Mobile Miscellany: week of February 20th, 2012

Not all mobile news is destined for the front page, but if you're like us and really want to know what's going on, then you've come to the right place. This week, we greet a new version of BlackBerry Bridge, and we've also come across an interesting new launcher for users of Ice Cream Sandwich. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride. Let's explore the "best of the rest" for this week of February 20th, 2012.

Microsoft offers free Windows Phones to public sector app developers

Microsoft is looking to boost demand for Windows Phone in government institutions, and to that end, it's offering free handsets to developers that are willing to code public sector apps for the platform. Applications that address the needs of federal, state and local government will all qualify, along with those targeted at health and life science industries. [MSDN]

BlackBerry Bridge gets an update

Alongside the release of PlayBook OS 2.0, RIM also went ahead and pushed out a new version of BlackBerry Bridge this week. New features include control of the PlayBook from the BlackBerry smartphone, along with the ability to open files, attachments and URLs via Bridge. If these features sound familiar, they should -- RIM gave us a sneak peak of the latest additions at CES. Users will also find new copy / paste functionality, along with the ability to selectively enable or disable Bridge functionality for email, calendar and address book accounts. [N4BB]

Nokia Lumia 719 receives Bluetooth creeds, spills a few secrets

There's a new Lumia handset on the horizon, and according to the Bluetooth SIG, it'll be coming to North America, South America and Asia. Ostensibly a variant of the Lumia 710, it'll also feature a 3.7-inch ClearBlack display and a 5MP cam. Little else is known at the moment, but pardon us for not holding our breath. [Unwired View]

Verizon LTE marches forward in Alabama

The Heart of Dixie got a little more 4G lovin' this week, as Verizon Wireless has expanded its LTE coverage to include Dothan and Enterprise, along with the nearby areas. [Verizon Wireless]

Nova Launcher brings greater customization to Ice Cream Sandwich

If you dig the general style of Android 4.0's launcher, but long for more flexibility and personalization, you'd be wise to check out Nova Launcher (free) in the Android Market. The project hit version 1.0 this week, and allows users to configure custom grids, customize up to three scrollable docks (each with up to seven icons), and scroll infinitely -- or loop -- through their content. Paid users will find gesture support, swipe actions for the dock and the ability to hide unwanted apps, all for the price of $4.00. [Android Community]

Samsung teams up with Opera to deliver web browser on feature phones

We know that not everybody's fortunate enough to own a smartphone, but Samsung has tossed its feature phone user segment a bone with the announcement that several handsets will now include Opera Mini pre-installed. The good faith gesture will first apply to the Star 3 and Champ Deluxe (along with the Duo variants of each), and the browser will be extended to many more handsets as the year progresses. [fonearena, Opera]

Ladies, meet the Bobbi Brown Galaxy S II

Samsung debuted a limited edition version of the Galaxy S II this week, which was created in partnership with Bobbi Brown, the cosmetics company. The smartphone is reddish-pink in color, which primarily fits with the firm's overall brand. It appears to have a fancy case along with some matching shades of makeup. Ladies, does this really do anything for you? Or would you have preferred a handset named after the singer? [Samsung Tomorrow]