Windows Phone News

UK residents wanting to join the Internet of Things have looked to thermostat maker Heatmiser recently. The company has a variety of products, including multiple thermostat models, which connect and talk to one another. You can also control these thermostats with a handful of mobile apps. We told you guys and girls that Heatmiser UK was looking for beta testers for an upcoming Windows Phone app. Now the company is showing off that app on their blog. Here’s your first look.

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Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1 is garnering plenty of praise for for its ease of use, personality, and features, but now it's time for some of that personalization magic to make its way to Bing.com with the addition of interests. After being booted off the search key on Windows Phone devices by Cortana, Bing is getting personalized updates that tap into the power of the web. And it's a simple as clicking a star to register your interest.

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The more we use Windows Phone 8.1, the more we discover such as the changes to our call history. For starters, we now have a Speed Dial page that sits alongside the History and Voice Mail pages. You also have the ability to pull up call details that reveal the date, time and duration of the calls.

Finally, the History page now groups calls from the same caller, based on the date, to avoid repetition. For example if Rich had called my Windows Phone four times today, the history would display “Rich Edmonds (4)” instead of four entries for those calls.

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Windows Phone 8.1, released yesterday through the Preview for Developer program, sure has a lot of new features. We tried to document most, if not all, of those in our colossal review/overview of the OS, but as suspected some items will fall through the cracks.

Reader of the site Nicholas M. brought to our attention that 8.1 not only has independent volume levels for Ringer + Notifications versus Media + Apps, but also a separate volume slider for headphones. We looked into the finding and also discovered that there’s a fourth volume slider, one for Bluetooth.

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Cortana is full of personality (maybe not as much as Arsenio might like you to think), and the developers that built out the assistant's library of responses were sure to build in some good doses of self referential humor. A lot of times what a tool really needs to do to connect with users is put a smile on the user's face. And what's not to love about Clippy?

Wait, Clippy?

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Back in late February Microsoft announced that nine new OEMs would be joining the Windows Phone ecosystem. It also announced a new site, oem.windowsphone.com, for OEMs to get information and learn how to bring Windows Phone devices to market quickly. Companies like HTC and Samsung won’t really need this portal. That site is now live and potential OEMs can get the help they need to build and ship a new Windows Phone.

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Today was a very busy day when at 7 am EST the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers went live. That allowed those with developer accounts (pro tip: anyone can become one) to download and install Windows Phone 8.1 on their device. Take a moment to let us know if you upgraded your smartphone from Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 8.1 if you’re not busy playing with Cortana.

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Ever since we posted the ‘all about’ Windows Phone Preview for Developers Program this week, we’ve been flooded with tips with many false positives. For instance, if you were not on build 10521 of Windows Phone 8, well, you got it after installing the Preview for Developers. No worries, nothing is new as it is just device/carrier specific fixes.

So when is the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers going live? It’s not today. It’s not tomorrow and it’s not this weekend. So you can probably stop hammering Microsoft’s servers with update inquiries.

Evidently, many of you are anxious because Microsoft lead Joe Belfiore took to the Twitters to calm the masses.

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Nokia UK has published a new video to help you get started with a Lumia Windows Phone. Should you be rocking an old Nokia mobile device, this walk through will have you back up old content and transfer everything across to your new smartphone. While Windows Phone is simple to get to grips with, it's neat to have a resource available for those who aren't tech savvy.

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Facebook is working on transitioning users somewhat forcefully to using their dedicated Messenger app. Warning messages have been sent out to some European users that in about two weeks time, they wouldn’t be able to use the core Facebook app to do their chatting. Though this change will be rolling out globally, there will be exceptions in place for lower-powered Android devices that apparently can’t handle the Pure Awesome of the Facebook Messenger standalone app, and for Facebook’s relatively fresh news app, Paper.

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Unreal Engine 4 is coming to Windows RT and Windows Phone. Someday. That's the word from Epic Games co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. The new game engine saw its initial release just last week for PC, and while iOS and Android are up next for Unreal Engine 4 development, they're also keeping their eyes on the mobile operating systems out of Redmond.

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Concerns over Microsoft's purchase of Nokia have been highlighted in some regions, including China and Korea. The former country has since approved the deal with the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China giving the green light. While the deal itself has been subject to regulatory and other customary approvals, some competitors have voiced concerns over the strengthening position Microsoft will have patents-wise.

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