Nokia Drive+ beta now available for all WP8 devices in Canada and U.S.

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Jan 262013

While Nokia Drive+, Nokia’s turn-by-turn navigation app, remains in beta, it is no longer a Lumia exclusive. Nokia decided this week to make it available as a free download to all Windows Phone 8 customers in Canada, the U.S., and the United Kingdom.

The app remains in beta as the team fine tunes the customer experience. In the meantime, you can access full turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, offline maps, speed limit warnings, and conveniences such as day and night modes. With today’s release, the team is looking forward to hearing from even more Windows Phone customers through the app’s “feedback” tab, to help make it even better. Give it a try and let them know what you think. Learn more about Nokia Drive+ Beta .

Nokia Drive+

Among the features it offers are full, offline support for 89 countries, turn-by-turn, voice guided navigation with spoken street names, an automatic Day/Night mode, 2D and 3D landmarks on maps, an advanced dashboard with your speed, distance covered, estimated time of arrival and the time left to your destination, and more.

Nokia Drive+ is available for download through the Windows Phone Store.

Read more: Windows Phone Blog

ASUS considering Windows Phone 8 including Padfone model

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Jan 172013

Things are looking for the Windows Phone 8 operating system. According to The Wall Street Journal, ASUS is the latest manufacturer to be considering making devices powered by Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Benson Lin, corporate vice president of mobile communication products confirmed that ASUS is currently engaged in licensing discussions with Microsoft. “There is no target timeline… but we are interested in making Windows phones.”

Lin also revealed that ASUS proposed to Microsoft to develop a Padfone device powered by Windows 8. The current ASUS Padfone 2 is an Android-powered smartphone that docks into a tablet accessory. “With our Padfone concept, the phone plus tablet, I think it makes sense for Windows 8,” Mr. Lin said.

Given that Microsoft offers Windows Phone 8 for smartphones and Windows 8 for tablets and PCs, it will be interesting to see how the Padfone would work. Could it use Windows Phone 8 in smartphone mode and switch to Windows 8 when docked? Or will ASUS wait for the rumoured Windows Blue release which is supposed to bring Windows 8 to smaller-screens?

The report adds that ASUS is currently also in discussion with U.S. carriers to bring its phones to the U.S. perhaps as early as next year.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal

Rogers Nokia Lumia 920 receiving maintenance release

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Jan 132013

On the heels of the recent Portico update, Rogers Nokia Lumia 920 owners are now receiving another update. There aren’t a lot of details about Microsoft Update 8.0.10211.204 but it does promise “quality improvements for languages.”

Nokia Lumia 920 update

It appears that those who will benefit most from this update are those using the Nokia Lumia 920 with a language other than English.

The update should take about 10 minutes and your smarphone.

If you have not received the update notification, you can check manually by selecting Settings -> Phone Update -> Check For Updates.

Read more: MonWindowsPhone (Source: WMPoweruser)

Sprint to offer two Windows Phone 8 smartphones this summer

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Jan 102013

After teasing that Windows Phone 8 devices were coming soon, Sprint earlier this week shed more light on the launch. The company revealed that it would launch with two Windows Phone 8 devices, one from HTC and one from Samsung, sometime this summer.

“Sprint has had a strong relationship with Microsoft for many years so we are excited to reinforce our commitment to the Windows 8 platform by sharing the details and timing for our first Windows Phone 8 smartphones,” said Fared Adib, Sprint senior vice president, product development and operations. “These smartphones combine a robust new operating platform with the benefit of Sprint’s unlimited data plans. There is no doubt these phones will quickly become an extension of your PC experience right in the palm of your hand.”

While Sprint’s press release is light on details about the devices, Sprint’s director of device delivery Ryan Sullivan indicated that they would be new devices. “They’ll be current,” he said. “We’re working for current product launches, and not necessarily to launch on six-month-old hardware.”

Today, Sprint only offers Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices. Sullivan hinted that Sprint could even offer devices powered by the Firefox and Tizen operating systems in the future.

Read more: Sprint and PCMag

Sprint teases Windows Phone 8 is coming soon

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Jan 062013

Sprint is the lone major U.S. carrier not to offer at least one Windows Phone 8 device. That may be about to change. It has launched a new support page that promises that “Windows Phone 8 is coming soon!”

It had previously indicated that it would do so sometime in 2013 but never provided more specific timelines. “Sprint and Microsoft are partnering to bring Windows Phone 8 to Sprint’s customers – operating on its 4G LTE network – next year,” the company had told PCMag last November. With CES 2013 just around the corner, it’s quite possible that we will know more this week.

Sprint does not have a very extensive history with Windows Phone. It only ever launched the HTC Arrive back in early 2011.

