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Offline Map data updated for Windows Phone

Along with all the excited in the air today about the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers, many will also see an update to Nokia’s Offline Maps.

Our tipster is seeing updates for the entire U.S. map collection and we’ve been able to confirm updates for New York. It does appear that the updates are for devices running Windows Phone 8.1. My Lumia 1020 is still running Windows Phone 8 and no updates are in sight.

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Our top five features of Windows Phone 8.1

There has definitely been a build-up of excitement surrounding the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers. The update will bring a wide assortment of new features to our Windows Phones ranging from Cortana to a new Start Screen design.

But what are the top five new features coming to the table with Windows Phone 8.1? This question has been hashed out in the WPCentral Forums, in our comments, around the water cooler at work and probably over raw fish at the local sushi bar.

After the break, we’ll tap five of the new features that we think are the best with Windows Phone 8.1.

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Bad Piggies, the pig-focused spinoff of Angry Birds, is now available for Windows Phone. The game, which inverts the point of view from the furious avians to the abominable swine, has the player build increasingly complicated and absurd vehicles to get the pigs around the levels, with the end goal of getting their hooves on the birds' eggs. Leveraging a lot of the physics work learned from their previous dud Amazing Alex, Bad Piggies uses all manner of mechanical bits — from wheels and springs to balloons and propellers and wings — to get the pigs moved about the level.

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When Apple introduced Passbook in iOS 6 they billed it as a way to store all your tickets, coupons, boarding passes, loyalty programs, and other cards all in one place. It's hard to imagine they expected that place to one day be Microsoft Wallet, but thanks to Windows Phone 8.1 that appears to be exactly what's happening.

Passbook passes are just collection of data that get rendered into a card and displayed in Apple's Passbook app. Think of the Passbook files like the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript data that makes up a webpage, and the Passbook app like the browser that renders the actual page. It looks like Windows Phone 8 is taking the same data and rendering a similar card out of it, and then pushing that card to Microsoft Wallet.

Apple code-signs their Passbook cards, and it's not yet clear if Microsoft is simply accepting Apple certificates or accepting any pass regardless of whether it's signed or not.

Apple also provides a push-notification-based service to update cards, like gates numbers on boarding passes or balance info on Starbucks cards. Windows Phone probably can't hook into that system so, if updates are possible, there'd have to be some Microsoft-specific support from the supplier, or laborious polling process in place.

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Verizon is finally going to give you a discount for off-contract phones. Starting April 17th, customers of Big Red are going to be able to bring their own off-contract devices onto shared MORE Everything plans at a discount. No longer will they have to pay a subsidy fee for a subsidy they're not using. Plans at or under 8GB will see a smartphone add-on reduction of $10 (bringing the fee to $30/month), while those with data allotments of 10GB or higher will see their fee sliced from $40 down to $25 per smartphone.

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Cortana is a super useful personal assistant now available for Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft released the Preview for Developers today and we're sure you're all eagerly wanting to test out the Halo AI on your smartphone.

But how does one manage to interact with Cortana when it's only available within the US, at least for the time being? After a few simple steps to alter your region and language settings, it's possible to get Cortana working outside the states. Read on past the break for all the details!

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Windows Phone 8.1 brings a wealth of new features and improvements to the table. Some of these changes are meant to bring Windows Phone more in-line with Windows 8. The more closely the two operating systems resemble each other, the easier it is for users to transition between phone, tablet, and PC. And of course, any such changes would qualify as improvements even if you’ve never touched a Windows 8 device. Microsoft is simply smart enough to pick and choose better implementations where they see them.

One such change comes with Windows Phone 8.1’s new and improved search feature. The Search button and Cortana app (US only) now searches not only the web for queries but also the user’s actual phone (much like Windows 8 and RT). This makes it easier than ever to find specific information and files on your phone. Even the actual web search results share a cleaner, slicker look as well. Head past the break to see how convenient searching can be on Windows Phone 8.1.

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With Windows Phone 8.1 being released today to those participating the Preview for Developers program, there is a lot to chew on. I wrote about the OS in a 5,500 word review and overview, but there’s so much in there, I figured you folks needed some quick tips on features you may not have known about!

Head past the break to see our eight must-know tips for Windows Phone 8.1!

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Microsoft will be kicking off a new worldwide campaign for developers to help drive some new apps and games to its app stores. Next month, the company will host a number of day events for content creators to pop along and receive some advice and support from experts.

Attending the days, developers will enjoy free consulting time with a Microsoft engineer who will provide guidance on a number of Windows development related topics – perfect if you're eyeing up the Windows and Windows Phone ecosystems for your next deployment.

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For today only, purchase the Amzer Double Layer Hybrid Case with Kickstand for Nokia Lumia 521 and save 50% off the list price!

This Lumia 521 hybrid case provides serious protection against drops and scratches while providing you with a built-in kickstand that can be used for watching movies, slideshows and more. The inner-most layer is made of a shock absorbing silicone that sits underneath a thick plastic exterior.

