Microsoft has released a preview showing how the next version of Windows Phone 7, 7.8, will visually look. As you might recall, when the company showed off Windows Phone 8, it also announced that there would be no upgrade path for any Windows Phone 7 devices. However, they also let us know that those users would be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 7.8 in order to get the most obvious and visual feature--the new Windows Phone home screen. Once upgraded to 7.8, users will be able to resize all of their tiles as easily as Windows Phone 8 users can, and in the video above Microsoft's Ben Rudolph walks us through the experience.
What you see above are purported leaked images of Windows Phone 8, Apollo. Microsoft is set to unveil Windows Phone 8 to the world at next week's Windows Phone Summit on June 20th. What the images above show is built-in Skype integration (Microsoft purchased Skype months ago,) a data usage function that shows how much of your monthly data cap you have left along with the number of days left in your billing cycle, and the camera app with the new lenses feature. We can't say for sure that these are authentic, but they certainly appear that way. We'll know for sure next week!
Read More | Nokia Innovation
We knew Microsoft was planing to do away with the Zune brand, and today the company revealed its new music service during its E3 Media Breifing. Xbox Music will soon be released for the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. During the presentation, we were able to see that the service takes on the Metro UI, staying consistent with the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows branding. Expect over 30 million tracks to be available at launch, with the Smart DJ feature that was popular with Zune users to stick around. Microsoft also mentioned that Xbox Music will give you access to your music collection from "any screen," but we don't know if that means we should expect iOS and Android apps like they'll be released for Xbox SmartGlass, or if it just means that you'll be able to access your music from a web browser, similar to Zune. Xbox Music is set to launch later this year.
E3 is right around the corner (a.k.a. next week) and word has slipped that Microsoft is planning to introduce a product called Smart Glass at the event. Xbox Smart Glass will be a companion application that you use with the console that will allow you to send video to the Xbox 360 from a smartphone or tablet, similar to what you can do with an iOS device and Apple TV using AirPlay. The cool part? Aside from naturally running on Windows 8 tablets and Windows Phone devices, Smart Glass will also run on iOS and Android in a multiplatform play for supremacy. About time, Microsoft.
Read More | Examiner
AT&T is preparing to add a third LTE Windows Phone to its lineup with the addition of the Samsung Focus 2. This one is for the budget-minded among you, as the device will sell for just $49.99 with two-year contract--half the price of the Nokia Lumia 900 (see our Lumia 900 review.) As far as features go, the Focus 2 sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, five megapixel camera on back that can record 720p video, and a VGA-quality camera up front. Want one? You can scoop it up from AT&T when it goes on sale on May 20th.
Read More | Windows Phone Blog
It’s been long in the making and long-awaited by many (ever since Microsoft bought Skype,) and now Skype is officially available for Windows Phone. The beta version of Skype has been around since February, but wasn't functional on all Windows Phone devices, according to Skype. However, with its official release, no such warnings exist. You can download Skype from the Windows Phone Marketplace now.
Read More | Skype
The Lumia 900 launched in the US with black and cyan as your color choices. Two weeks later, a white model appeared on the scene, looking gorgeous. Now, a magenta model may be on the way, according to Engadget. This one was spotted at Finland retailer Gigantti. Looks like it should be available sometime in May. Who's in? If you're unsure, take a look at our Lumia 900 review.
AT&T, Microsoft, and Nokia are all making a big bet on the Lumia 900 Windows Phone, which launched on April 8 for $99 with two-year contract. That's a great deal, being that this is one of the first AT&T LTE devices, and the first major mainstream Nokia Windows Phone device to hit the US. Those who pre-order through Walmart get it at half price ($49 with contract,) and new AT&T customer walk away with the Nokia Lumia 900 for free. We got our Lumia 900 in a bit early, and we're working on getting our final review up. In the meantime, though, we've put together a Lumia 900 unboxing gallery showing off the hardware. Go ahead and take a look--it's a gorgeous device! When you're done with that, then head over and get a peek at our insanely thorough Lumia 900 review!
Gallery: Nokia Lumia 900 unboxing gallery
With the Lumia 900, three companies are hoping for a runaway success. You've got the carrier, AT&T, launching the first LTE Windows Phone device (and one of the first AT&T LTE smartphones, period.) You've got Nokia, the manufacturer, hoping that the device leads to a revitalization and resurgence of the popularity that it once commanded just a few years ago. Then, you've got Microsoft, the software provider, which is in a position that's much the same as what Nokia's in. A behemoth that had the crown, got cocky, and due to its inability to be nimble in a quickly-changing mobile landscape, got surpassed. The Lumia 900 represents hope for all three of these companies.
What you get in the Lumia 900 is the perfect mixture of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 (or, really, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango,) Nokia's incredible hardware design, and AT&T's (late) entrance into the LTE realm with a smartphone that people are paying attention to. Even better? You get it all at a $99 price point with contract. In the smartphone world, we'd call this one a steal.
With all of that said, the question still remains: is the Nokia Lumia 900 worth your time? Can it really stand in firm in place of popular iOS and Android devices, giving them a run for their money? These are the questions we aim to tackle in our Lumia 900 review.
If you've been checking out the Gear Live Twitter and Facebook pages, then you've likely been looking forward to our next giveaway, featuring the Nokia Lumia 800 and Monster Purity Headphones. Well, the time is now!
The Nokia Lumia 800 is a super-sexy Windows Phone device for AT&T that features a 3.7-inch 800x480 ClearBlack AMOLED display, 1.4 GHz processor, Carl Zeiss 8 megapixel wide angle lens with dual LED flash, and a seamless, curved glass one-piece body design.
The Purity HD stereo headphones from Monster feature Windows Phone playback controls, as well as ControlTalk Universal. This means you can control both your media and phone calls hands-free. It's also got a tangle-resistant cable, and comes with a hard shell carrying case. The best part? The headphone color matches the color of your Lumia 800!
Microsoft only sells the Lumia 800 as part of an $899 bundle here in the US, but we're giving you the opportunity to win the smartphone and Purity HD headphones right here, for free! Here's how to enter:
- Follow the Gear Live Twitter account and post this exact tweet: “Hey @gearlive hook me up with that @Nokia Lumia 800! #PuritybyMonster http://gear.lv/e-lumia800” (Click here to tweet this now)
- Use the hashtag #PuritybyMonster in your tweets over the next week
Do that, and you're in! Now here is the fun part - you can enter as many times as you'd like by including the hashtag #PuritybyMonster in your tweets next seven days. At the end, we will pick a winner randomly from all valid entries. If you use Twitter regularly, just throw #PuritybyMonster into your tweets over the next week, and you could walk away with this awesome prize. The winner must be over 18, and must have a mailing address within the US to be eligible. Contest ends at 12:00am on April 12th!