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Plex coming to Xbox One

One of the cooler announcements from BUILD this year was the support for universal applications — software that can run on more than one Windows-powered device. It appears that Plex, the popular fork of the XBMC project, is going to take advantage of this and is coming to the Xbox One. Want to hear even better news? Since the Xbone can't yet run these apps, a stand-alone version is also coming as soon as it is ready!

Tyson Edwards, posting in the official Plex forums, broke the news:

I would like to make you all aware of some very exciting news...
Microsoft has approved the development of a Plex Client for Xbox One.
That is correct, we have been granted membership into ID@Xbox specifically for the development and eventual release of Plex for Xbox One.
This is in no way saying that it will be coming next week, or even next month, but starting tonight I will be applying my first test code to an Xbox One.
More details will be coming soon.
Thank you very much for your patience in this matter, and thank you very much for your support.

An official Dashboard update is expected soon that will allow universal applications to run on the Xbox One, and hopefully Plex will be ready with the universal app then. In the meantime, get ready for Plex on your Xbox One soon.

Via: TNW

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One particularly interesting talk out of Build showcased Microsoft’s plan to bring Windows Phone into the car with a new embedded software concept. The idea here will be to project the data from the phone onto the dash display in a usable, safe format, but as you can see, a lot of the Windows visual style is retained. This is great, considering most embedded car system interfaces (Microsoft’s included) are pretty ugly.

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The Xbox One we had heard about last month is apparently rolling out to select beta testers with some additional improvements. The big addition here is new controller firmware which stabilizes disconnection issues and improves headset audio quality. There's also a new online friends notification animation that looks a little like this.

Here's the full feature list according to the source. Have any of you guys got the update yet?

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We’ve just reviewed Airport City, the latest Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 release from international publisher Game Insight. Observant readers will notice a pattern with Game Insight’s mobile Windows releases: three out of their four games are pure city builders. The fourth game Rule the Kingdom is sort of a city builder/RPG hybrid.

Clearly city building is Game Insight’s specialty – these titles are doing very well for them on Windows Phone and Windows 8. But you do need something to differentiate one of these games from the crowd, especially when they all come from the same publisher. As luck would have it, Game Insight’s next title Cloud Raiders adds something really cool to the mix: fantasy-based strategic battles. Read on for exclusive news and impressions!

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Customizing your Windows Phone Lockscreen

Our Windows Phone lockscreen serves two purposes. It gives us an opportunity to glance at key information without having to unlock our Windows Phone and it affords us an opportunity to stylize our phone’s appearance.

Through the native lockscreen settings you have the ability to customize the wallpaper that will appear and tweak what bits of information will appear. In addition to the native Windows Phone lockscreen settings, there are plenty of apps available in the Windows Phone Store to let you customize your lockscreen further.

While this may be old hat to some, we’ll touch base on a few of the options available to customize your Windows Phone lockscreen after the break.

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"At least" five high-ranking executives from Samsung Telecommunications America have left or handed in their notice in the past two months, according to a report from CNET. The list of departing execs covers some individuals who were public faces for Samsung in addition to their strategic roles within the company, as well as those involved with some key mobile products and sales efforts.

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Support for Windows XP may be ending in just a few days, but that doesn't mean everyone has prepared themselves for a switch.

The U.K. government, in particular, has announced that a new agreement with Microsoft will get them continued support for the next 12 months while they continue to update their infrastructure to newer versions of the operating system. Of course, this comes at a cost — £5.5 million to be exact. This figure, while quite high, is small compared to the cost of updating all the various systems and training users, and would have been considerably higher had individual departments negotiated with Microsoft versus one grand agreement.

It's still a bitter pill to swallow when you see your tax dollars spent to support old IT, and we imagine a big push to move things over will be coming this year.

Source: Neowin

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With 12 million downloads Minecraft is now one of the most successful Xbox 360 games in history. Minecraft is incredibly popular, so that should come as no surprise. While Xbox 360 isn't the latest, greatest console from Microsoft — that honor belongs to the Xbox One — it still lives in many hearts and many homes. And that's not all, according to TechNet Blogs:

The "Minecraft" brain trust still has plenty of surprises in store for diehard "Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition" fans, including the April 18 release of the new Candy Texture Pack.

So, are you one of the 12 million? And if you're a hardcore Minecraft player, how does the Xbox 360 edition hold up?

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Facebook Beta was updated to version 5.2 today, bringing along some performance improvements and the ubiquitious bug fixes. Users on the beta track for Facebook can enjoy faster and more reliable notifications, as well as suport for additional languages.

Here's your full list of changes:

  • Faster and more reliable notifications
  • Toasts for Facebook chat
  • Redesigned primary tile
  • Redesigned secondary tiles for chat, events, groups, pages, and photo albums
  • Messaging improvements
  • Performance improvements
  • Support for additional languages

Check for your update or grab it from free from the Windows Phone Store.