What Windows Phone 8 device would you like to see Sprint launch?

Read more: Sprint (Source: The Verge)

Software update for Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 rolling out in Canada and US

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Dec 192012

Nokia Lumia 920Nokia today announced that it has begun to push out a software update that brings a number of enhancements to the Nokia Lumia 920 at Rogers here in Canada and the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 at AT&T in the United States. The update (Software Version 1232.5951.1249.0001) offers the following:

  • Enhancements in Messaging
  • More efficient and reliable Bluetooth connectivity
  • More efficient and reliable start-up sequence
  • Enhancements in imaging performance and battery management
  • Additional platform updates and enhancements

Your device should soon alert you that an update is available. To check manually, select Settings -> Phone Update -> Check For Updates. The update process should take about 30 minutes.

Nokia is also “working with Microsoft and our operator partners” to push out updates for other Lumia devices updates in early February 2013.

Read more: Nokia

HTC drops plans for larger display Windows Phone 8 smartphone?

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Dec 172012

HTCHTC looks to have scrapped plans to launch a Windows Phone 8 device with a larger display due to Microsoft’s display resolution rules. According to Bloomberg HTC decided that a device with a large display offering the maximum Windows Phone 8 resolution of 1280 by 768 pixels would not stand up well against competing Android devices offering resolutions as high as Full HD (1920×1080)

HTC is no stranger to large display high resolution display devices having unveiled the Verizon DROID DNA and HTC Butterfly with 5-inch Full HD displays recently. The new Windows Phone 8 device would have been unveiled next year in a bid to compete against Samsung and its own larger display devices (such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II).

If the report is accurate, the rumoured HTC Titan III will either come with a smaller display or may not come at all now.

HTC’s large display Windows Phone 8 device may well have been the oft-rumoured Zenith device. If so, it would have sported a 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD 2 display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 42Mbps HSPA+, and the same 8MP camera as the Windows Phone 8X.

HTC currently offers two Windows Phone 8 devices, the Windows Phone 8X by HTC with a 4.3-inch 720p HD super LCD 2 display and the Windows Phone 8S by HTC with a 4-inch WVGA (800×480) display.

Read more: Bloomberg

Nokia Lumia 920 to get software update this month

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Dec 162012

Nokia Lumia 920On the heels of the Windows Phone 8X by HTC getting an OTA update comes word from Nokia that the Nokia Lumia 920 will also receive a software update this month. The tweet from @NokiaCareUS is slim on additional details unfortunately:

It remains to be seen if the Nokia update will contain a similar list of fixes and enhancements as the one for the Windows Phone 8X. If so, it will include the ability to keep Wi-Fi active when the screen times out and some new SMS features.

Given that we are halfway through December, the update should be hitting Lumia 920 smartphones pretty soon! It’s also not clear whether the Lumia 820 will get a similar update around the same time.

Read more: @NokiaCareUS [via Twitter] (Source: MyNokiaBlog)

Windows Phone 8 devices coming “soon” to WIND Mobile?

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Dec 132012

WIND MobileWIND Mobile has hinted that Windows Phone 8 devices are coming soon to its lineup in a series of tweets. Asked about such devices, WIND Mobile teased:

There is no word on when WIND Mobile will have more to share but it promises that “we DO mean “soon”!” Hopefully that means that we will have more information within days.

WIND Mobile is not new to Windows Phone devices. The Windows Phone 7.5 HTC Radar and Nokia 710 are still available on its website.

Read more: WIND Mobile [via Twitter] (Source: MobileSyrup)

First Microsoft Windows Phone 8 OTA update headed to Windows Phone 8X by HTC

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Dec 112012

Windows Phone 8X by HTCMicrosoft has begun rolling out the first OTA update for Windows Phone 8. Headed to the Windows Phone 8X by HTC [product information], it includes a number of new features, including one that Windows Phone users have been waiting for for some time.

Probably the key new feature added is the ability to keep Wi-Fi active when the screen times out. Before this option, Wi-Fi would be disabled at the same time as the screen going off, switching over to a cellular connection or disconnecting if one was not available.

This Windows Phone 8 update also adds some new SMS features: The ability to create SMS drafts, a ‘select all’ option mass deletions, and the ability to reject calls with a text message.

The update process took about 30 minutes when performed by WPCentral. It took about 10 minutes to download the update and for the device to prepare itself. The update itself took another 10 minutes or so. Five more minutes were taken up by the data migration that wrapped up the process.

The update appears to be rolling out to the international version of the Windows Phone 8X for now. Hopefully the update will soon make its way over to North America (It has certainly not shown up on the 8X we are currently reviewing).

