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Nokia has done direct marketing and sales in Europe but never in the US

From a new job posting that was sent in to Windows Phone Central, it appears that Nokia will be hiring folks from November 12th through December 31st to work in direct retail situations in mall kiosks and shops in the US.

The job requests are smartly being targeted at colleges where students could surely use the extra money and who would be more familiar with the nomenclature. We’re actually a bit excited to see this as it ties in nicely with Microsoft’s own Holiday stores and kiosks that are appearing in malls across the country.

The jobs are part-time or full-time, pay between $15-17 an hour with a completion bonus on hand. Candidates are to have past retail experience, a knowledge of technology and of course passion for the job.

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When the Nokia Lumia 920 specifications hit last month, the rather large battery (2000mAh) was touted as one of the main features, resulting in supposed “all day use”. That’s especially important for consumers on such a powerhouse of a phone since it has all of those bells and whistles on board.

The AT&T version has recently been posted on Nokia’s site and it has some updated specifications from the global version, including some new battery times. The bad news is they have been slightly marked down for the massive 4G network, most likely due to some carrier requirements resulting in some firmware changes in addition to that super fast LTE network.

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With yesterday’s announcement of the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 coming to AT&T, the word that caught our eye and yours was “exclusive”. Even Rogers is now in on the "exclusive" action. The term was applied to both Lumia devices, although as pointed out in our forums, the 820’s exclusiveness to AT&T was dropped from Nokia’s site later in the day. 

The tech’o’sphere has responded quite negatively to the news if only because the Lumia 920 has built up such demand that many people are cheering for its success. That success though depends on how many people can actually buy it, which in turn translates into carrier availability. If the Lumia 920 is only available on 1 of 4 major US carriers, well that’s certainly less people than had it been on two or three carriers. A pretty obvious impact.

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WPCentral's Roundup of Navigation Apps

One of the many ways your Windows Phone can be useful is to help us find our way. Whether it's finding the local pizza joint or finding you way to your vacation spot, there are plenty of navigational apps available at the Windows Phone Store. These apps are more than capable of being your co-pilot as you make your rounds on the highways and motorways.

Nokia Lumia Windows Phone owners have the benefit of Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive to help get them around but what about apps for other Windows Phones? We have pulled the top five paid navigation apps from the Windows Phone Store for this week's roundup.

Each of these apps have trial versions that will let you try things out before buying and they cover a wide range of pricing. Should you're favorite navigation app fall outside the top five, feel free to share your choice in the comments below.

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We’ve seen the numerous “shake” tests of the Lumia 920’s PureView camera and this one is no different, (and we have to admit that the Nokia staff are getting very adept at phone jostling).

In the video above you can see the camera being shaking quite vigorously with the resulting image in the LCD also wiggling. But as soon as that shutter button is pressed halfway engaging the optical-image stabilization (OIS), the image steadies itself instantly.

The whole notion of wrapping the camera mechanism with mini-springs and managing to squeeze that into a phone is quite an achievement from Nokia. Of course, we can’t wait to get it in our hands to give it a go because that camera is the real deal.

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Besides the Nokia offerings from AT&T tonight, there were also a few Windows 8 tablets on hand including the stylish Samsung ATIV.

The ATIV Tablet features a whopping 11.6" HD display with an Intel Atom dual-core CPU (Intel Clover Trail 1.5 GHz). That display makes it a little bit big but not bad by any means. It just feels long especially since the iPad has set the parameters for more square-ish offerings.

Having said that, the ATIV Tablet is really nice—just a solid machine that’s feels great to hold. It was super fast too, blasting through Windows 8 apps like it was a on a desktop PC. And with 64GB of on board memory, SD expansion and ports galore in addition to the dual front and rear cameras, there is really nothing it can't do.

If the Windows 8 Pro is your angle for a tablet, take a good look at the Samsung ATIV when it hits in November.

