Classic EA games for Windows Phone now up to 40% off through July 9

Looking for budget options for summer fun? Electronic Arts just kicked off a sale on some of its most classic and enduringly popular Xbox titles for Windows Phone.

If they’re not already in your gaming collection, this is the perfect time to grab highly-rated winners such as Battleship, Bejeweled Live, Contre Jour, NFS Hot Pursuit, Tetris, and The Sims 3. The sale ends next Tuesday.

Looking for budget options for summer fun? Electronic Arts just kicked off a sale on some of its most classic and enduringly popular Xbox titles for Windows Phone.

If they’re not already in your gaming collection, this is the perfect time to grab highly-rated winners such as Battleship, Bejeweled Live, Contre Jour, NFS Hot Pursuit, Tetris, and The Sims 3. The sale ends next Tuesday.

Bing Audio, Windows Phone’s built-in music matching service, rolls out to 14 new countries

I was watching an old episode of Breaking Bad the other day when they played this soulful tune I couldn’t quite place. I just knew I loved it and wanted to hear it again. So I pulled out my phone and fired up Bing Audio, the built-in feature for identifying any artist, song, or album that’s playing around you.

Boom. Moments later my phone had the answer: The track was “Didn’t I,” from some semi-obscure ‘70s-era musician named Darondo. He’s now the star of my music collection.

Bing Audio is one of those Windows Phone features that, once you know it’s there, you find yourself using all the time. (Yes, I’m the weird guy waving my phone in the air at coffee shops and bars, inside the car, and in front of the TV.) The good news is that now more of you will have a chance to try it. Bing Audio support for Windows Phone has started rolling out to 14 new countries including Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland. The feature is already available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.

If you’ve never used it before, here’s how Bing Audio works: When you hear something playing you want to identify, just tap the Search button on your phone, then tap the little music note icon shown below.

 wp_ss_20130702_0001wp_ss_20130702_0002wp_ss_20130702_0006

The phone listens for a few moments, and then lets you know if it finds an audio match. Here’s another tip: If you ever want to go back and see a song Bing Audio identified in the past, just go to Music History, which you’ll find by tapping the Search button, then tapping open the More menu.

wp_ss_20130702_0004wp_ss_20130702_0005

Of course, some people swear by popular music recognition apps like Shazam and SoundHound, which you’ll find in the Windows Phone Store (it’s always nice to have choices). But in my mind Bing Audio has a couple things going for it. First, it’s built in, so you can start using it right of the box—no downloading necessary. Second, it’s tied into Xbox Music. So once you identify a track, it’s easy to quickly buy the song or preview others from the same artist. Just tap the Store icon shown in the screenshot above. Xbox Music Pass subscribers (I’m one) can also stream or download the tune to their phones.

So next time you’re stumped on a song, give it a shot. And if you’re curious how Bing Audio performs this neat trick, check out this Q&A I did with some of the engineers who worked on it.

I was watching an old episode of Breaking Bad the other day when they played this soulful tune I couldn’t quite place. I just knew I loved it and wanted to hear it again. So I pulled out my phone and fired up Bing Audio, the built-in feature for identifying any artist, song, or album that’s playing around you.

Boom. Moments later my phone had the answer: The track was “Didn’t I,” from some semi-obscure ‘70s-era musician named Darondo. He’s now the star of my music collection.

Bing Audio is one of those Windows Phone features that, once you know it’s there, you find yourself using all the time. (Yes, I’m the weird guy waving my phone in the air at coffee shops and bars, inside the car, and in front of the TV.) The good news is that now more of you will have a chance to try it. Bing Audio support for Windows Phone has started rolling out to 14 new countries including Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland. The feature is already available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.

