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So far, the Preview for Developers program with Windows Phone 8.1 is going very well for Microsoft and those interested in getting an early look at the next OS. The preview, however, is not completely optimized for individual devices, and they still need new firmware to be complete. Once “official” updates rollout with OEM firmware, we expect things to be even better for consumers.

Still, Microsoft is in a ‘pay attention to the customer’ mode, reacting very quickly to user feedback. That’s why we’re excited to hear, at least via Microsoft’s Community forums, that an update to the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview will be forthcoming.

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We're excited to announce another patch to our official Windows Phone app today, which you can download right now here in the marketplace (Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7). Whilst this version 4.4.18 is not the biggest update we've ever announced we suspect a fair few people will be quite happy.

Following a flood of e-mails and messages complaining about our live tile's compatibility with the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 we've made sure that tile transparency now works correctly for both of our live tiles. The other headline change is that we've now made all features of the app available to all users.

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In Windows Phone 8.1, the Xbox Games Hub is now a separate app that can be updated independently from the OS itself. It can’t be uninstalled, but the freedom to update separately should allow Microsoft to make changes to the app much more quickly than before. In fact, the app received its first update earlier today.

Like many aspects of the Windows Phone 8.1 update, the Xbox Games app builds on the established pre-8.1 design and makes a few changes as well. Not all of these changes are for the better, and in some ways the app is a clear step back. Luckily there will surely be more updates to follow. Read on to learn about the major changes in the Windows Phone 8.1 Xbox Games app and the new way the OS lists the games you’ve installed.

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For today only, purchase the Trident Aegis Case for Nokia Lumia 822 and save 46% off the list price!

The Trident Aegis Cases offer complete protection with creative design to keep the Lumia 822 safe and unharmed without compromising its advanced functionality. A durable silicone layer is on the inside - in direct contact with the device, with a hard polycarbonate shell on outside.

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Earlier today we told you guys and gals about Microsoft’s Project My Screen app for your PC. This is the app you’ll need installed and running on your PC in order to share what’s on your Windows Phone 8.1 screen to your PC. We haven’t had time to play around with it yet, but Microsoft’s Cliff Simpkins (@cliffsimpkins) has a great guide on how to use it and troubleshoot any potential problems.

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Windows Phone 8.1 introduces a handful of new features like Cortana, Notification Center and Wi-Fi Sense, but also improves on older features like Data Sense. We’ll be going into detail over the next few days about all the various features. We figured we’d make ‘sense’ of Windows Phone 8.1 by spending quality time with Data Sense, Storage Sense and Wi-Fi Sense. Here’s the page you bookmark to know everything you want about Data Sense.

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Since I’ve already shared with you my favorite wallpaper for Windows Phone 8.1 and some of my apps on my Start screen, I figured I’d finish the week up with something on my Lock screen. Granted, I’ve been known to change this often, depending on which app adds support for that feature. But today I’m back to an oldy but goody: The blurred Start screen.

As you can see in the above photo, it looks like my Lock screen is an opaque but see-through window to my Start screen. Unfortunately, transparent Lock screens are not back, but you can simulate the effect with a few easy steps.

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For those looking for a portable tablet gaming experience, Windows tablets can sure hit the mark like no other platform. Whether you are looking at the fully equipped Razer Edge with an Nvidia GeForce GPU and dual joysticks, or you are looking at a Surface 2 – experiences are ready to be had.

The power of a full Windows 8 tablet allows gamers to experience their favorite titles like Counter Strike: GO, Team Fortress 2, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Titanfall anywhere they go.  If you are using a Windows RT based tablet, the fun does not end just because you are limited to the Windows Store - not if you have an Xbox 360 controller.

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We’re very excited to see what developers can do by integrating their apps with Cortana. It’s a very promising future for those on Windows Phone 8.1. One developer has already started to play around with Cortana. Matt Cavanagh, a guy from South Africa who is well-known in the Windows Phone developer scene, has hooked up Cortana to control his lights. Check the video after the break.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve seen updates for 6tag (Instagram client) and 6sec (Vine client) from developer Rudy Huyn. Today, we’re getting updates for both, including a 2.0 release for 6sec.

