Editorials

The HTC One M8 for Windows, currently only on Verizon, is expected to get a wider release in the coming weeks and months, including on AT&T in the US. As a result, a few of you are at least contemplating jumping from your Lumia to this new flagship Windows Phone, which looks to be the only one for the next few months. The hardware is certainly compelling and – spoiler alert – so far I am categorically enjoying using it as my daily driver.

However, you may be wondering what you lose by switching over in terms of those Nokia apps. I'll break it down for you.

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Dell XPS 15 review

Over the last few years, I have owned nearly a half dozen different Ultrabook PCs. Ultrabooks run in the 13-inch range, ditch the antiquated CD-ROM drives and aim for lean, light and yet powerful hardware. Combined with touchscreens, Windows 8 and the availability of high-resolution displays, Ultrabooks seemingly have everything a professional would desire. However, perhaps it is my age or just habit, but the 13-inch range of Ultrabooks just never felt ideal. Instead, their displays were just a smidgen too small, and the palm rests too shallow.

Then I discovered the Dell XPS 15 at my local Microsoft Store in Long Island, New York. The Dell XPS 15 is the laptop I have been waiting for, and I distinctly remember buying it five hours before my flight to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2014 on a whim. A few months on and this is my review.

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This week, the Surface 2 is getting its price chopped by $100 officially, and even more if you opt for an official refurbished one. With Microsoft's sale, it brings the 32 GB version down to $349, and the refurbed at a very affordable $279 (while supplies last). Even the LTE-enabled style is discounted by $100, and it comes with 64 GB of internal storage.

So, with all the focus and hype on the Surface Pro 3, why should you even consider getting a Surface 2? Glad you asked because I have a few reasons.

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The best Windows Phone you can buy - August 2014

Last December we looked at the best Windows Phone you could buy, concluding that the Nokia Lumia 925 was the top choice for Windows Phone shoppers. The svelte profile, sexy looks, and beautiful display make the Lumia 925 one of our favorite Windows Phones. However, it's hard to recommend buying it brand new today when it's well over a year old at this point. So it is time to refresh on our best Windows Phone recommendations.

Today we're going to look at the Windows Phone landscape and select the best Windows Phone you can buy right now.

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Earlier this morning, the Nokia Developer Team tweeted out some information regarding developer devices getting Lumia Cyan. The Lumia 920 is now getting Lumia Cyan, with the Lumia 620 getting it next week and the Lumia 820 in early September. Good news, right?

Unfortunately, a few fan blogs took this news to mean that phones enrolled with the Preview for Developers program are now getting the Lumia Cyan update, which is far from accurate.

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Today's announcements from Microsoft at Gamescom have been pretty exciting for console gamers. We saw the announcement of a brand new theme park simulator, ScreamRide, for Xbox One and 360, as well as fresh looks at several upcoming Xbox One games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection. And hey, Quantum Break looked pretty exciting in motion to boot.

But the real bombshell of the presentation was the news that Rise of the Tomb Raider from Square-Enix and Crystal Dynamics will be exclusive to Xbox One in 2015! Tomb Raider has been a mainstay gaming series since the Playstation One and Sega Saturn days, with this year's HD remake of the Tomb Raider reboot gracing both Xbox One and Playstation 4. But the sequel Rise won't show up on the Playstation 4, giving Microsoft a big peacock of a feather in its cap.

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Editor's rant here! I realize that there is a lot of news and buzz about Windows Phone these days, which is always a good thing. I also appreciate that our audience is growing every day, and we welcome you warmly.

Comments are a crucial aspect of our community. The fact is you folks are often our connection to the rest of the world. If we miss something, or get something wrong, we love learning more from you in those posts, as you are a valuable resource too. As our site grows, there are more challenges for us to face including moderating comments. A few solutions are due in the coming weeks, but for now, here are a few guidelines that can keep your fellow WPCentral readers happy.

It is time to lay down the law and for you to eat your veggies or something.

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Okay, that headline is a tad misleading as trading in a MacBook Air for a Surface Pro 3, especially one with the coveted Core i7 processor, is far from 1:1 value. Still, I did bring in my MacBook Air (2011) to see how the process went, and I managed to pick up that Core i7 Surface Pro 3 with 256 GB of storage.

Here is how it all went.

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It is Friday, and as we all eagerly wait for the Xbox Music app update (fingers crossed), we figured it is time for our weekly poll.

This week's poll is a hot topic: Cortana and local accents.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that Cortana is heading to China and the UK as 'betas.' This expansion means they work, but they are missing some features too, which is not controversial. What is controversial is the choice for voicing.

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Looking to get your kid a cellphone? Skip the feature phone and give them a smartphone, but not just any smartphone – a Windows Phone. It's an amazing platform with a handful of models that make it the ideal first smartphone. Here's why I think your kid's first phone should be Windows Phone.

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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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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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On Friday, Windows Phone Central broke the news about 'McLaren' being cancelled by Microsoft. Not much was known about the flagship Windows Phone except it was to feature the first instance of Microsoft's new 3D Touch UI. Although prototype phones likely get cancelled on occasion, the absence of McLaren causes a potential problem: what is going to the next Windows Phone flagship for the fall?

With the lack of high-end, high-profile Windows Phones for this November Microsoft may be in a bind. However, there may be a way out, and that involves making an updated Lumia 925.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent around an email to employees last week. For those reading between the lines it was a clear message that job cuts were coming. Today they made it official. Microsoft will cut up to 18,000 jobs in the coming months.

I think he's doing what needs to be done, and I suspect this will setup Microsoft to be more successful in mobile and cloud services.

I've been following the technology sector for a long time. Usually when a company announces major job cuts it means they are in trouble, but it would be a sweeping generalization to say this is always the case. I remember when BlackBerry (then Research In Motion) announced a significant round of cuts back in the early 2000s. Analysts and investors freaked out. But in reality the company was just cleaning house as it prepared for even faster growth. The business went on to hit incredible new highs. Job cuts are not always a bad sign.

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Before the formal debut which is planned for September this year, Microsoft and its Chinese joint-venture partner BesTV just brought the Chinese version of Xbox One to China International Cartoon & Game Expo (July 10 - 14, in Shanghai), for a brief demonstration. A quite lengthy commercial for the console was revealed, highlighting the Chinese Xbox One's, um, for lack of better words, let's say "highly localized functionality and marketing strategy".

Here is the video itself, in Chinese, for your enjoyment. There are English subtitles, but sadly they are blocked by all those human heads. I'll try to explain what exactly happened in the video below.

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Eight months on and the Lumia 1520 is still my daily Windows Phone and that's weird

There is little doubt that I live a abnormal life when it comes to smartphones and mobile technology. At last count, I have over 50 smartphones dating back to 2006 and every Windows Phone made in the last three years. Combined with the rapid release of Lumias – with occasional releases from Samsung – and I have plenty of choices to use every day.

That is why it is surprising (to myself at least) that eight months after its release I am still using the Lumia 1520 as my daily driver. To put it another way, this is my longest streak in using a single Windows Phone since probably the original Samsung Focus. Although for regular folks, using a phone for eight months uninterrupted is the norm, for me, it is the exception. For that reason, here is why I still love the Lumia 1520.

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