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Modern Combat 5 is the latest in a long series of high-quality first person shooter games from Gameloft. The whole Modern Combat series shamelessly riffs on popular shooter franchises like Call of Duty, and has been doing so well before official mobile counterparts for those games were made.

By and large, Modern Combat 5 is lock in step with Modern Combat 4. It boasts bar-setting graphics, rich multiplayer, familiar experience and achievement progression, a dazzling array of weapon customization, and top-notch voice acting. That's great and all, but there is one distinct difference in Modern Combat 5 which could easily stand as the sole selling point: there are zero in-app purchases.

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Vodafone has announced on its support website that the Lumia 925 will be receiving the Lumia Cyan + Windows Phone 8.1 combo update starting tomorrow, July 25. From 2am AEST, the mobile operator will be starting the update roll-out, meaning the Windows Phone owners will be able to enjoy the latest OS features as they surface for the new day (unless there are any night owls reading).

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Not happy with the Xbox Music platform? Take Beats Music or Spotify for as spin.

Xbox Music. It's more than just the app you love to hate right now on Windows Phone 8.1. It's also a music streaming and subscription service that spans nearly every device you own. It's available on Windows Phone, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, and the web. Xbox Music is the successor to the beloved Zune platform.

Right now I'm still happy with the overall Xbox Music service, even though I think there are a handful of ways Microsoft could greatly improve the service. That said, I acknowledge that the Windows Phone 8.1 app is still pretty bad. Though the Windows 8 app was terrible at one point, but now I'm very happy with it on Windows 8.1. So there's hope.

I've been getting a lot of questions about what are some other solid music streaming and subscription services available as an alternative to Xbox Music. I'm going to look at some of those alternatives to Xbox Music that make the most sense to those with a Windows Phone.

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Earlier this week we announced that the long-awaited Modern Combat 5: Blackout would be launching on mobile Windows platforms on the same day-and-date as the Android and iOS versions. In the past, Gameloft titles typically arrived on Windows Phone months or even years later than other platforms (just look at Real Soccer!). This year, long-awaited titles like Heroes of Order & Chaos and Order & Chaos Duels finally came over, and new titles will release at the same time as they do on competing platforms. Progress!

Modern Combat 5 is now available on Windows Phone as promised (the Windows 8 version should arrive later today). The Windows Phone version requires at least 1 GB of RAM. Top-end 3D graphics need plenty of memory in order to function, which shouldn't surprise anybody. None of the versions support Xbox Live, something we all should have gotten over a year ago. The game rings up at $6.99 – a fair price for a full console-quality campaign and extensive online multiplayer. Oh, and it supports Moga controllers!

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Razer has confirmed that its up and coming Nabu wearable will integrate with the WeChat messaging service. Not only that, but there's a mention of possible Windows Phone support. The wearable is attempting to bind together both the smartwatch and fitness band, offering consumers a single product to carry out multiple tasks. The band itself is set to debut in China, before heading to the US and other targeted markets. As previously touched on, the retail price is expected to be less than $100.

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New Lumia 530 forums now open!

The Windows Phone Central forums are the absolute best place in the world to talk, share, and experience the Windows Phone and Microsoft community. Today Microsoft announced the Lumia 530! We've already got forums and threads aplenty set up for your discussion pleasure. Jump in now and let us know your take on today's announcement!

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Yesterday we saw Cortana get updated on the background with a few changes or Windows Phone 8.1. If you went into Cortana's Interests you'd see a local events finder. Microsoft stated that they'd be updating Cortana every few weeks. Today some users see a few more categories under the Interest's section – recommendations for nearby places and local apps.

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AT&T had a great quarter that was driven by the addition of 2 million new users to its wireless and wireline businesses. Combined with the rest of its operations, the carrier reported that revenues were up 1.6 percent, meaning that it took in $32.6 billion. The carrier noted a higher $1 billion operating expense compared to a year ago at $27 billion giving it an operating income of $5.6 billion.

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Facebook has just reported its Q2 2014 earnings, showing growth in revenues, income and user numbers. As for the financials, Facebook saw a 61 percent jump in revenue over Q2 2013 to $2.91 billion, with net income also jumping to $791 million, a boost of 139 percent over last year. Operating income, operating margin and EPS were all up substantially from last year.

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Uber officially returns to Windows Phone

Welcome Uber back to Windows Phone. The official Uber app for Windows Phone was first launched in March 2013 but pulled from the Window Phone Store a month later in April. That first app wasn't anything to write home about and customers complained enough that it was removed. Now Uber is back.

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Track Runner is one of the best running apps for Windows Phone, and it keeps getting better. The app picked up a huge version 3.0 update in early June that added adaptive interval training, a pacer, an improved user interface and support for Windows Phone 8.1. Fast forward to today and we're now looking at version 4.0 in the Windows Phone Store. Let's check it out this killer update that adds Bluetooth 4.0 heart rate monitor support and more.

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In the past few months, my family has been really busy fixing up stuff around the house. In addition to watching a lot of DIY videos on Youtube and getting inspired by TV shows on the HGTV channel (hgtv.com), we've also been looking at Houzz (houzz.com) for design ideas. If you're looking to renovate your house or simply want to browse beautiful home photos, then you should check out the Houzz app for Windows Phone.

We've installed Houzz on our Nokia Lumia 930. Head past the break to watch our hands-on video.

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First look at Poki 2.0 for Windows Phone 8.1

First look at the next big update for Poki. The refinement of an already beautiful app.

Ask me my favorite app on Windows Phone, and I might reply Poki. It's a third-party Pocket client for Windows Phone that I really like. Pocket is the service where you can save articles to read later and offline. They don't have an official app on Windows Phone yet, but that doesn't matter at all since we've got a healthy selection of apps for Pocket from the Windows Phone dev community. Poki just happens to be the one I use daily. It's also getting a big update in the near future. Here's a sneak preview of Poki 2.0 for Windows Phone.

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Starting at 1 PM ET today, Verizon Wireless has started rolling out the previous 1028.3566.1417.0047 firmware for their Lumia Icon owners. The update is not Lumia Cyan. Instead, this update came out in May for those running Windows Phone 8.0, but for customers who opted into the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers, they did not receive the bug fixing firmware. Instead, they either had to downgrade and get the update or wait.

Now, Verizon is letting those on the 8.1 Preview update as well.

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Readers of this site know that Microsoft's Xbox Music and Video are good services at their core, but many speed bumps keep them from reaching their potential. Whether it is stiff competition from Amazon and Apple or an awkward software experience, the Microsoft teams behind both services have their work cutout for them. Toss in the rebuilding attempts at the Xbox Music app for Windows Phone 8.1, and many consumers are left frustrated.

In yesterday's earnings call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella dropped a strong, but subtle, hint that Xbox Music and Video may be on the chopping block.

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For today only, buy the BodyGuardz UltraTough Clear ScreenGuardz for Nokia Lumia 1520 and save 44%

These bad boys are not just your average protectors; they're made from the same material used to shield the front of vehicles from abrasive elements and provide unmatched scratch protection. Ultra thin and optically clear, the UltraTough ScreenGuardz are virtually indestructible. Includes 2 per pack.

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