Windows Phone 8 launching October 29th

Nothing is official yet but according to Mary Joe Foley’s own sources Microsoft is set to commercially launch Windows Phone 8 on October 29th just three days after Windows 8. Technically we may have to wait a few more days after the launch event until we start to see the first Windows Phone 8 devices hit retail and carrier stores around the world. Remember that MJ’s sources are often right so October 29th may very well be the real deal.

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New Windows Phone 8 Features detailed

I just took a quick tour of the Windows Phone 8 emulator bundled in the Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview SDK that leaked just a few hours ago and decided to take some screenshot to show you some of the new UI tweaks and Features implemented in Apollo. Beware that there’s a lot of images after the break and not a whole lot of text (just a few lines to describe what’s on the screen). So just hit the break to see what Microsoft has been cooking for this fall release and some nice features that have been long overdue.

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Windows Phone 8 Application platform detailed

The relatively big news today is the sudden appearance of the soon to be released Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview SDK which has leaked a few hours ago via Microsoft’s own password protected servers. Instead of making tons of posts detailing every single feature of the OS simply to generate hits I’m going to provide you with the detailed overview of the Windows Phone 8 application platform which I’m going to copy and paste (from the SDK) below after the break for those of you who aren’t able to get their hands of the Docs or the full SDK package. I’m also currently installing the full 1.3Gb Binaries on by Windows 8 desktop (important note: The WP8 Preview SDK is only compatible with the Windows 8 X64 Release Preview) and will make another post later on detailing the emulator. UPDATE: My WP8 Emulator overview is here.

The following document will go into details comparing Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT (hint: there are some important differences), The Direct3D feature set supported by the OS, the built-in Native Nokia Maps implementation, Camera features, NFC features Native code and XAML support. So just head over to the break to check it all out:

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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

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Nokia Drive to be available on all Windows Phone 8 phones. No longer exclusive to Nokia’s

Here’s a surprising piece of news that flew under my radar yesterday: Nokia Drive will no longer be exclusive to Nokia Lumia handsets on Windows Phone 8 and be made available to all other platform partners (OEMs) which means that HTC, Samsung and Huawei handsets will feature it too. Some may see this news as one less reason to get a Nokia Lumia handset but if you look at the big picture here the point of this move is to push the whole ecosystem further as it was announced back when the Microsoft Nokia deal was signed. Remember that every Android smartphone has turn-by-turn driving navigation for free and with WP8 Microsoft will have a similar offering. Windows Phone 8 will also integrate Nokia Maps as the native mapping service in Windows Phone 8.

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Windows Phone 8 unveiled: Features and specifications

Microsoft just took the wraps off Windows Phone 8 today during the Windows Phone Summit in San Fransisco. As you probably be know by now current Windows Phone 7.X handset won’t be upgradable to WP8 but will instead receive Windows Phone 7.8 and you will understand why in a shot while after getting a small glimpse at what Apollo will bring to the table later this fall.

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Windows Phone 8 to launch this fall with only four OEMs: Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei all powered by Qualcomm

What I have been predicting for more than a year has finally been confirmed today when Microsoft announced that all the future Windows Phone 8 handsets launching this fall will be powered by Qualcomm‘s SnapDragon S4 Plus / MSM8930 or MSM8960 SoC with the Adreno 225 or Adreno 305 GPU, which seems to once again be the only certified chipset partner for the platform. What is more surprising though is that only four OEMs are on board this time around: Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei. The rest are ..well..nowhere to been seen and frankly we shouldn’t care given the total lack of creativity and effort that was demonstrated in the past. For more Windows Phone features info hit the link after the break.

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No Windows Phone 8 upgrade to current Windows Phone 7 handsets: Windows Phone 7.8 unveiled

Microsoft has unfortunately just announced that none of the Windows Phone 7.X handset currently available will be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8. Nope, never, nada, zip… Instead Microsoft is announcing Windows Phone 7.8 which will be a free update that will be pushed ALL Windows Phone handsets bypassing carriers (and downloadable via WiFi) that will will simply add the new Windows Phone 8 start screen to all “legacy” WP7 handsets. Other WP8 features which are not hardware dependent may or may not be part of WP7.8 (Nothing has been officially announced yet). That’s it folks there’s nothing else to say here. That shiny Nokia Lumia 900 you got last week will be stuck forever with the Windows CE based WP7.X platform. Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts (or anger..).

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Nokia’s mysterious June 18th announcement is not related to Microsoft’s event

Just a quick heads up about the Nokia announcements that is being teased at on the company’s Facebook page. The first image plastered with the 6-18-12 date shows a satellite view of Hawaii while the second one is a picture of an Roland TR-808 drum machine. Now if we connect the dots..Hawaii’s Area Code: 808 + Roland 808 = Nokia PureView 808. So, there you have it. Microsoft’s Monday announcement is sure a hell not going to be the US launch of the Nokia PureView 808…

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Nokia acquires Scalado imaging technology, assets and plans to cut 10000 jobs while re-shuffling leadership

Nokia has just announced plans to acquire developers, technologies and intellectual property for imaging from Scalado, the company behind the Rewind feature found in the upcoming Nokia Lumia camera extensions and RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS. The plan is apparently meant to improve the camera experience on Nokia’s Lumia Windows Phones and surely lends some credence to the Windows Phone 8 camera Lenses and OEM customizable Camera UI/API to be introduced in Windows Phone 8 Apollo. Check out the full press release after the break

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Windows Phone 8 screenshots leaked

They are indeed really small and blurry but do look like the real deal. A handful of Windows Phone 8 screenshots have apparently leaked earlier today ahead of the June 20th unveiling. So let’s take a closer look at what we’ve got here.

