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Our online poll suggests Samsung has done well but still has to win over many

Yesterday during the IFA trade show in Berlin, Samsung surprisingly unveiled the first Windows Phone 8 device for 2012—the ATIV S—to mostly cheers and approvals from current and prospective Windows Phone users.

In an online 24-hour poll conducted yesterday here at Windows Phone Central, nearly 4,000 respondents (cookie and IP locked) responded to Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy S3 clone for Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 8 OS.

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We just received our email notification from Microsoft about the soon-to-happen changeover from Zune Pass/Zune Music to Xbox Music. While most of the features seem to remain, including being locked in your $10 or $15 a month subscriptions (the latter for old school users), there are some significant changes that we’re not exactly too excited about.

The changes are due to rollout August 31st, leaving little time to adjust to those new adjustments. The features that we will be losing in a few days are the following...

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Unity as a company has one mission: help games developers be more successful. Unity is one of the top game development platforms, routinely seen powering the biggest games on a multitude of platforms such as Castle Warriors, Battle Bears, Max & the Magic Marker, CSR Racing, Temple Run and Shadowgun and now its the turn of Windows Phone to get in on the Unity action.

We recently sat down with CEO of Unity Technologies, David Helgason--freshly back from Unite 12--to hear why they are betting on Windows Phone 8 and why it is good news for developers and gamers alike. 

David tells us right off that they want to bring Unity to the platforms that matter most. Surprisingly their decision to bring Unity to Windows Phone was driven by an upwelling of requests from developers...

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Tell us your secrets, O fair maiden!

This morning we awoke to yet-another Nokia video, teasing us that things are about to change. You have to give the Finnish company credit—even as Samsung is unveiling their new flagship phone, they know how to keep “Nokia” in the news.

Many people were befuddled at the short clip, which shows a woman with carefree abandon riding a bicycle down a road, mugging for the camera. It’s whimsical, cute and frankly it makes little sense for a smartphone ad...

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The ATIV-S from Samsung featuring Windows Phone 8

Looks like Microsoft wanted to break the news of the new Samsung ATIV-S Windows Phone 8 device as Ben Rudolph just posted his thoughts on the new phone, being unveild today at IFA.

The specs for the device are exactly as reported earlier with the addition of GorillaGlass 2 and either 16GB or 32GB models, both with expandable storage via microSD…

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Let's file this under "rumors" for the time being. We know Microsoft doesn't have a great track record of keeping secrets, and China has been one major source of leaks. Combine the two factors, here comes another interesting leak.

The chaps at WPDang, the Chinese Windows Phone site who has been reasonably accurate on Microsoft leaks, state that the Redmond gang will be releasing the final version of Kinect for Windows SDK around September 15. Interesting timing, right after the Windows Phone 8 launch, and before the holy coming of Windows 8. What's most amusing is that according to WPDang's sources, Windows Phone division is involved in the development of Kinect for Windows SDK too...

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Getting updates on Windows Phone 7 so far has been a mixed bag for consumers. On the one end, they’re basically simple, universal OS patches in the form of CAB files, allowing even early prototype phones to keep upgrading, years after release.

On the other end, they’ve been just awful due to the lack of carrier support in actually rolling them out to end-users. The process is still much better than whatever Android has to offer but it still pales compared to the iPhone in many ways.

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Microsoft themselves didn’t have as much of a presence at Casual Connect Seattle this year as we would’ve liked, but they did stage a fascinating presentation on the effects that switching to Xbox Live has had on popular free word game Wordament. We all know Xbox Live has helped Wordament become more popular, but the specific benefits and results of the switch are extremely encouraging and could have wide-ranging effects on future Windows Phone games.

Windows Phone Central has the full presentation video to share, plus a detailed summary and anaylsis. Check it out after the break.

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GroupMe v3.5 looking good

Although there aren’t many new major apps to announce for Windows Phone yet this week, two big titles just received some updates and one has some major changes.

First up is Audible, one of the more requested apps that took a long time to get to Windows Phone. It has now hit version 1.3 as of today. Unfortunately that is about all we can tell you at this point as there was no accompanying changlog. That’s not the first time Audible has done such and update.

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Windows Phone Central's Roundup of Hurricane Apps

We've touched on Windows Phone apps to help everyone stay up on Hurricanes at the start of Hurricane Season back in May. With Tropical Storm Isaac brewing in the Caribbean we thought it would be a good time to revisit the Hurricane app roundup.

These Windows Phone apps keep you informed of the tropical systems as they develop into hurricanes, monitor the storms track, help you weather out the storm, and monitor any systems that may follow Isaac.  So far this season tropical activity has been light and hopefully it will continue to be quiet once Isaac passes.

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Windows Phone Central's Football App Roundup

Football season is upon us and there are plenty of Windows Phone apps to help bring all the gridiron action to our phones. Sure, you have sports apps such as ESPN and Score Mobile that will bring your all the scores, news and videos from the sports world but what about those that just focus on football?