Read more: WPCentral and WPCentral

Samsung releases ATIV S video overviews

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Dec 102012

Samsung has released two video overviews of the upcoming Samsung ATIV S [product information]. The first video focuses on the smartphone’s Windows Phone 8 features.

In the second video, Samsung focuses on the social media and camera capabilities of the ATIV S:

The Samsung ATIV S is expected to launch in Canada in mid-December (hopefully any day now) with Bell, Rogers, Sasktel and TELUS.

Read more: Samsung [via YouTube]

Rogers drops price on Windows Phone 8 device lineup

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Dec 072012

RogersIf you’ve been thinking of picking up a Windows Phone 8 device, now may be the time. Rogers launched its first Windows Phone 8 devices last month and has now reduced pricing on both the Nokia Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8X by HTC as well as the upcoming Samsung ATIV S. Here is the latest pricing:

  • Windows Phone 8X HTC 8GB: Starting at CA$0.01 with a three-year contract
  • Windows Phone 8X HTC 16GB: Starting at CA$29.99 with a three-year contract
  • Nokia Lumia 920: Starting at CA$49.99 with a three-year contract
  • Samsung ATIV S: Starting at CA$79.99 with a three-year contract

Rogers is advertising the prices as a “limited time offer” so they could jump back up in the near future. Let’s hope that this is a holiday promotion rather than a sign that Windows Phone 8 devices are selling slowly…

Read more: Rogers (Source: MobileSyrup)

Nokia announces Nokia Lumia 620

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Dec 052012

Nokia Lumia 620Nokia today announced the Nokia Lumia 620, its third and “most affordable” Windows Phone 8 smartphone. Like its more powerful siblings, it will come with Nokia’s software suite which includes Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport and the exclusive Nokia City Lens.

“We continue to execute on our strategy to reach new audiences and new markets,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president, Nokia Smart Devices. “With its innovative design, the latest Windows Phone 8 software and signature experiences from Nokia, like Nokia lenses, Nokia Maps and Nokia Music, the Nokia Lumia 620 is a highly competitive smartphone at this price point.”

Nokia Lumia 620 specifications:

  • Processor: Dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows Phone 8
  • Cellular connectivity: HSPA+/EDGE/GPRS/WCDMA/GSM
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC
  • Display: 3.8-inch WVGA (800×480) ClearBlack LCD
  • Input: Capacitive multipoint-touch touchscreen
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB onboard and microSD cards up to 64GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP with 720p video capture and LED flash
  • Front-facing camera: VGA
  • Connectors: 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB 2.0
  • Battery: 1,300mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 115.4 × 61.1 × 11 millimeters / 127 grams
  • Colours: Lime green, orange, magenta, yellow, cyan, white and black
  • Other: Exchangeable gloss and matte finish shells

The Nokia Lumia will be available starting in January 2103 in Asia. Launches in Europe and the Middle East will follow “closely” after. Further markets will follow later. It will sell for USD$249 (about CA$245).

Read more: Nokia

Windows Phone 8 random reboot fix coming in December

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Nov 272012

Microsoft Windows PhoneThere is good news today for Windows Phone 8 users who have been suffering from a random reboot issue. Microsoft today confirmed that it has identified the issue and is now working on a fix. In a statement to AllThingsD, it said:

We’re continuing to investigate some reports of phones rebooting and have identified a cause with our partners. We are working to get an over-the-air update out in December.”

Unfortunately, Microsoft provided few details on the cause itself. It did not identify what (if not all) devices might be affected, whether certain apps cause it, or whether it was limited to certain carriers.

Given that it’s unclear exactly when a fix will be ready, it also means that users may be dealing with this issue for a while yet. It’s not even clear if trying to get a device exchanged for a new one would solve the issue.

Read more: AllThingsD

Microsoft to update Windows Phone 8 with Apollo+ in Q1 2013?

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Nov 262012

Microsoft Windows PhoneMicrosoft is currently readying its first update for its Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system. Codenamed Apollo+, it could be out as early as Q1 2013 according to @Football4PDA:

MS is going to roll out update for WP8 which is called Apollo+ in Q1 2013…

Citing unnamed sources, The Verge has a few additional details on the update. Aside from the typical bug fixes (including a Wi-Fi connection fix) and performance enhancements, it will include features that Microsoft was not able to deliver with the original version of Windows Phone 8 due to time constraints. Among these could be an improved notification center and some enterprise features such as VPN support.

Microsoft could formally announce Apollo+ at Mobile World Congress as a point release rather than a new major version. It will likely be the first Windows Phone update to be delivered over-the-air as Windows Phone 7 required that updates be done through their PCs.

Read more: @Football4PDA [via Twitter] and The Verge