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As you may have heard, AT&T today announced the Nokia Lumia 920 coming “in November” to the carrier. The phone will feature numerous colors including matte-black, yellow, red, white and of course cyan.

We know many of you have been wondering if the cyan is glossy or matte and the answer is the latter. Yup, it’s the same type of finish at the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900.

We’ll process some photos in a bit of our hands on but we will say this: the Lumia 920 did not at all feel too big or heavy. In fact, we barely noticed it. Our conclusion is that a lot of the concern over the size of the phone is completely unwarranted. In fact, with the smooth roundness of the back and the curved screen, we like it better than the current 900 design, which feels blocky by comparison. 

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It has been speculated for some time now that Microsoft would hold a special press event for Windows Phone 8 to finally show off the OS and sure enough, it has come true.

On Monday, October 29th at 10AM, Microsoft will show off to the world their new mobile OS originally codenamed ‘Apollo’.

The announcement is coming just days before the first expected availability of new Windows Phone 8 devices, thought to be occurring on November 4th.

Windows Phone Central will of course be there in sunny San Francisco to cover the event and bring you all the news as it happens. Then we're off to BUILD 12 the very next day.

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They may be small, but they're pretty

Although Microsoft has been opening quite a few full-fledged retail Stores over the past few months, the last time we counted there are still less than 30 nationwide. Microsoft’s solution for this, albeit temporary, is to open mini “Holiday Stores” in malls and shops across the country.

While we don’t know the range for these little popups meaning if some will be big and some tiny, we do know they will look quite nice. Case in point are these two photos from the Galleria mall in St. Louis, where we can see two Microsoft kiosks being prepped for the 26th.

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AT&T and the Lumia 920: coming soon, we swear

Recently we wrote about October 21st as being an important date for the Lumia 920 and AT&T. At the time, the info coming out strongly indicated that this was the release window which AT&T was aiming for (even though it raised a lot of eyebrows).

The problem always had been that Microsoft publicly has not unveiled all of Windows Phone 8 yet and when they do, it’s not expected until the end of October. That makes selling a phone before that time, well, odd.

We now have some new information that sheds light on the issue and it falls back on our previous theory. Here are the latest timeframes we know regarding AT&T’s planned Lumia 920 launch. The info once again comes directly though a highly placed source at AT&T.

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This week’s Xbox Windows Phone release is a title we didn’t know was coming, but it comes from fan favorite publisher Chillingo and sells for a low price, so let’s call it a good surprise. Extraction (also known as Extraction: Project Outbreak) is now available for just 99 cents – less than the iOS version!

As the game’s title sort of hints, Extraction is a military-themed game about fighting zombies. But unlike Zombies on the Phone or Gun Bros, it’s not a twin-stick shooter. In fact, you could almost call it a strategy game due to the unique control method. Don’t skip the tutorial like I did or you’ll be totally lost.

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(Concept Surface phone by YrOnimuS)

Yesterday we wrote a fairly lengthy article about a new rumor of a Microsoft Windows Phone. The source came via China Times and we were hesitant to believe the claim—after all, no evidence or sources were mentioned.

Still, we pointed out that Microsoft is a large company with a ton of resources. If they wanted to do a phone, they most certainly could pull it off and the Surface Tablets only reinforce the notion that they can do this in secret.

So what has changed? Information has come forward to Windows Phone Central that demonstrates Microsoft does have their own Windows Phone hardware in the works; in fact, we’ve heard it already exists and is in testing. The source(s) are known to us and not anonymous, though for obvious reasons we must keep them off the record.

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New, crisp, clean website designs are just a start

Microsoft has been busy launching new services, designs for established properties, and keeping a number of secrets under wraps in the run up to the eventful weeks ahead. We've been looking forward to this part of 2012 as it'll be when Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Surface tablets, Office, new Xbox update, and - of course - Halo 4. 