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Our own Daniel Rubino is en route to Petaluma right now to join Leo Laporte, Paul Thurrott, and Mary Jo Foley for TWiT's Windows Weekly podcast. Build 2014 will no doubt be the subject of the show, along with Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 Update 1, and, of course, the brand new Lumia 630, Lumia 635, and Lumia 930 phones.

The show kicks off at 1pm PT, 4pm ET, 9pm BST so make sure you load it up and catch Daniel live with the Windows Weekly crew. This one is not to be missed!

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When it comes to video playback on Windows Phone, especially YouTube, things can get a little complicated. We won’t rehash the whole Google-Microsoft tiff over an official app again, but what we can share with you is some details about how Microsoft worked really hard on Windows Phone 8.1’s HTML5 video capability.

We recently spoke with a Microsoft Program Manager who worked on the IE 11 HTML5 audio/video features, including all the details of the modifications. They’re quite significant, and we’re confident that once you learn about them, you’ll be even more excited to pick up the 8.1 bits in the coming weeks.

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The new U.S. smartphone market share numbers for February 2014 from comScore show Android made a slight gain since last November. Android grew from 51.9 percent to 52.1, while Apple gained 0.1 percentage points to hit 41.3 percent. BlackBerry saw a dip, while Microsoft climbed ever so slightly to hit 3.4 percent market share.

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Windows Phone developers are poised to have happy days ahead. At Build 2014 Microsoft detailed plans to overhaul and improve much of the processes that have hindered development, including unifying apps across Windows 8.1 update 1 and Windows Phone 8.1, improved automated certification, and the ability to reply to user reviews in the Windows Phone Store.

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Nokia announced not only new hardware at Build this year, but also SensorCore for developers. This Software Development Kit enables developers to utilize sensors on a Lumia Windows Phone without sacrificing battery life a whole deal – perfect for health and fitness apps or services that rely on sensors for data.

How it all works is by using a new software solution to run at low power levels, but is also able to provide the data applications require when in use. The SDK and new software from Nokia essentially acts as a buffer of somewhat between the sensors and installed apps. While this won’t mean much to consumers, it’s progress for developers.

There’s a shortage of official support from vendors of fitness products (Fitbit to name but one), but this SDK will hopefully look to address issues with actual tracking apps, alongside improvements in Windows Phone such as Bluetooth 4.0 LE. It will aid said companies to create solutions with better power management. The low power capabilities of SensorCore will be available on the Lumia 1520, Lumia Icon and Lumia 930. Affordable hardware will also be included; the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635.

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Nokia has unveiled plans to push wireless charging heavily with the Lumia 930 launch. By this we mean the company will be bundling a free wireless charging accessory with each purchase. It’s a move we expected to see with future hardware since Microsoft joined the Wireless Power Consortium alongside Nokia and other companies.

The Lumia 930 has gone back to Nokia’s roots of including wireless charging inside the chassis itself, rather than requiring the consumer to purchase an optional case accessory. Conor Pierce, VP of Nokia UK & Ireland explained to a media briefing yesterday how the company was going to drive wireless charging, a more convenient option.

We expect the Lumia 930 to launch later this year.

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This is a rather weird story to read, but an interesting one nonetheless. Kirstoffer Von Hassel from San Diego in the US worked out how to log in to his father’s Xbox Live account without the correct password. Sounds like a serious security flaw, right?

Microsoft has since fixed the issue and added Von Hassel to its list of recognized security researchers. A five-year old. Expectedly, Von Hassel is both excited and grateful Microsoft took the time to acknowledge his contribution, as well as sending some free titles to use on the video game system.

How the young boy managed to bypass the security feature was by purposely entering an incorrect password, which would bring up a verification screen. He would then fill the password field up with spaces, leading the system to log into his father’s account. A simple, yet serious flaw.

"I got nervous. I thought he was going to find out," Von Hassel told the TV station KGTV, "I thought someone was going to steal the Xbox." The father sent in the flaw details to Microsoft, who later thanked the family by sending four free games, $50 gift card and a year subscription to Xbox Live.

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Top Baseball Apps for Windows Phone

Windows Phone Central App Roundup: Baseball Apps

Major League Baseball opened it’s 2014 Season this week and we would be remiss if we failed to present you with a roundup of the top Windows Phone apps for keeping up with America’s Past-time. These are dedicated Major League Baseball apps.

We’ve got four of the top apps in this week’s roundup that deliver stats, video highlights, player profiles, news from the baseball field and even streaming live video from games. And just to make sure all our bases are covered, we’ve got a short list of honorable mentions for you to consider as well.

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We know that Samsung is working on launching the ATIV SE on Verizon, but what about the rest of the world? SamMobile has reported that the manufacturer is actively developing another Windows Phone – the ATIV Core. It's believed to be a mid-range smartphone and will be a launching product for Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft's next major update for the platform.