If you’ve never used it before, here’s how Bing Audio works: When you hear something playing you want to identify, just tap the Search button on your phone, then tap the little music note icon shown below.

 wp_ss_20130702_0001wp_ss_20130702_0002wp_ss_20130702_0006

The phone listens for a few moments, and then lets you know if it finds an audio match. Here’s another tip: If you ever want to go back and see a song Bing Audio identified in the past, just go to Music History, which you’ll find by tapping the Search button, then tapping open the More menu.

wp_ss_20130702_0004wp_ss_20130702_0005

Of course, some people swear by popular music recognition apps like Shazam and SoundHound, which you’ll find in the Windows Phone Store (it’s always nice to have choices). But in my mind Bing Audio has a couple things going for it. First, it’s built in, so you can start using it right of the box—no downloading necessary. Second, it’s tied into Xbox Music. So once you identify a track, it’s easy to quickly buy the song or preview others from the same artist. Just tap the Store icon shown in the screenshot above. Xbox Music Pass subscribers (I’m one) can also stream or download the tune to their phones.

So next time you’re stumped on a song, give it a shot. And if you’re curious how Bing Audio performs this neat trick, check out this Q&A I did with some of the engineers who worked on it.

Your 8 winning photos of summer nights #reinvented

During my photographic adventures, I’ve found that the low-light capabilities of smartphone cameras like the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Nokia Lumia 928 make high-quality photos possible in very challenging lighting situations. As such, for this month’s Windows Phone Challenge we asked you to submit photos of your summer nights #reinvented. As usual, you guys delivered with some spectacular images from all around the world. Our favorites are below (click through for full resolution).

Unfortunately, many entries were excluded because they did not include the requisite 2-3 sentence story behind the photograph. Please include these for the next challenge, as they are frequently the best part of the entry! There were also many entries that weren’t of summer nights. But hang onto those photos, as I have a feeling our next challenge may fit the bill.

We’ll be back with another themed photo challenge soon. In the meantime, feel free to tag your Windows Phone photos on Twitter with the hashtag #WPphoto. We’ll highlight our favorites on our official handle. Also, feel free to check out our previous winners: Pets, Favorite Places, Happy Holidays!, Love, and Photosynth.

JudyKwongSummer

Judy Kwong: I took this picture with my HTC Radar Windows phone.  I didn’t use any apps just the auto camera function on my phone. I have never been able to take any decent photos, let alone good photos of fireworks before my htc phone. What defines summer nights to me is fireworks on the 4th of July.  I took this photo last year on the 4th of July at Aquatic Park, in front of Ghirardelli Square to see the fireworks over the San Francisco Bay. You can even see the people in the canoes and boats watching the show in the bay. This photo was taken toward the end of the fireworks show.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

WP_20130608_013

Loi Trinh: This picture was taken at Phu My bridge, HCMC Vietnam at 5:45pm. I stand on the top of bridge with my lover who i haven’t ever said that “i love you.” Taken with a Nokia Lumia 820.

srilanka

Samitha W.: Summer evening on Hikkaduwa beach with family. Spent a great relaxing time while enjoying the sunset. My personal view is this is the best way to spent a summer evening and that is the reason for choosing this photo for this contest. Taken with a Nokia Lumia 920 in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.

WP_20130614_084

Jason Harmer: Iowa cubs AAA baseball game in Des Moines Iowa. 6/14/13. Night game was already postponed due to rain, and by the bottom of the 6th had to be called again. After they performed their fireworks show (after every Friday home game), the real light show happened courtesy of the storm. Taken with a Nokia Lumia 928.

Brett Loiselle -Summer-

Brett Loiselle: This photo represents summer nights simply! THE OUTDOOR FESTIVAL/CONCERT! There is usually ONE real big show that most people go to a year. And usually, it takes place in the summer. This picture was taken at the Orion Music + More Festival on Belle Isle in Detroit, MI, on June 9.  Hands in the air, clapping in unison, chanting “now I lay me down to sleep” with Metallica as they blast through their hit “Enter Sandman.” Taken with a Nokia Lumia 920.

FrancoisCollardeySummer

François Collardey: I’m from France. I took this picture with my Lumia 920, in New York City. It was a nice moment, at sundown, and I was just chilling after a tremendous day in the Big Apple. For me it represent Summer Night Reinvented because it is a nice melt between the fast pacing city and the calm and cool way of a boat. Hope you like it too!

