone 8 yet (see screenshot below).

  • See just what’s in front of you. Normally, City Lens shows you all the places nearby—even around the corner or a block away. In crowded areas, that can be a lot to take in. Our new Sightline features lets you switch your view to only what’s in your direct line of sight, making it easier to spot great places that are right in front of you.
  • Quick info– Get information while you look. Now you can quickly view a place’s address without leaving your camera view. Just tap to view the information overlaid on your display while you keep scanning. When you’re ready to learn more about the place, another tap pulls up its complete information.
  • Pause your view. When scanning your surroundings in camera view, you can now freeze your view and study your options without having to keep your phone pointed at the target.
  • Pin categories to start– Your most common searches with a tap. City Lens now lets you pin favorite categories to your home screen. Now wherever you are, you can find something you love nearby with just a tap.
  • Create Live Tiles– What you want at a glance. City Lens lets you search for your favorite things whether it’s books or sushi and lets you pin your favorite searches to your home screen.

You can download it directly by scanning the QRCode below:

Continue reading Nokia City Lens updated with Sightline feature but only for Windows Phone 7 →

Windows Phone 7.8 to finally be released in Early 2013

Microsoft has finally decided to communicate around Windows Phone 7.8 today and officially announced that the much anticipated update to Windows Phone 7.5 will be pushed out to existing devices in early 2013. This is obviously a bit of a downer given that everybody was expecting WP7.8 to come out before the end of the year mainly because the official wording during the June announcement was that it would simply be released after Windows Phone 8 (so we all assumed that it would be a matter of weeks not months).

As previously discussed the Windows Phone 7.8 update will include the WP8 start screen with resizable Live Tiles, updated icons, more market and language support,double the number of accent color themes, the option to automatically display the Bing Picture of the Day plus the ‘A1B2C3’ PIN/password challenge to prevent accidental device wipes on phones connected to Exchange accounts and minor bug fixes.

Continue reading Windows Phone 7.8 to finally be released in Early 2013 →

Windows Phone 8 SDK released: Direct 3D features detailled

I just finished watching the BUILD Keynotes after coming back home from work and came to the conclusion that Steve Ballmer has become the best demo guy for Microsoft. I highly suggest you take the time to watch his keynote to because I think that it’s the best one he has ever done so far. Anyway, let’s talk about Windows Phone 8. Microsoft has finally released the final public version of the WP8 SDK today which you can download from the source link below and start using to develop Windows Phone 7.X and Windows Phone 8 applications (no surprises here, it’s quite similar to the Leaked version I showed you this summer). Microsoft has also announced that developer registration to submit apps to the Windows Store will only cost $8 instead of $99 for the next 8 Days. So hurry up and start building amazing stuff.

As an added incentive, for the next 8 days individual developers can register for a Dev Center account for just $8 (a 92 percent savings). Please note because this is a very limited time offer. You’ll be charged $99 USD or equivalent in your local currency, and we’ll refund the difference in the next 30 to 45 days. Watch for more details on Dev Center soon.

Those of you who are still wondering what is the exact Direct3D feature set supported by Windows Phone 8 should take look after the break as MS’s Shawn Hargreaves has posted an great deal of info today about this:

Continue reading Windows Phone 8 SDK released: Direct 3D features detailled →

Windows Phone 8 launches with new features, Skype and new apps

Most of you have probably already seen the full Windows Phone 8 event that was live streamed earlier today so I won’t write an essay about everything that was shown. Instead let’s do a quick recap on what was new or simply not yet officially unveiled since Windows Phone 8′s initial announcement a few months ago.

First of all Microsoft announced the newest version of Skype for Windows Phone 8. This new version of the app will fully integrate into the OS and allow seamless VOIP calling through the phone dialer and more features like background notifications and lock-screen integration. What’s new here (for Windows Phone) is that the Skype service will constantly be running in the background even if the app wasn’t triggered by the user. this means that calls or other notifications like messages will arrive as if they were regular phone calls or SMS. Most of the functionality of the UI and People/contact integration of the WP8 app are similar to the windows 8 version that was released just 2 days ago. Checkout the video below for a quick demo:

Continue reading Windows Phone 8 launches with new features, Skype and new apps →

Windows Phone 8 syncing app for Windows 8 released

 

Microsoft has just released the Windows Phone 8 syncing application for Windows 8 today a few hours ahead of the OS launch event taking place in San Fancisco. As previously revealed this application is only meant to work with WP8 handsets and not older generation devices who will have to still use the Zune software on Windows 8/7.  I will be on Twitter later today live blogging the event as I’m going to be hanging around with the folks at Microsoft France and Nokia locally here in Paris. Check out the application description after the break:

Continue reading Windows Phone 8 syncing app for Windows 8 released →

Nokia Xpress cloud based browser for Lumia handsets released

Everybody knows by now that all of the current Windows Phone 7.X handsets on the market won’t be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8 and thus won’t have access to many of the new features packed in the OS. One of them is the Cloud/server based page compression that will be available as an option in IE10 to help users reduce their monthly data usage by compressing web content on Microsoft’s servers and pushing-it down to the handsets similar to what Opera introduced with Opera Mini many years ago and whet Microsoft developed for Windows Mobile 5.X as an R&D project named Deepfish back in 2007.

Today Nokia is releasing the beta version of a similar concept via an new application named Nokia Xpress for all Nokia Lumia handsets. Instead of enumerating of all the features I’ll leave with the promotional video embedded after the break and a shortlist of notable functionalities.

Continue reading Nokia Xpress cloud based browser for Lumia handsets released →

Windows Phone 8 finally hits RTM

After a slight delay Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 has finally hit RTM status yesterday has you can see in the picture posted above showing Microsoft VP Terry Myerson signing on the big WP8 RTM billboard alongside other developers. Windows Phone 7 originally passed RTM on September 1st 2010 with devices hitting retail in November, while Mango hit RTM on July 27th 2011 with device shipping in October. If past history is any indication it’s obviously going to be a little be tricky for the OEMs and carriers to get the first batch of devices on the market before November at the earliest. The latest whisper on the streets are still pointing to an early November launch for the Nokia Lumia 920 though…

Continue reading Windows Phone 8 finally hits RTM →

Nokia to support current Lumia handsets with new features: Bluetooth file sharing and more

The Nokia Lumia 920 may be the best thing since sliced bread but there are already millions of Lumia 800, 900, 710, 610 handsets in the hands of users who won’t be able to get the full Windows Phone 8 experience. This is Nokia we are talking about here and so far they have shown some awesome end user support in terms of exclusive software and hardware fixes. The company has just announced that in addition to the Windows Phone 7.8 update which will bring the new WP8 UI to current WP7 handsets, all Nokia Lumia owners will also get the following additional features:

Continue reading Nokia to support current Lumia handsets with new features: Bluetooth file sharing and more →

Windows 8 syncing companion application for Windows Phone 8 screenshot

Once again, Microsoft’s undercover PR agency aka The Verge has released some brand new info about one of its upcoming products. This time it is the first screenshot of the soon to be released Windows 8 companion application for Windows Phone 8 which will finally replace the soon to be defunct Zune software and allow user to sync content between their Windows Phone 8 ( and WP7?) and Windows 8 (and also Windows 7 via a desktop version of this app..) PC.

Continue reading Windows 8 syncing companion application for Windows Phone 8 screenshot →