6tag has received CloudSix integration, which is Huyn’s other pet project. CloudSix offers an unparalleled experience for cloud hosting companies on Windows Phone, including Dropbox (Huyn mentioned that he plans to expand CloudSix coverage to OneDrive, Mega, Google Drive and more in the future). Today’s update includes that along with support for “phablets under Windows Phone 8.1”.

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AT&T's pre-paid GoPhone customers are in for a nice little treat: their monthly data allotments are going up, but their monthly cost is staying the same. Starting April 25th, GoPhone's 2GB $60-a-month plan will be bumped up to 2.5GB, while the $40-for-250MB plan will double to 500MB. Additionally, those on the larger and more expensive plan will gain mobile Wi-Fi hotspot support at no additional charge. And if you happen to be wanting to buy your smartphone from Wal-Mart, GoPhone shoppers there will have the option of a $45 monthly 1GB plan.

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Take a break from playing with all the new features of Windows Phone 8.1 and play some actual games. If you’re into racing games, it may be worthwhile to check out Uber Racer. The game has been available for iOS for a while, but now Windows Phone users can play it too. It’s not related to the popular car booking service, in case you were wondering.

Head past the break to watch our gameplay video.

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Since Windows Phone 8.1’s preview release this week, you folks can’t enough of the new Start screen backgrounds. And here you thought you’d hate them ;)

We covered a cool little app dubbed Transparency Tiles earlier this week, as it’s used to re-create Tiles for your 8.1 Start screen for native and popular apps. On first release it covered just Xbox Games, Music and Video, but we told you more apps would be coming. Since that time, the app has had a few updates, with the latest just going live a few moments ago.

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One of the complaints cropping up with Windows Phone 8.1 was performance issues with the Xbox Games app. Like Xbox Video and Xbox Music, the Games hub is also no longer in the OS, but rather a separate, updatable app.

Some users recently complained that the app wouldn’t load their profile or worse, games would not populate. (We didn’t see it ourselves, but it was reported in our forums often enough).

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One of the more interesting side effects of constantly taking photos of your phone, especially during such a high profile week, is everyone is curious as to what app that is or where’d I get the background. They’re all fine inquiries, the challenge for me is trying to respond to every tweet, email, DM or comment here to satisfy everyone!

Hence this post. This is nothing more than me going: here is my wallpaper.

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In addition to hunting down hidden Easter eggs this weekend, you can save 20% and find new cases and accessories for your Windows Phones during our Store.WPCentral.com Easter Sale (now through 4/22). To take advantage of the savings, all you need to do is enter in coupon code HOP14 during the checkout process. FREE shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic US / Canada), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin!

We have tons of accessories in stock for the Nokia Lumia 1020, Nokia Lumia 1520, Microsoft Surface Pro 2, Nokia Lumia 2520 and more! Be sure to take advantage of the savings while they last. 

And for those of you taking a spare device along for the ride, don't forget the HOP14 coupon also works at the iMore StoreShopCrackBerry.com and our ShopAndroid Store. Your shopping cart will follow you through all four stores, so you can buy from all four stores and checkout once. 

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Top Star Wars Games for Windows Phone

Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Star Wars

There is little argument that the Star Wars franchise has had its fair share of success. From the movies to action figures to video games the Star Wars logo always seems to draw a crowd. I can remember watching the first installment, Episode IV: A New Hope, countless times in theaters and being amazed at the special effects (that seem to pale in comparison with what we have today).

This week we’re taking an easy approach to the roundup, focusing on the top Star Wars games (and a few apps) that are available for the Windows Phone platform. While Star Wars is a popular genre, its presence in the Windows Phone Store is a little on the thin side. There are some entertaining and challenging Star Wars games but some rather obvious omissions. Hopefully that will change.

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