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After introducing a $40 base plan and then doing away with extra charges for cellular tablets and giving them a free gigabyte of data, T-Mobile is at it again by doing with overage fees. The elimination of domestic overage fees hits all T-Mobile plans. T-Mobile CEO John Legere called out his competition, pointing out that overage fees amount to $1 billion in extra payments from consumers every year.

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One of the many welcomed features with Windows Phone 8 was the ability to capture a screenshot from your Windows Phone. For those of us who write about Windows Phones it was a fantastic feature to allow us to better illustrate what we write about.

For the average consumer, having the ability to capture a screenshot can come in handy in the same manner. You can share a screen capture of your high score, a glitch in the programming or for those times you just want to share screens that appear on your Windows Phone.

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With the launch of Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers today, Microsoft has refreshed its mobile operating system with a plethora of new features and functionality. We're seriously excited to get started with the update and we know you all are too. To help you all out, should you have any questions or simply wish to scream out, we have Windows Phone 8.1 forums set up and ready to go.

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It’s finally here. Windows Phone 8.1 is now available to download for those in the Preview for Developers program. Windows Phone 8.1 is the next big version of Windows Phone that introduces new features like voice assistant Cortana, a notification center, automatic app updates, VPN support and much more.

Even if you’re not really a developer you can join the Preview for Developers to get Windows Phone 8.1 today. Every handset running Windows Phone 8 in the wild now is capable of the upgrade. Here’s how to get Window Phone 8.1.

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This week is certainly expected to be a rather busy one for Windows Phone and what better way to kick things off than with some leaked codenames. Courtesy of @evleaks, the popular leakster Twitter profile, new Nokia codenames have been published for everyone to begin speculating with. In addition, we figured we would toss in a few Microsoft codenames to make it all even more interesting!

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If you don't love Microsoft Research then you don't love ice cream sundaes or anything else good in the world, because who else is busy figuring out how to make Windows Phone scan faces and build 3D models? So what if they call it "Skynet UI", what bad could come of this?! Zhiwei Li, Richard Cai, and Jiawei Gu are even sharing their work on the web, making sci-fi look just a little more real. Here's the abstract:

3D scanning on portable device is a technology that empower people turn physical objects into high-quality 3D models with the normal RGB camera capturing on mobile device and support for 3D printing. The Skynet UI design aims to enhance user experience to lower the barriers between common consumers and 3D reconstruction

Video above. If you want all the scientific details and a ton more pictures, hit the link below. Then tell me — how awesome would this be as part of Windows Phone next?

Source: Microsoft Research

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For today only, purchase the Incipio NGP Impact Resistant Case for Nokia Lumia 1520 and save 32% off the list price!

The Lumia 1520 NGP case blends the perfect mixture of plastic and silicone into one streamlined design. These cases wrap all the way around your device for a snug, sure fit. The skin itself is completely stretch and tear resistant, yet the exterior's smooth matte finish almost feels like a hard case.

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Back at Build 2014 (remember that, two weeks ago?), Microsoft announced their initiative to unify apps across their entire ecosystem. That way a developer could build an app once and deploy it to Windows Phone, Windows, and even Xbox. But to make that a reality there was some back-end housekeeping to be done in order to make that a possibility. One of those steps: making it so you can price apps the same across all the stores.

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Another week has blown by us and we’re now on the cusp of getting Windows Phone 8.1 sometime in the next five days. While you patiently wait to update through the Preview for Developers program, check out some new apps and games in the Windows Phone Store. We’re taking another look at the top games and apps that just joined Windows Phone this past week. We’ll also look at any major app updates and let you know about any cool betas going on. This week we’re checking out Flipkart, Foundbite and more!

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For today only, purchase the Body Glove DropSuit Rugged Case for Nokia Lumia 822 and save 57% off the list price!

The DropSuit rugged case for your Lumia 822 is made of a durable gel material that resists the battles of everyday life. It has uniquely designed corners that have a shock dissipation system to absorb impact and defend against bumps and scratches. The strategically placed side bumpers provide a secure grip and are reinforced for drop protection.

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the national governing body for all cricket in India. Formed in 1928 and a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the BCCI owns all cricket events in India, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), an annual Twenty20 cricket tournament started in 2008 where different franchise teams participate for the title.

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The rumored Nokia 'Monarch' smartphone is back in the news, with serial leaker @evleaks back with more apparent details on the unannounced device. Previously the same source had claimed that the Monarch was bound for T-Mobile in the U.S., and today's message indicates that we're not looking at a flagship class phone.

So, if all this pans out to be correct we're looking at another lower cost Lumia headed the way of T-Mobile. That's not a bad thing, not at all, as the Lumia 521 proved. But we're sure there's more than a few of you out there itching for another high-end device with a Magenta flavor. At least with the 635 we'd be getting 4G LTE in a lower cost package.

It's all still rumor until either T-Mobile or Nokia makes it official, but given the track record of the source it's not at all inconceivable that it's true.

Source: @evleaks

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