Windows Phone News

In January Nokia stated that the Lumia Black firmware update would be available to all in the coming weeks after its initial rollout. That didn’t exactly happen, as we’re still seeing certain regions and handsets lighting up with Lumia Black. For example, just yesterday the Lumia 620 in India received the firmware update. One little handset here in the United States still doesn’t have it. That’d be the Lumia 521, a variant of the Lumia 520 exclusive to T-Mobile. We haven’t heard much about the status of the update, but we do know it’s now listed as ‘coming soon’ on Nokia’s website.

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Microsoft and Nook Media (Barnes & Noble) have updated the agreement signed two years ago. According to a new 8-K filing by Barnes and Noble, Nook Media is now allowed to discontinue the Windows 8 app and cease development on the Windows Phone companion client at their discretion. Before you take to rioting in the streets, a replacement app is on the way for Windows 8, titled Microsoft Consumer Reader and we could well see a Windows Phone version from Redmond too.

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We’re less than a month away from actually seeing Windows Phone 8.1 ourselves at Microsoft’s Build conference in San Francisco. We know a lot about the next big version of Windows Phone, but there’s still more info trickling out as we lead up to the big unveil. Today we’re looking at the default camera application that Windows Phone 8.1 handsets will ship with. Video after the break.

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PCMag has concluded its annual readers’ choice awards. Since operating systems play an important part in decision making for consumers on their next smartphone, we've taken a look at how Windows Phone fared against both Android and iOS. The 2014 PCMag Readers' Choice Award was awarded to (and is shared by) Google's Android and Apple's iOS, but it's interesting to see how Microsoft's mobile platform performed in the surveys.

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Microsoft has a few hurdles to jump before it can finalize the acquisition of Nokia’s handset division. The biggest hurdle? Regulatory approval in China. As we reported a few days ago, Samsung and Google have expressed concern to the Chinese government over potential higher patent fees from the Microsoft-Nokia deal. Turns out Korea smartphone manufactures and the Korean government aren’t too keen on the idea either.

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If you’re in California today, you may have heard an AMBER alert go off on your phone. If so, it probably really caught your attention. AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response Alerts, named after the late Amber Hagerman, and they are part of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system on US and other carriers.

With Windows Phone 8 (and iOS and certain Android devices), users can go into their settings to enable or disable such notifications, or select which ones they want to receive. What types are there? What do they mean? We’ll explain.

But first, let’s tell you how to find them, as they’re kind of buried in the Windows Phone menu system.

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Sendtiment is a popular, easy-to-use greeting card app for Windows Phone 8. The app has over one hundred greeting cards in the free version and an additional four hundred plus cards in a paid variant of the app. The developer behind Sendtiment has just kicked off a 'Lucky Selfie' contest to celebrate Saint Paddy's Day, which will see one lucky winner bagging a $50 Xbox gift card.

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Microsoft has had a recent alteration with its leadership, namely Satya Nadella replacing Steve Ballmer to head up the massive company. According to a Polygon report and contrary to rumour, the company is still focused on supporting Xbox and pushing the video game console in numerous markets. Phil Spencer from Microsoft Game Studios states the dedication to Xbox at Microsoft has not changed. 

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Reliance Communications, one of the leading operators in India, has launched Zero Plan for customers who are looking to buy Nokia Lumia 1320 or Nokia Lumia 1520 at affordable payment plans with bundled voice and data packages.

The plan offers unlimited STD and local calls, 3000 SMS per month, unlimited 3G data, and roaming for free bundled with the device at zero down payment.

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In case you still didn’t agree that Windows Phone is the third ecosystem in the smartphone industry, the latest validation comes from comScore’s report of the U.S. smartphone subscriber market share ending January 2014.

While Blackberry's market share is on the decline, Microsoft held steady and found themselves holding the third spot in the latest survey behind Android and Apple.

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If there’s one thing we can all agree on is that Windows Phone has a perception problem, especially in the US and Canada. The phone hardware is often reviewed favorably, but critics tend to ding the OS for lack of apps. This so-called ‘app-gap’ has become less of problem as of late 2013, but the perception is still there. Also, MIA apps like Sonos don’t help either.

Nokia’s new ad, showcased on their Canadian YouTube channel, does a really good job of breaking it all down for the consumer. In fact, it’s one of the best we’ve seen. With bold bright graphics, the narrator talks about how impressive the Windows Phone store has become, highlighting things like UI design, Live Tiles, Windows Phone exclusive apps, and how major titles like Vine, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are all here already.

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Sonos (www.sonos.com) is a pretty wild service. Not to be confused with Songza, which also works on Sonos (and is just as awesome), Sonos is a ‘Multi-Room Music System’ and it relies on HIFI-WIFI speakers placed throughout your abode. You can then stream music to all or just some of your speakers, using various sources like Songza, Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, Beats Music etc.

There’s also a familiar story here: on Android and iOS, users get free software to control their Sonos Zones at home. Windows 8 and Windows Phone? Not so much.

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Nokia is keeping its promise of ‘coming soon’ at the time of announcing both the Nokia X and Nokia X+ at Mobile World Congress 2014 last month. India, an emerging smartphone market, is one of the primary markets for the Nokia X series.

A press invite to "Xperience a new beginning" has been fired out today, marking March 10, 2014 as the launch of Nokia X in India.

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At this rate we might not have much surprises left for Build 2014 next month in San Francisco. We’ve learned a lot about the big picture for the future of Windows Phone ever since the beta Windows Phone 8.1 SDK was leaked. Since then it’s been a steady stream of information about the upcoming update.

Earlier this week we finally got out first look at Cortana in action on video. Earlier today some more Windows Phone 8.1 information made its way onto the web. Today we’re learning a bit more about the Action Center in Windows Phone 8.1.

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It was just last Friday that we learned most of the specs for the upcoming Nokia Lumia 630. The device is codenamed “Moneypenny” and is expected to be a budget friendly device. It’ll also be one of the first Windows Phone 8.1 handsets launched. Which is why it’ll pick up a lot of attention. Twitter leaker evleaks has just shared another image of the upcoming device. Orange is the new black right?

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