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May 18, 2012

The Wrap: The Focus 2 arrives, “Dear Windows Phone,” new 99 cent Xbox games

Here are my favorite Windows Phone highlights of the week. What about you?

The Samsung Focus 2 arrives on Sunday

Heads up that the Samsung Focus 2 makes its AT&T debut this weekend. With a $50 price tag, solid spec sheet, and 4G LTE network support—not to mention classy looks—I’m betting Samsung has another Windows Phone winner on its hands. The critics agree. CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt reviewed the phone this week and liked what she saw. “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Focus 2,” she concludes. Ben “Smoked by Windows Phone” Rudolph also put this white beauty through its paces and walked away impressed. “If you’re looking for a value-priced phone that gets you top-level features, the Samsung Focus 2 is a great choice,” he wrote.

Buy it

See AT&T’s entire Windows Phone line up

The Samsung Focus 2 arrives at AT&T on Sunday.

The Samsung Focus 2 arrives at AT&T on Sunday.

Tip: Rocking the lock screen

Once you do pick up that new Focus 2, check out Laura Foy’s latest tip for new Windows Phone owners. This week she delves into the secrets of the lock screen. (Looking for more great tips? We’ve got ‘em—here and here.)

“Dear Windows Phone”

We get lots of emails from people who decide to give Windows Phone a try and are so wowed by the experience they feel compelled to share. (Keep ‘em coming!) As Business Insider and a few other outlets noticed, we recently published one from a longtime Apple fan that landed in Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s inbox (funny how he ignores all my mails). Read it on our website. Speaking of converts, Sydney Myers over at PhoneDog has an interesting and thoughtful post this week on what soured her love affair with Android and why she now pockets a Nokia Lumia 900 instead. “I need a tool, not a toy, “ she writes. “I need a phone I can pick up and use. Windows Phone is exactly that and it manages to be seductively attractive in the process.”


List of bargain Xbox games grows

Last month I wrote about price cuts for seven popular Xbox LIVE titles in the Windows Phone Marketplace, including Angry Birds and Burn the Rope, to 99 cents. Well, since then the list of bargain titles has quietly been growing, and I wanted to makes sure you knew about all the great games you can now get on the cheap. Here they are. What are you waiting for?

And finally…It’s Metro: the musical!

Windows Phone owner and UK-based musician Matt Oglesby had this thought the other day: What could I do with my Lumia 800 and some free music apps from Marketplace?

A lot, it turns out. His composition “Metro” was made from five apps—BitSynth, Piano 7, Level 6 Guitar Chords, SoundFlake Synth, Tones—mixed together using Cubase. The only thing he added extra was some drums. (Here are the full production notes.) As a hack guitarist myself, I thought this was especially cool. Even cooler: One of the apps he used, BitSynth, was coded by Windows Phone blog contributor Andy Myers, whose office is right next to mine. (Look for Andy’s chronicle of how he made BitSynth on the blog soon.)