The Wrap: News apps deliver, Consumer Reports tests us, “Fatty in the bowl”

Here are some of my favorite news items of the week. What about you?

CNN arrives, New York Times hits 2.0

It was a good week for news junkies. The New York Times unveiled its redesigned Windows Phone app—version 2.0—which includes a bunch of neat design and feature upgrades. You can now pin sections and blogs to Start to see the latest news and save favorite articles to the cloud, where they’re viewable on multiple devices. Neat stuff. Get it here

First released exclusively to Lumia owners, CNN has now made its official app broadly available in Marketplace. The app serves up the latest headlines, video, and breaking news alerts. You can also tune into CNN Radio and send eyewitness pictures and video to CNN’s iReports directly from your phone. Grab the app

The official New York Times goes 2.0 and adds some great new features.The official CNN app, new to Marketplace, is another must have for news junkies.

Consumer Reports tests the Nokia Lumia 900, HTC Titan II

The Consumer Reports lab crew recently put the first Windows Phones compatible with AT&T’s fast 4G network to the test and liked what they saw. Editors praised the Lumia 900 for its “stunning” screen and good video recording ability. “With it’s large, beautiful display and handy controls, the Lumia is a very good choice,” they concluded.

The Titan II, meanwhile, stood out for its outsized specs, including a 4.7-inch screen and 16-megapixel camera (“the highest resolution we’ve seen on a phone”). Both models posted good battery life scores, testers noted. Results appear in the magazine’s July issue.

Create a Windows Phone app in 30 days? Yes you can.

If you’ve contemplated cashing in on the smartphone boom and creating a Windows Phone app, you probably arrived at your keyboard with a million questions: What do I need to know? How do I make money? And most importantly: Where the heck do I start?

Now Microsoft has a new site called 30 To Launch that provides answers to these questions and more. Moreover, the site outlines a plan for creating your dream app in just 30 days, hooking you up with free resources, tips, and expert advice along the way. What are you waiting for? I want your awesome app on my phone.

Seton Hall freshmen get Windows Phones

How times have changed since I was in college. As Information Week reported Tuesday, Seton Hall University’s entire incoming class of 2016 is receiving Nokia Lumia 900 handsets and free service from AT&T for the fall semester. The phones will come with a homegrown SHU app that provides access to campus directories, maps, and news feeds. Another pre-loaded custom social media app lets students connect with classmates, roommates, advisors, and others. “The university picked the Windows Phone devices due to its native integration with Microsoft’s Office suite of software,” Information Week notes.

Inside the minds of Nokia’s top engineers

Nokia Conversations, the company’s official blog, ran two items this week that should appeal to armchair engineers and anybody curious about what it takes to create a cutting-edge smartphone today.

The first introduces readers to Stefan Pannenbeckern, Nokia’s head of industrial design and the man behind the award-winning Lumia 900. Pannenbeckern shares some of things designers at Nokia obsess over—like speaker holes—when building their Windows Phones. “We care about the smallest details and craft each part of the phone so it becomes what you’d expect from a beautiful watch, or a beautifully engineered pair of sunglasses,” he says. Read on

3D wax models of the Nokia Lumia 800

In a separate post this week, writer Karen Bartlett talks with Nokia sound engineer Oscar Lopez, who details some of the company’s secrets for achieving crystal-clear calls—like using two microphones inside each Lumia 900 instead of one.  Find out why. Lopez also notes he spends a lot of time in dead-silent padded rooms.

3D wax models of the Nokia Lumia 800.

And finally…”Fatty in the bowl”

It’s always fun to see what kinds of snapshots people take with their Windows Phones. So the curious writers at Nokia Conversations decided to survey Flickr’s metadata and compile some of their favorite Lumia images. See them here. Some shots are stunning examples of what a smartphone camera, and especially Nokia’s, is capable of these days. Others are just, well….

Fatty in the bowl