The reason we're weighing something on this report is down to Samsung not missing out on a Windows Phone as of yet. The company has released a steady (albeit slow) flow of smartphones running Microsoft's mobile OS and the ATIV Core would fit in alongside the plethora of Nokia/Microsoft devices, joined by phones from newly announced partners.

The ATIV Core is said to have a 4.5-inch display (720p), 1GB RAM and be powered by a 2100mAh power plant. We're not sure about the report (take it with a grain of salt), but would you be interested in a mid-range Samsung Windows Phone 8.1 device?

Source: SamMobile

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Have you ever looked at your Samsung smartphone and thought "this could be more bendy!"? Well, this could become reality now the manufacturer has mastered the material graphene in the production process. Partnering up with Sungkyunkwan University, Samsung will reportedly be able to make thinner, lighter and more durable hardware.

If you’re not familiar with the material, graphene has high heat conduction and is more durable than steel, properties that are perfect for wearables and mobile devices. The only issue with the material was previous manufacturing methods reduced the electric benefits, which led the company to really dig deep and attempt to commercialize graphene.

"This is one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history," said the laboratory leaders at SAIT’s Lab. "We expect this discovery to accelerate the commercialization of graphene, which could unlock the next era of consumer electronic technology."

It sounds like a neat idea and we’ll surely look out for more graphene news.

Source: Samsung, via: Engadget

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We've heard of the past successes of the Windows Phone App Studio, but today Microsoft is announcing an update. The number 1 question has apparently been; what about Windows apps? Folks asking that need worry no longer and say hello to the unified Windows App Studio.

The beta release is available for use from today – see the source link down below for more – and allows you the ability to create a universal project resulting in both Windows Phone and Windows apps in the same session. Pretty nifty.

Also of note:

New in this release, we’ve added the ability to build a template that allows you to wrap a mobile website into an app, and add native controls, called a WebApp. By simply entering the URL of the mobile website, you can create a Web App Template (WAT) for Windows Phone. This option is currently not available for Windows apps.

You'll still be able to download your finished apps directly to your devices, as well as getting them in packaged and source code form if you should wish. And if you're wanting to publish your apps to the store, don't forget to register for a Developer account first. After the recent announcements at Build, this is good news to be hearing. Get to creatin'!

Source: Microsoft Windows App Studio Beta

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Having been leaked a bunch recently, Verizon has now made its latest Windows Phone 8 device official by putting the Samsung ATIV SE up for pre-order. The price? If you're buying without a contract you'll be looking at $599.99, which jumps down to $199.99 on a 2-year agreement. Verizon Edge customers get it for $25.22 a month. Better still, for a limited time you could actually get two of them on Verizon's buy one get one free promotion!

So, what are we actually, officially, getting for our money? Samsung hasn't left us wanting too much on the internals, for sure. Inside the Ativ SE is a 2.23GHz quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB on-board storage with support for microSD cards up to 64GB and a pair of cameras at 13MP round back and 2MP up front. All this beneath a 5-inch, 1080p resolution AMOLED display. Sounds pretty sweet.

Some other things to note. Availability looks locked to April 12 at the moment if you pre-order, and Verizon will ship it out with free overnight shipping. There's a bunch of Samsung specific stuff on the software front, including WatchON which interacts with your TV and acts as a remote control. ATIV Beam lets you share photos, videos and documents with NFC enabled Android smartphones, and Samsung Link connects compatible devices to let you get at all of your content from multiple locations.

Hit up the source link below if you're interested. Who's buying?

Source: Verizon

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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Folks who take advantage of their Surface Pro 2 for gaming are probably in the minority, but Microsoft is tossing up a pretty sweet deal for those who want to get a little more than just productivity done on the device. The Microsoft Store is offering up what it calls a "Geek & Sundry" bundle deal with the Surface Pro 2 that shaves over $100 off buying the tablet, an Xbox Wireless Controller for Windows and two game downloads — War Thunder Mustang Advanced Pack and Farming Simulator 2013 — all together.

Best of all the deal is available for any capacity of the Surface Pro 2 from 64GB up to 512GB (although it's currently out of stock), and there's no fancy rebate or anything to get the deal. Simply follow the source link below, select your Surface Pro 2 model and check the appropriate boxes to get your free Xbox Wireless Controller — your electronic receipt will have codes for the game downloads on it automatically.

This deal is live until May 1st as well if you need some more time to decide, but even if you don't need the games it's hard to turn down the value of the controller alone if you already plan buying a Surface Pro 2.

Source: Microsoft Store

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If you're looking for a new Windows Phone device but don't want to deal with the hassle of a contract, Microsoft has a few deals happening right now that you might be interested in. From now until April 7th, you can get $100 off the no contract price of select Windows Phones at Microsoft Store retail locations. Which devices are on sale you ask? Well, we've got the whole list for you.

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