Windows Phone News

Microsoft's Cortana is currently limited to only those in the United States, but the team behind the personal assistant are working hard to quickly bring it to other regions. Top on that list is the UK and China, two regions that are officially getting Cortana soon. Cortana was originally teased as coming in July, but Microsoft later backtracked on that as the date was pushed back.

Now, Marcus Ash, Group Program Manager of Cortana, has responded to a user's question about the UK, noting "Barring an unforeseen issue, down to less than 2 weeks for the developer preview." This is certainly good news, as many in the UK can finally take advantage of a proper regionalized Cortana, including metric and Celsius data. As to the reason for the delay, Ash explains that he and his team have "…learned a lot about scaling. Now we need to finish" observing that it has been a "tough project".

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During the Microsoft Build 2014 conference in May, one of the hidden features of Windows Phone 8.1 announced is the Lock screen app, made in partnership with developer Rudy Huyn. The secret project was kept at the highest levels as many on the Windows Phone team were even unaware of its existence. The question though for many is When can we have it?

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore took to Twitter today to alleviate concerns. The Lock screen app (yes, it is a separate download, not built into the OS) is evidently nearing completion, at least far enough along to earn beta status.

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Starting this fall, Microsoft was poised to release a new high-end Windows Phone featuring their new gesture technology dubbed 3D Touch. The project originally went by the name 'Goldfinger' but later moved to the prototype device stage under the moniker 'McLaren'. It was to be released on at least three US carriers simultaneously in addition to wider availability.

Windows Phone Central has confirmed with multiple sources familiar with the matter that Microsoft is completely canceling McLaren. In effect, this leaves Microsoft in a potentially vulnerable position this fall as the hardware and services company does not have any flagship Windows Phones, to our knowledge, in the pipeline.

Although the timing of this report coincides with the recent layoffs and reorganization plans at Microsoft, the decision to cancel McLaren was made within the last few weeks, prior to yesterday's news. The reasons for canceling McLaren range from cost to Microsoft being unable to move beyond the proposal stage for interactive usages with the technology. The news of the cancellation is so recent that current GDR2 roadmaps still show McLaren and 3D Touch slated for later this year.

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Microsoft has published a new video on its Windows Phone YouTube channel. This latest video is dedicated to helping consumers get comfortable with Cortana and using commands to obtain different pieces of information. The new virtual assistant is part of the Windows Phone 8.1 update, but is not yet available outside the US (unless you switch up your region and language settings).

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Since March, we here at Windows Phone Central have been showcasing our Windows Phone Start screen layouts to give you a glimpse of how we use our devices. Since Daniel's initial post, we have heard from writers Rich, George, Abby, and most recently, Sam.

Following in the footsteps of those who came before me, I decided to share mine as well.

Update:

There have been several requests for a link to my background image. I knew I wanted gears, so I just did a quick image search on Bing, which pointed me to this DeviantArt page. Thanks to the original artist, Eli Bailey (AKA, manoluv).

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Microsoft is once again going through a major transition. Earlier today, expected layoffs were announced, totaling 18,000 over the next year. Although in and of itself this is important news, perhaps the renewed focus on Windows Phone in particular is even bigger.

In an internal memo obtained by the Verge, details of Microsoft's realignment of mobile products is good news for those who are fans of the Windows Phone OS. In the memo it is revealed that Asha, Series 40, and Nokia X development is being put on hold, with teams going into "maintenance mode." The goal here is to keep those devices – and customers – happy with their mobiles but over the next 18 months, those lines are being killed off in favor of Windows Phone.

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UK mobile operator O2 has shared some information on the Windows Phone 8.1 update, providing customers some idea as to when they can expect to receive the major upgrade. They first start the announcement by noting just how much interaction they've experience from Windows Phone owners - we know you're a vocal bunch when you all want something.

Simply put, if you're on O2 and are eagerly awaiting Windows Phone 8.1, you should be in line to download the update before the month is out. What's more is you'll get visual voicemail too.

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The Lumia 930 is only just launching and already we're seeing early signs of some really aggressive pricing. UK mobile operator EE has the Windows Phone listed on its website for just £349.99, which is an absolute steal for a brand new flagship smartphone – not to mention the bundled wireless charger included. Available in Orange, all that's left to do is pair up a 4G EE plan and you're good to go.

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Microsoft has published a cool new video looking at wireless charging on the Lumia 930. It's an advanced feature of the latest Lumia flagship Windows Phone, which Microsoft is pushing hard with free bundled charging plates with Lumia 930 purchases. This promotion gets consumers started with wireless charging without the need to purchase optional accessories.

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Preview for Developers program temporarily halted as Microsoft looks to resolve issues

Earlier today we reported that certain Windows Phone users were having issues getting the Lumia Cyan update. Specifically, people running the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers and using BitLocker full disk encryption through their companies were having problems upgrading, resulting in locked phones.

Microsoft has just issued a statement and recommends users downgrade the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers to commercial software before downloading the Lumia Cyan update. Additionally, Microsoft has temporarily suspended the preview program, including today's 12400 build.

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Microsoft has thrown the switch on a new release of the Preview for Developers and Windows Phone 8.1. Starting at 1 PM ET, those who are enrolled in the free Preview for Developers program are receiving build 12400 of the OS, which is a small jump from the previous 12397.

Currently, it is not known what changes are brought with the latest release, though it is most likely fixes for stability and other optimizations.

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The Lumia Cyan update has only just started rolling out for the Lumia 625 and Lumia 925, but already we're seeing some of the first bugs come to light. According to a lengthy thread on the Nokia support forum, consumers are experiencing issues after upgrading their Lumia Windows Phones running the 8.1 Preview for Developers and using BitLocker full disk encryption.

The BitLocker encryption appears to cause the smartphone to hang on boot, making it unusable. All that's presented to the user is a message to connect the device to a PC. Luckily, there's a solution, but it requires a full reset the Windows Phone using Nokia's software suite.

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The Quikr team have revealed on Facebook that they're actively working on an official Windows Phone app for the region of India. The service is an incredibly popular destination for classifieds, enabling consumers to trade, buy and/or sell listings. There are over 12 categories, containing over 140 sub-categories that range from mobiles, real estate and cars to services, jobs, entertainment and general electronics.

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Following on the heels of T-Mobile, AT&T has just announced that the Lumia 635 is available starting Friday, July 25 as a prepaid GoPhone. Likewise, starting Friday, August 8, customers can also get the Nokia Lumia 635 online or in AT&T stores "with black and orange back covers in the box for $139.99 at no annual commitment pricing."

The Lumia 635 features a 4.5-inch 854 x 480 IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and ClearBlack technology for vibrant colors. In addition, it has a 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, 5 MP camera, 8 GB internal storage (expandable up to 128 GB with micro SD) and 512 MB of RAM.

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