Blink_03b05c43-26b0-45d0-9932-eda8267301e9_5_2013-06-22

Krisztian K.: We’ve build a terrace at home, when the weather looks suddenly very bad, after the last tile has been placed, big ice fell from the clouds and the sky was full with lightning! Was very beautiful and this could be captured thanks to Nokia and Windows Phone! 🙂 Taken with Blink.

matthewhockman

Matthew Hockman: I took this with my Nokia Lumia 920. Other than Night setting and a square cop everything else is original. How I took it: I pointed my telescope at the moon, and carefully, with a steady hand positioned the phone in precisely the correct spot on the telescope’s viewfinder to catch the moon. I had to take at least 5 shots before I captured a perfect one in focus.

[Editor’s note: This last choice is unconventional, but we’re so blown away by the image and thrilled to see how Matthew reinvented his smartphone photography with a telescope that we had to include it.]

During my photographic adventures, I’ve found that the low-light capabilities of smartphone cameras like the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Nokia Lumia 928 make high-quality photos possible in very challenging lighting situations. As such, for this month’s Windows Phone Challenge we asked you to submit photos of your summer nights #reinvented. As usual, you guys delivered with some spectacular images from all around the world. Our favorites are below (click through for full resolution).

Unfortunately, many entries were excluded because they did not include the requisite 2-3 sentence story behind the photograph. Please include these for the next challenge, as they are frequently the best part of the entry! There were also many entries that weren’t of summer nights. But hang onto those photos, as I have a feeling our next challenge may fit the bill.

We’ll be back with another themed photo challenge soon. In the meantime, feel free to tag your Windows Phone photos on Twitter with the hashtag #WPphoto. We’ll highlight our favorites on our official handle. Also, feel free to check out our previous winners: Pets, Favorite Places, Happy Holidays!, Love, and Photosynth.

JudyKwongSummer

Judy Kwong: I took this picture with my HTC Radar Windows phone.  I didn’t use any apps just the auto camera function on my phone. I have never been able to take any decent photos, let alone good photos of fireworks before my htc phone. What defines summer nights to me is fireworks on the 4th of July.  I took this photo last year on the 4th of July at Aquatic Park, in front of Ghirardelli Square to see the fireworks over the San Francisco Bay. You can even see the people in the canoes and boats watching the show in the bay. This photo was taken toward the end of the fireworks show.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

WP_20130608_013

Loi Trinh: This picture was taken at Phu My bridge, HCMC Vietnam at 5:45pm. I stand on the top of bridge with my lover who i haven’t ever said that "i love you." Taken with a Nokia Lumia 820.

srilanka

Samitha W.: Summer evening on Hikkaduwa beach with family. Spent a great relaxing time while enjoying the sunset. My personal view is this is the best way to spent a summer evening and that is the reason for choosing this photo for this contest. Taken with a Nokia Lumia 920 in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.

WP_20130614_084

Jason Harmer: Iowa cubs AAA baseball game in Des Moines Iowa. 6/14/13. Night game was already postponed due to rain, and by the bottom of the 6th had to be called again. After they performed their fireworks show (after every Friday home game), the real light show happened courtesy of the storm. Taken with a Nokia Lumia 928.

Brett Loiselle -Summer-

Brett Loiselle: This photo represents summer nights simply! THE OUTDOOR FESTIVAL/CONCERT! There is usually ONE real big show that most people go to a year. And usually, it takes place in the summer. This picture was taken at the Orion Music + More Festival on Belle Isle in Detroit, MI, on June 9.  Hands in the air, clapping in unison, chanting "now I lay me down to sleep" with Metallica as they blast through their hit "Enter Sandman." Taken with a Nokia Lumia 920.

FrancoisCollardeySummer

François Collardey: I’m from France. I took this picture with my Lumia 920, in New York City. It was a nice moment, at sundown, and I was just chilling after a tremendous day in the Big Apple. For me it represent Summer Night Reinvented because it is a nice melt between the fast pacing city and the calm and cool way of a boat. Hope you like it too!