The first screenshot you see above is the DataSmart functionality which was discuss by Joe Belfiore in an internal Nokia video a few months ago that Pocketnow had in its possession. This will allow user to track their cellular/Wifi data usage per app and per service.

This screenshot shows the video call integration in the Windows Phone 8 without the need of any thrid party application like Tango for example. Skype and the soon to be launched RCS-e standard:
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The Dark Knight Rises official Windows Phone application released exclusively on Nokia Lumia handsets

If you are a Batman fan eagerly waiting for the theater release of Christopher Nolan’s final chapter of the Dark Knight trilogy then you better have a Nokia Lumia handset because the official application of Warner’s The Dark Knight Rises movie has been released on the Windows phone Marketplace exclusively for Nokia users. The app features”exclusive” content a location based, Foursquare powered challenge game and many more goodies related to the DC Comics super hero. Simply hit this link with your Nokia Windows phone or head over to the Nokia Collection section of the Marketplace to grab it.

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Photosynth for Windows Phone finally released

After more than a year of silence Microsoft has finally released Photosynth for Windows Phone 7. As you probably already know the iOS version came out in April of last year with a Windows Phone version set to be released soon after alongside the Mango update which finally gave access to the handset’s sensors to software developers. Things didn’t seem to be on schedule though given that there was no WP7 version of the app on sight several months after Mango’s roll out. Today’s the day though so if you have a WP7 handset nearby (that has at least 512MBof RAM) just hit the link here or scan the QRcode after the break to download the app.

Don’t worry about the message that alerts you that the app requires a Gyroscope if your device doesn’t feature one because the compass + Accelerometer should be enough to shoot nice panoramas (the gyro will help you be more precise and also enable you to shoot upwards towards the sky to make a spherical panorama).

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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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Official LinkedIn app for Windows Phone finally released

LinkedIn alongside Facebook and Twitter were all neatly integrated into Windows Phone 7.5 with the Mango update late last year. Unfortunately contrary to the last two social platforms, LinkedIn still wasn’t present in the Windows Phone Marketplace with an official application. This is now a thing of the past thanks to the release of the official LinkedIn application today. The app features most of the features you can expect to find in a AAA piece of software and is described as follows:

Get on-the-go access to your professional network with LinkedIn for Windows Phone. Find and connect with more than 150M members worldwide, read the latest industry news, keep up-to-date with your groups, explore jobs you might be interested in, and share content with your network from anywhere.

You can download directly from here.

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Nokia City Lens Augmented Reality browser released for Lumia phones

Nokia has just release the beta version of the Nokia City Lens Augmented Reality browser exclusively for the Lumia line of Windows Phones (the app is already available on the Symbian). If you don’t know what City Lens is then the simple answer would be to say that it’s Nokia’s own versions of Wikitude or Layar (or even ScanSeach on the LG Optimus 7 / Quantum Windows Phones). Nothing really groundbreaking here but the upside here is the software polish that we have come to expect from Nokia’s latest software and services. It simply works (even though it’s still in Beta) and nicely integrates with Nokia Maps to give you walking, driving or transport directions to the places you are looking at (similar to Nokia Transport / Transit). You can download directly to you Lumia handset by scanning the QR Code after the break and also checking out the video introduction of the app below:

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Nokia Lumia 800 1750.805.8773.12140 Tango update coming soon

Photo courtesy of MJ Foley

Quick word of advise to all the Nokia Lumia 800 users out there who are eagerly waiting for the Tango update to reach their handset and finally bring Internet Sharing and improved camera settings: please be patient. The Chinese variant 1750.805.8773.12140 firmware has finally reached Nokia Care’s servers a few ours ago but shouldn’t be of any use to most users outside of China given that it lacks Facebook and Twitter integration in the People Hub and includes several features and customization specifically aimed at the Asian market. This update does indeed enabled internet sharing and also include the new camera settings that have been missing from the previous updates (panorama, smart group shot etc video quality settings and improved still shot quality..) and a Nokia Branded Marketplace Icon/tile.

The international / European variant of the 1750.805.8773.12140 update shouldn’t be to far off so don’t rush waste our time flashing you perfectly functional handset right now ans simply wait a little for the real deal. If you are really bothered by the Audio Volume bug simply flash the 12072 FW for now.


LG temporarily abandons Windows Phone

Quick! Everybody abandon ship! The Windows Phone ship is sinking…or maybe not. LG (Windows Phone’s premiere OEM partner..)has simply announced during its latest earnings conferences call that it has no immediate plans to manufacture or ship a new Windows Phone based smartphone. Nothing really shocking here given that the south Korean manufacturer was totally absent from the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango launch last year and hasn’t done anything meaningful to the Windows Phone ecosystem since the initial platform launch in 2010.

LG isn’t totally abandoning Windows Phone and will continue research and development efforts in hopes of a brighter future. The company’s mobile division has been in the crapper for a little while now even with the launch of several high-end Android smartphones plagued by atrocious firmware issues (everything isn’t to blame on Windows Phone..). The LG Fantasy E740 with it’s NFC chipset will remain a prototype for ever.

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