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Yesterday Nokia announced three new Windows Phones for the smartphone buying public. They are the Lumia 630, Lumia 635 and Lumia 930. The Lumia 630 is notable for being the first dual-SIM Windows Phone. It’ll also be available before the Lumia 930, making it the first Windows Phone 8.1 device you’ll be able to buy. We went and did a hands-on with the dual-SIM version of the Lumia 630. Check it out.

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Sprint is getting a little “uncarrier” themselves with a new promotion that offers to pay your early termination fees if you’re willing to switch to them. You can get up to $350 for every line terminated when making the switch; just snap a picture of your last bill, send it to Sprint, and they’ll send you a Visa card with the cash on it. There are a few terms and conditions here and there, but you can read all of that at Sprint’s site starting tomorrow. The promotion will run from April 4 until May 8.

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Yesterday, Nokia announced the Nokia Lumia 930, a new flagship device running Windows Phone 8.1. That phone is due for release in the coming weeks and for all intents and purposes, it’s the same hardware as the Nokia Lumia Icon for Verizon. There are two differences though: color options, which is obvious and something more subtle: Dolby Digital Plus audio recording.

According to Nokia, this is the first time a smartphone will have this ability and we don’t doubt it. The feature is still technically in development and while we were able to see the configuration options in settings, we are not able to show you them just yet (the phone was a special version, not on display for the media, though it’s the one I’m holding in my hand in the video below).

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Last night we went to visit Nokia at their #moreLumia event here in San Francisco. There wasn’t anything new learned there, it served more as a recap with Stephen Elop over the announcement made earlier of the Lumia 630, Lumia 635 and Lumia 930. We did get hands-on time with the devices and even some others that didn’t get too much time in the limelight. Lime...Green…Green Lumia 1520. It’s awesome.

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Fhotoroom is a popular Windows Phone photography app that is part social network, part photo editor and part camera app. Fhotoroom can be used as a standalone app or you can register to share your photos with other Fhotoroom members. The Fhotoroom photo editor covers the basics, filters, and frame while the camera app offers you a decent amount of control over the Windows Phone camera.

The Windows Phone 8 version of Fhotoroom was recently updated to version 11, which has a healthy change log. The most notable additions with the update include an in-app store with free and paid for filters and a few new editing tools.

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If you’ve been itching to learn more about the recently-announced Lumia 930, Nokia’s Conversations blog has posted an interview with one of their chief designers, Jonne Harju, on the device. Harju notes that the lack of a camera bump eases the way for wireless charging. The outer aluminum frame is a single solid piece, which keeps down manufacturing costs. Harju emphasized the human qualities of the design, namely the shared focus on simplicity in both Nokia and Microsoft designs.

As for the future, Harju’s looking forward to designing around changing expectations in biometrics, ergonomics, and usage habits (how often do we want to get notifications, anyway?). Be sure to read the full interview to get a peek behind the scenes at the creation of the Lumia 930.

Source: Conversations

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This isn’t so much news as just something to chew on while you wait for the Windows Phone 8.1 bits to rollout in the coming weeks. Cortana, the recently announced personal voice-assistant app, is being programmed to have quite the personality. Much like Apple’s Siri, Cortana will not only answer your legitimate real-life questions, but she will respond with wit and humor when asked non-serious inquires too.

We spent a few minutes playing around with a recent build of Cortana, and the video above speaks for itself. We’re sure Microsoft will be adding even more amusing responses to her repertoire over the coming weeks. Likewise, we’re sure you’ll post your curious findings in our Cortana forums for others to enjoy.

Want to see more? Make sure you watch our exclusive Cortana video tour.

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The Windows Phone native calendar. Let’s not mince words, it was quite…basic. Limited views, restricted features – Microsoft practically forced third-party developers to make alternatives, such as Simple Calendar or Cal. But even those had OS limitations due to constrained APIs.

With Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft certainly gave the native calendar a much needed overhaul. We managed to miss it in our earlier coverage – not a shocker when you consider all the new changes – so we figured we would revisit this core OS feature and show you what’s new. Head past the break to catch our video!

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Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.1 to the world. We gave you numerous videos featuring the OS in action, including Cortana, the Notification center and more. However, that was on a Lumia 630 prototype, one that we weren’t supposed to have in the first place – the risks we take for you, folks!

But how does Windows Phone 8.1 roll on the 2.2 GHz quad-core Lumia 1520? We ventured to find out.

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Tech giants like Apple and Microsoft have pushed for reform of the US patent system after being involved in a multitude of legal actions over patents, but now they're pushing to slow reform. Apple and Microsoft are teaming up with Ford Motor Company, DuPont, General Electric, Pfizer, and IBM for the Partnership for american Innovation, which aims to convince members of the United States Congress to dial back some of their proposals on patent reform in order to protect their own patents.