We've collected a handful of apps that place football center stage. We've got a few professional football apps and a few college oriented apps for those who prefer the NCAA over the NFL. We even toss in a football app for those who see football in a different light.

As always, if you have a favorite football app that didn't make it to the roundup, sound off in the comments section and share.

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Flat or curved for the Phi--Why not both?

Although details are not confirmed and scarce at this point, many in our audience are asking and debating if the new Lumia phone headed to AT&T, codenamed ‘Phi’ has a curved screen or not.

For some, the Lumia 800’s curved glass was the pinnacle of design and elegance. Indeed, it does feel exceptionally nice in the hand both for holding and swiping across the screen. When the Lumia 900 forgo this detail, some were disappointed as the 900 instead has a completely flat screen with a raised edge.

What many in our audience may not know is that Nokia actually gave an official reason for this design change on the 900 during a Q&A sessions on their blog...

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We're back for another exciting chat on all things Windows Phone. This week we catch up with Rafael, Jay and myself for the last two-weeks of exciting Windows Phone news including a Verizon Nokia phone, Sprint going on hiatus, what September 5th will bring and the disappointing Sally's Spa. Tune in as we agree and disagree plus take your questions.

HD video and show notes after the break...

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As expected, the Xbox Live for Windows Phone game Shoot 1UP landed in the Marketplace this morning. The vertically scrolling shoot-em up game from Mommy's Best Games and Microsoft Studios was first spotted at E3 and made a nice first impression.

Shoot 1UP's claim to fame is that unlike other shoot-em up games where you battle the enemy with one ship, Shoot 1UP allows players to build up groups of ships to take on the enemy at the same time. Instead of earning extra lives, you earn extra ships.

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Finally coming this fall?

Bloomberg is going on record tonight claiming that Verizon will launch a new Windows Phone 8 device this year from Nokia. The online news site generally has a strict policy on reporting these types of stories, lending a lot of credence to its trust-worthiness (81% on Tracour)—that and of course it’s basically what we’re expecting to hear.

News that Verizon will be launching a Nokia Windows Phone is not very shocking—in fact, it may have been more news if they weren’t at this point. Verizon was critical of Windows Phone for not having LTE early on and then evidently they caught wind of the Windows Phone 7 phase-out with new, more powerful ‘Apollo’ devices.

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Good night, sweet prince: HTC Arrrive 2011-2012

We reported a few weeks ago that Sprint threw down the flag on the venerable HTC Arrive, giving the device end-of-life (EOL) status.  Now tonight, we can sadly report that Sprint has all but wiped the device from its online site, making the Arrive officially a has-been. Store availability is expected to be very limited with only replacement devices available for order.

Launched in March 2011 the Arrive was Sprint’s only Windows Phone offered on the CDMA network and the only other Windows Phone with a horizontal physical keyboard (the other being the LG Quantum), carving itself a nice little niche for itself. Though slightly bulky with an underwhelming LCD screen (as was common with Gen 1 devices), the phone has a loyal following and some of the highest satisfaction ratings from customers...

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Your honor, we present Exhibit A

Today are the closing arguments in the highly watched Apple versus Samsung patent trial, meaning there is a lot of ‘Law & Order’ type drama occurring. Or at least that’s what we like to believe in reading the many live-blogs that are covering the case right now.

Probably one of the most entertaining moments came from Apple’s lawyers who were presenting their final case to the jury. At around 1:38 PM PT their lawyer, Harold McElhinny, evidently held up a unspecified Nokia Lumia Windows Phone and exclaimed...

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The Nokia PureView 808

It’s a big question whether or not Nokia’s upcoming lineup will feature any PureView technology in it. While it’s nice to dream of a 41MP camera alongside Windows Phone 8, we’re holding down our excitement until we learn more because so far we have seen little to make us believe otherwise.

Now, the Nokia team (via Twitter) have teased users with the following exchange between themselves and Philip G. He was asking and hoping for some PureView love in the next Lumia series form Nokia. Nokia replied with the following:

“Just keep your eyes and ears open in the next coming weeks....”

That certainly seems like a reference to the joint Microsoft announcement that Nokia is hosting in a few weeks here in New York.  From our own sources, we’ve been leaning towards no PureView device this time but instead slightly further down the road, as Nokia plans to release numerous Windows Phones over the next year.

With Nokia’s tweet though, we could be looking at something sooner. But the question for us is What is PureView exactly?

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Another Monday, another questionable story about marketshare and smartphones is making its way around the tech blogs. This one centers on data collected by StatCounter, a site that collects data usage on browsing habits. They claim to gather data on more than 3 million websites and 15 billion page views per month, making them one of the largest aggregating companies around.

Recently, WMPoweruser ran a story that looked at browser data for RIM versus Windows Phone in the United States. Assuming all the respective trajectories stay on the same course, it looks like Windows Phone may overtake RIM sometime in November of this year. But is that the whole story?

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