Blink_03b05c43-26b0-45d0-9932-eda8267301e9_5_2013-06-22

Krisztian K.: We’ve build a terrace at home, when the weather looks suddenly very bad, after the last tile has been placed, big ice fell from the clouds and the sky was full with lightning! Was very beautiful and this could be captured thanks to Nokia and Windows Phone! 🙂 Taken with Blink.

matthewhockman

Matthew Hockman: I took this with my Nokia Lumia 920. Other than Night setting and a square cop everything else is original. How I took it: I pointed my telescope at the moon, and carefully, with a steady hand positioned the phone in precisely the correct spot on the telescope’s viewfinder to catch the moon. I had to take at least 5 shots before I captured a perfect one in focus.

[Editor’s note: This last choice is unconventional, but we’re so blown away by the image and thrilled to see how Matthew reinvented his smartphone photography with a telescope that we had to include it.]

Official Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 gets major upgrade

The apps just keep on coming this morning. Redbox. iHeartRadio. And now this.

A few months ago we created the Facebook Beta program, an opportunity for heavy-duty Facebook users and Windows Phone enthusiasts to help test out and shape future versions of one of our most popular and important official apps. Your help and support has been tremendous, and today the beta program is paying its first big dividend: Facebook 5.0 for Windows Phone 8. Download it now

This major update brings a ton of new features and improvements that many of you have been asking for, including a complete overhaul of the user interface, improved navigation, support for high-res pictures, post sharing, Facebook Timeline view, and more. Grab the update from the Store and tell us what you think.  (UPDATE: We’re also working to update the Windows Phone 7 version of the app later in the summer. Stay tuned.)

And if you’re the type who enjoys living on the edge and tinkering with pre-release software, then by all means also download the separate Facebook Beta app, which allows you to preview and provide direct feedback on future changes to the app.

5 of 72 of 73 of 7

The apps just keep on coming this morning. Redbox. iHeartRadio. And now this.

A few months ago we created the Facebook Beta program, an opportunity for heavy-duty Facebook users and Windows Phone enthusiasts to help test out and shape future versions of one of our most popular and important official apps. Your help and support has been tremendous, and today the beta program is paying its first big dividend: Facebook 5.0 for Windows Phone 8. Download it now

This major update brings a ton of new features and improvements that many of you have been asking for, including a complete overhaul of the user interface, improved navigation, support for high-res pictures, post sharing, Facebook Timeline view, and more. Grab the update from the Store and tell us what you think.  (UPDATE: We’re also working to update the Windows Phone 7 version of the app later in the summer. Stay tuned.)

And if you’re the type who enjoys living on the edge and tinkering with pre-release software, then by all means also download the separate Facebook Beta app, which allows you to preview and provide direct feedback on future changes to the app.

5 of 72 of 73 of 7

New Smoked by Windows Phone ads start today!

Over the last few months “Smoked by Windows Phone” has been a huge success—we’ve seen over 25,000,000 views of our videos and digital ads and run more than 150,000 in-person challenges in 45 countries worldwide. Those are some pretty big numbe…

Over the last few months “Smoked by Windows Phone” has been a huge success—we’ve seen over 25,000,000 views of our videos and digital ads and run more than 150,000 in-person challenges in 45 countries worldwide.

Those are some pretty big numbers. So we thought “Why stop there?”

Today I’m proud to lift the curtain on a new set of Smoked ads that will run through the summer. This time, rather than challenge people at Microsoft Stores (or on the CES show floor), we hit the streets of Seattle, asking real smartphone users to complete common tasks like taking photos and posting them to Facebook, finding awesome places to eat, or connecting with someone on a social network.

In this spot, for instance, I meet Ramona, a new Seattleite who just moved here from Montana. After talking to her for a few minutes I quickly learn three things: she loves seafood, hates to cook, and spends her free time with her friends. So I challenge her to find a great nearby seafood restaurant and share the details with a few of her friends. If her Android phone gets it done faster than my Windows Phone, dinner is on me.

Take a look to see how things go down:

You’ll probably run into the new ads over the next few months all over the web, on MSNBC and MSN — even on Skype or your Xbox — but if you’re impatient you can check all of them out right now on the Windows Phone Challenge YouTube playlist.

And remember: if you like what you see, spread the word using the hashtag #smokedbywindowsphone!

 

Don’t forget to follow Windows Phone on Twitter and like us on Facebook. And remember to follow me on Twitter to ask questions or just say hi.