Reuters reports that the group is worried that the laws that Congress is considering to handle the patent trolls problem will hurt their own businesses. A quick look at the membership confirms the thought that the companies in question are particularly concerned about moves to make software and biotechnology unpatentable.

The push in Congress to reform the patent system has been growing, often at the behest of these very companies after they've come under fire in multi-million-dollar (and multi-billion-dollar) patent suits from companies that merely hold patents they've acquired from elsewhere, having neither created the patent or produced any products that use it.

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Microsoft’s Halo franchise is live and well, having characters further integrated into Windows Phone and Spartan Assault being available on multiple platforms. If you recall last week, we touched on Major Nelsen teasing an upcoming deal covering the popular Halo game for Windows and Windows Phone. That deal is now live and you can pick up Halo: Spartan Assault for just $1.99 on both platforms.

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Free roaming within the European Union is a step closer today, after the European parliament voted in favor of laws that would abolish roaming fees between EU member states, as part of a package of telecom reforms. The package, originally proposed by EU lawmaker Neelie Kroes, moves Europe closer to a single market for mobile communication, especially with the recent arrival of 4G LTE roaming agreements between European carriers.

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The Facebook Beta app for Windows Phone is the perfect opportunity for consumers (and fans of the massive social network) to get ahead of the game. The beta houses advanced builds of the Facebook app, which contain features not yet available in the stable version. Today we're looking at a rather minor bump to the beta.

Version 5.2.4.2 (like we said, it's just a minute bump in numbers) introduces some bug fixing to address issues consumers have been experiencing with the app. No new features or hidden functionality, unfortunately. That said, we're always pleased to see bugs squashed.

You can download the Facebook Beta from the Windows Phone Store. Thanks, Sanjeev, for the tip!

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The beautiful Magnify Beta RSS reader for Windows Phone saw a major update only a few days ago but already the team has prepared another update for everyone. The changes aren't as huge as the previous release but they're just as important and enough to push the app into v3.0.8. We've got the full change log as well as some screenshots for your viewing pleasure below.

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The Nokia MD-12 is a brand new wireless speaker system just announced at the #moreLumia event, part of the ongoing Build 2014 conference. Weighing roughly as much as an apple — har! — Nokia calls the MD-12 a "funky" new portable Bluetooth mini-speaker. It's got a built-in vibrating actuator for heavy base, and offers 15-hours of battery life so you can power your party, and your after party, and your after after party with ease.

The MD-12 also offers speaker-phone functionality, as you'd expect, and can be paired with but a single tap of your NFC equipped Windows Phone.

Speaking of which, the MD-12 comes in yellow, green, orange, and white, just like the brand new 2014 Windows Phones!

Price is an astoundingly good €39, but we haven't seen anything on availability yet. So, in the meantime, check out the new Nokia MD-12 and let me know — are you getting one, and if so, what color?

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Today is all about Windows Phone 8.1, but that doesn’t mean developers stop updating apps in the Windows Phone Store. We’re looking at an update for Facebook Messenger in the Windows Phone Store. Looking forward to saving photos? Then you’re in luck, the newest update to Facebook Messenger allows that and more. Let’s check it out.

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Hot on the heels of Microsoft officially announcing Windows Phone 8.1, the SDK Development Tools are now available for download. The Windows Phone emulator has also been updated to handle Windows Phone 8.1. All which in preparation for the eventual release of the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK.

The Windows Phone 8.1 development tools are included with Visual Studio 2013. If you already have Visual Studio 2013 installed, you’ll need to install Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC. Otherwise, you’ll need to install the Update 2 version from scratch.

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DVLUP, Nokia's developer outreach program, has announced a new system to better incentivize and reward their most loyal, most successful app makers. Called DVLUP Status, it introduces three new, "highly coveted" badges — Specialist (bronze), Expert (silver), and Legend (gold). Earn them and you'll be rewarded with elite privileges galore. Here's the deal, according to the DVLUP blog:

  • Specialist: 10% discount on select rewards and campaigns, and a one-time 1,000 XP Bonus.
  • Expert: 25% discount on select rewards and campaigns, and a one-time 2,500 XP Bonus.
  • Legend: 35% discount on select rewards and campaigns, and a one-time 5,000 XP Bonus.

Nokia says developers will start seeing the badges pop up in their feeds very soon. So, keep an eye out and let us know when you see yours, and what status you've won!

Source: DVLUP Blog

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Today’s a very busy day for Windows Phone users and developers all over the world. A host of exciting new features in Windows Phone 8.1 have been announced today by Microsoft at Build 2014. Nokia also announced two new phones – the Lumia 630/635 and the Lumia 930. Chris Weber, Nokia’s executive vice president of global sales and marketing, is going on Twitter to answer your questions. Details below on how you can participate.

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The Windows Phone Central forums are the absolute best place in the world to talk, share, and experience the Windows Phone and Microsoft community. All of that news Microsoft announced just today? We've already got forums and threads aplenty set up for your discussion pleasure. Jump in now and let us know your take on all the day's events!

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