Windows Phone Wednesday: Back to WP as primary platform on T-Mobile

Windows Phone may finally start seeing some real adoption in 2012, but even if it doesn't it is my personal preferred platform and you will see more regular Windows Phone Wednesday articles this year.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

I haven't written a Windows Phone Wednesday article since September 2011, primarily because I couldn't find a new Mango-powered phone for T-Mobile that really interested me and I wanted to try out some other new phones. I have since purchased the iPhone 4S on Verizon, Samsung Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ version, Nokia N9, and more. Last week I wrote the reasons I chose the HTC Radar 4G and it is now my primary phone on T-Mobile USA. While the Galaxy Nexus has greater specs and the Nokia N9 with MeeGo a slick UI, the HTC Radar 4G lets me get things done quickly and I am clearly a major fan of Windows Phone.

CES 2012

Windows Phone was a major focus at CES this year with the fantastic Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II showing their stuff. The WP Marketplace now has over 50,000 apps and reached this level faster than iOS or Android in the past. I have ALWAYS said that Windows Phone is a platform you need to try to appreciate since it is NOTHING like the old Windows Mobile OS from Microsoft and it seems that people are finally taking my advice and trying out the devices. It helps when companies like Nokia, HTC, Samsung, and carriers launch Windows Phone devices for less than $100, some even for free.

Must-Have Games

Microsoft is kicking off 2012 with a Must-Have Games promotion that will start with five new games. I was just asked if I wanted to check out these games and should be getting a device loaded with them to write about here on the blog later this week. The five games coming over a five week period include:

  1. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
  2. Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp
  3. BulletAsylum
  4. Chickens Can't Fly
  5. Splinter Cell Conviction

I am looking forward to checking these games out, particularly Chickens Can't Fly and Splinter Cell.

UPDATE: Here are the details on these 5 games that will start appearing in the Marketplace next week on 1 February.

  1. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit | Electronic Arts | February 1 | $4.99 Feel the rush of the escape and the thrill of the takedown! Outrun the law as a Racer in supercars such as the Pagani Zonda Cinque — or stop racers cold as a Cop in high-speed police interceptors such as the Lamborghini Reventon. Enabled for Xbox LIVE, experience pulse-pounding action as you make the escape or make the bust with “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit” on Windows Phone. Drive up to 20 precision-performance cars in adrenaline-fueled showdown across 24 day-and-night tracks. Take it to the limit in 48 total Cop and Racer Career Events, collect bounty, and rise to the top of the ranks.
  2. BulletAsylum | Microsoft Studios | February 8 | $2.99 Do you like bullets? How about explosions? Are you tired of having to wait ENTIRE SECONDS between seeing bullets explode things? Annihilate invaders with a wall of firepower in this insane arcade shooter. “BulletAsylum” delivers over-the-top action, melding classic gameplay with next-generation visuals and mechanics. With an insane amount of firepower at your fingertips, vibrant graphics and an all-you-can-shoot buffet of alien hordes to destroy, “BulletAsylum” will blow you away!
  3. Chickens Can’t Fly | Microsoft Studios | February 15 | $2.99 Join the ranks of our scientists and see what chickens are capable of! Conduct experiments throughout four laboratories and answer questions such as: Is there life after the butcher? Are chickens afraid of ghosts? Does a frozen chicken get dizzy? Countless hours of fun await you: fall down an experimental pit, avoid obstacles, use power-ups and power-downs, gather corn, and make it through to the end. Use the skills you learn to get a high score in Survival Mode and show off to your friends on the Xbox LIVE and global leaderboards.
  4. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction | Gameloft | February 22 | $4.99 The benchmark of action stealth games on console is available for the first time on Windows Phone. Unleash the ferocious skills of renegade agent Sam Fisher, a highly skilled Special Forces operative, and fight a corrupted secret agency to get your daughter back. Follow a trail of intrigue that leads from Iraq to a high-security building in Washington, D.C. Run, jump, fight and shoot using a handgun, a shotgun, an AK-47 assault rifle and a bazooka, or maintain stealth by improvising with nearby objects. You are now a renegade spy agent; you don’t follow any orders except for your own rules of engagement.
  5. Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp | Microsoft Studios February 29 | $2.99 Wage war on a tiny scale in “Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp,” which brings the fun and addictive shooting gallery mini-games from “Toy Soldiers: Cold War” for Xbox 360 to your Windows Phone. Defend house and home against swarms of houseflies when a flyswatter puts you in the role of a pint-sized anti-aircraft gunner. Thread the needle in the super-addicting game where you simply try to guide your missile through rotating holes. In addition, earn bragging rights in “Toy Soldiers: Cold War” for Xbox 360 through an integrated mobile leaderboard.

Deal of the Week

I remember back in the good old days when we would regularly pay $10 to $15 for apps and so when I see these high quality Xbox LIVE games available for $2.99 to $6.99 I think it is a heck of a steal. I wanted to remind you all that Microsoft generally has a weekly deal on Xbox LIVE games that knocks $1 or $2 off the regular price. For example, last week you could purchase Flight Control for just $1.99. Keep an eye out for these weekly deals.

Xbox Companion

Do you have an Xbox at home to go with your Windows Phone device? If so, you should try the Xbox Companion app that lets you use your phone to search for media and control it, similar to a remote control, with your Windows Phone device.

Free Xbox LIVE games

My middle daughter fell in love with Windows Phone during some trials a few months ago and I picked up an unlocked Samsung Focus for her that she can't put down. The great thing is that there are several free Xbox LIVE games available so you don't need to spend lots of money getting some fun games, that include:

  • Bug Village
  • Breeze
  • Shuffle Party
  • Sudoku
  • Minesweeper
  • Flowerz

What types of coverage would you like to see here in a future edition of Windows Phone Wednesday?

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