We've already seen Microsoft go big with the launch Outlook.com to replace the aging Live / Hotmail email service, but the software giant has revealed plans to apply changes across the board. Yesterday we covered a detailed blog post that walked readers through the new design that'll be applied to the MSN portal later this month - changes have been applied to Microsoft web properties, including the official website as well as the home of Visual Studio (see above).

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Concept Surface phone (Image via Jonas-Daehnert)

It has been a few months since we last heard anything about Microsoft making its own Windows Phone again, so it looks like we’re about due.

A new “report” from the not so trusty China Times straightforwardly states that Microsoft will have its own Windows Phone launch sometime in early 2013 and that they’ve been working on it with a hardware partner for the last four months.

Evidence? Sources? Who needs those things on the internet!

However, some of our readers have asked to weigh in on the matter so instead of just ignoring this story (what we would prefer to do) we’ll give our thoughts on it. Obviously, with our snarky “who needs sources” banter above, you can get a feel for what side we come down on this topic.

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We had already created a comparison guide for the higher end Windows 8 devices but many requested a complete guide that included the HTC 8S and Lumia 820.

The specs guide is not designed to be exhaustive but should cover the key differentiators between models. We have the visual guide for comparing the devices by size included below as well should make the decision of what to go for even easier. 

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The other day we saw the Nokia Lumia 920 out and about in Washington, presumably being tested one way or another. Now it's the HTC Windows Phone 8X's turn.

Reader Rodrigo L. spied this interesting setup in downtown San Francisco this past Thursday morning.  From the photo we can see three HTC 8Xs and what appears to be an older Samsung make (kudos to the first of you who figure it out).

If we had to guess, this looks to be carrier testing with perhaps different variations on radio software for signal strength testing. We suppose it could also be for static photo taking but we're leaning on the first idea instead. 

Any carrier testers out there want to lend a hand on telling us what's going? Sound off in comments. Either way, only 4-5 more weeks before we're rumored to be able to grab this phone on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. 

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HTC testing the FF camera on the 8X

When we had our hands on with the HTC 8X a few weeks ago, we were able to test the camera and noted at the time that it was extremely quick (due to the dedicated image chip). Since then, some sample images of the rear 8MP shooter have come forth and they look really good for a modern smartphone.

Over on the official HTC Blog, they posted an interview with HTC product planner Anthony Rutter focusing on the HTC 8X and 8S. While most of the info in the interview is quite basic for our readers e.g. the new Live Tile system in Windows Phone 8, they did post a single image of the front-facing camera.

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Users are being told to 'update' only to go back to Adobe's ugly past

We’ve reported on some issues with the Windows Phone Store lately, including oddities with updates. And just a few days ago Microsoft said they had started to roll out some fixes to improve things. We’re not sure if that has anything to do with Adobe’s “issue” here but it is coincidental.

Now, users are being prompted for an update to the app—we had ours this morning. The problem is if you scroll down through the notes, you’ll see the version is listed as 9.0. That’s a downgrade from the “new” 10.1 that was rolled out three weeks ago. In fact, a recent update (v10.1.1) was pushed to users though we have no idea what the changelog was for, but presumably it may have been the start of this recent update error.

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In case you missed it, Electronic Arts’ Tetris recently dropped to $2.99 (AKA the maximum price it ever should’ve cost). That’s all well and good, but how about a price drop on something today’s gamers really want to play? That’s just what developer Press Play and Microsoft have given us, as Tentacles now costs only 99 cents.

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This morning in the Walt Whitman Mall located in Huntington Station, New York (that’s Long Island), Microsoft finally threw open their doors to a few hundred willing and able customers to their new retail Store.

We were there to cover it all and the mood was very exciting as Microsoft’s pre-show gave away a Samsung Series 9 laptop, Xbox 360 with Kinect and some other goodies to some lucky folks. The line to get in the store lasted well into 30 minutes post opening and the staff on hand did an excellent job.

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