Windows Phone News

Microsoft has today concluded the Nokia Device Hub and Storage Check beta programs, which allowed Lumia Windows Phones to connect to a variety of wireless accessories and anlayze on-board internal storage.

The apps are now part of the Lumia Cyan update and can be found on any up-to-date Lumia Windows Phone. If you're rocking Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Cyan, you'll be able to easily manage all your wireless devices in one place using the commercial release of Device Hub and check what space you have remaining with Storage Sense.

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In case you missed it, Fitbit launched their long awaited tracker app for Windows Phone 8.1 today. The app is already earning a 4.5 (out of 5) rating on the Store, with many customers pleased with the release.

In case you are new to Fitbit, and you need a new Windows Phone, the Microsoft Store is running a stellar deal. Starting at $149, you can grab both the Lumia 635 (AT&T black or T-Mobile white) and a brand new Fitbit Flex (black or slate). Those are no-contract prices too, although the T-Mobile package is priced slightly higher at $178.95.

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Although web sites and reporters often spill the secrets of companies, the best-kept ones get published by the companies themselves. Case in point is the revelation that 'folders' are coming to Update 1 (aka GDR1) for Windows Phone 8.1, which was accidentally revealed by Microsoft's website. Details though have been scarce about the forthcoming update, including what it contains. Luckily, Microsoft's Dev Center is filling in the blanks as we reported yesterday.

On Microsoft's website, buried within the Dev Center are two pages dedicated to the minor OS update. One page is 'What's new in the documentation for Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1' and the other just 'Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1.' Now, details from those internal pages is starting to trickle out.

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Windows Phone 8.1 is still in the early stages of rolling out to devices in over-the-air updates, but Microsoft is hard at work at future updates, including general distribution releases also known as GDRs. Those GDR updates, usually called just 'Update' or 'Update 2', bring patches, minor fixes, a few new features and enable additional hardware options for manufacturers (OEMs).

Evidently, references to GDR1 are found on the Windows Phone dev center under the OEM documentation. Unfortunately, if you try to click the links you are asked to log in, making this restricted to just OEM partners.

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Vodafone has announced on its support website that the Lumia 925 will be receiving the Lumia Cyan + Windows Phone 8.1 combo update starting tomorrow, July 25. From 2am AEST, the mobile operator will be starting the update roll-out, meaning the Windows Phone owners will be able to enjoy the latest OS features as they surface for the new day (unless there are any night owls reading).

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Yesterday we saw Cortana get updated on the background with a few changes or Windows Phone 8.1. If you went into Cortana's Interests you'd see a local events finder. Microsoft stated that they'd be updating Cortana every few weeks. Today some users see a few more categories under the Interest's section – recommendations for nearby places and local apps.

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Starting at 1 PM ET today, Verizon Wireless has started rolling out the previous 1028.3566.1417.0047 firmware for their Lumia Icon owners. The update is not Lumia Cyan. Instead, this update came out in May for those running Windows Phone 8.0, but for customers who opted into the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers, they did not receive the bug fixing firmware. Instead, they either had to downgrade and get the update or wait.

Now, Verizon is letting those on the 8.1 Preview update as well.

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Microsoft today announced the Lumia 530, a brand new entry-level Windows Phone. Those who recall the affordable Lumia 520 will know exactly who Microsoft is targeting with its successor. This Windows Phone is the latest handset to come from the tech giant running Windows Phone 8.1 and featuring a quad-core processor to boot. The only difference being the price, which will see both the single-SIM and dual-SIM variants be listed for under €100.

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We're still not over all the little tricks Cortana is capable of doing. At launch we compiled a ton of questions you could ask the Windows Phone AI in order to get snarky and funny responses. That list has grown overtime as Microsoft adds more and more phrases to her repertoire. We know she'll give a funny response when you ask her "What does the fox say?", but what happens when you ask for other animals?

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Microsoft and the Cortana team have noted that users can expect updates to the service every few weeks. Tonight, at least one new change is new to the personal assistant: local events.

For those who do not know, Cortana stores preferences of the user in her 'notebook' and one of those has the label 'Interests.' Interests range from news, weather, travel, sports, finance, and other items that a person may want to have Cortana track. Now under those interests is a new category with the name Events.

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Microsoft has just shared their latest quarterly financial report. This is for the previous three months that ended on June 30, 2014. Microsoft reported revenue of $23.38 billion with a net income of $4.61 billion. In the report, you'll find a ton of information about the various divisions within Microsoft. One interesting statistic: 5.8 million Lumia smartphones were sold during that period.

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