Windows Phone News

About one week ago, the Lumia Cyan update began a near global rollout for the popular Lumia 1520. We note 'near' global rollout because although many countries and carriers started to push out the update, there were quite a few that did not.

Beginning yesterday, many more Lumia 1520 owners were eligible for the Lumia Cyan update and we have crawled through all the tips and Nokia's own site to bring who is getting what now. Let us see if your Lumia 1520 is now flagged for Cyan!

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Windows Phone users around the globe are understandably excited for Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Cyan updates to hit their phones, and next up looks like being Italian Lumia 1020 owners on local carrier, TIM. Eager folks have been tweeting at the carriers official Twitter account for information, and it looks like things might start happening tomorrow.

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Cortana now works on Windows Phone even when your phone is locked; that is if you're running the latest version. Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is full of surprises. Live Folders are an obvious feature in the update, but a lot of other things, like custom snooze times in the alarm app, are still being discovered. Being able to use Cortana while the phone is locked is another one of those small features we're just discovering.

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Yesterday, the Preview for Developers program began pushing out Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 users. The OS refresh brings Live Folders and numerous other improvements that we are detailing in more in-depth articles.

Unfortunately, owners of the HTC 8X and HTC 8S are waiting on the sidelines as their device is currently not eligible. Citing Microsoft Support Forums it appeared to be related to outdated firmware. Microsoft, who have now released an official statement to us, is clarifying that situation a bit.

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Yesterday was a busy day for those Windows Phone users living on the edge and using the Preview for Developers program. As expected, Update 1 went out yesterday and with it, many new features and improvements.

This morning, we are getting quite a few tips on stories already covered over the last few days, so we are just going to bring them to your attention again in case you missed it (ICYMI).

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One of the smaller, but very useful features in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is Network Time Protocol (NTP) support. If you run a PC, NTP is nothing new, it is simply the ability for the computer to ping the server and pulldown the time off the internet. (Wikipedia fact: It is one of the oldest internet protocols in use!)

However, Windows Phone did not support this, at least not until Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1.

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As expected, AT&T is finally selling the super bright green Nokia Lumia 1520, complete with Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Cyan pre-installed (you can see what is new in our review). Considering the 8.1 update came out about 10 days ago for the Lumia 1520 that makes sense.

The big question is does the green Lumia 1520 bring anything else for $199 on-contract. Unfortunately, no. This is still the 16 GB version, although you can expand that with up to 128 GB with a micro SD card. There is also no Qi wireless charging, heck, they are not even pushing the PMA charging although we're sure it can at least do that much.

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Did you upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1? You'll notice obvious new features like Live Folders ( see our hands-on) and the changes to Internet Explorer, but might miss those changes that are more subtle. One of those subtle changes is the ability to internet sharing over Bluetooth. Another one we just found – snooze preferences for alarms.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Update has numerous new features in it, with many being under the hood changes for phone manufacturers. One of the more interesting changes though is long outstanding: a Live Tile for the Windows Phone Store.

System apps typically do not have flipping Live Tiles, which is maybe why the Store and Xbox Music apps did not have them. Both of those are changing with Update 1 as the Store Tile now flips to reveal new apps and deals, and the Xbox Music app update (due in the coming weeks), also brings a long awaited Live Tile.

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In the Windows Phone Update 1 Preview, new Bluetooth profiles are supported in the latest OS update from Microsoft, giving consumers access to new abilities. Those new profiles included PAN (personal area network) 1.0 profile, aptX codec support for A2DP, and browsing support for AVRCP.

In regards to PAN, one visible area in which consumers can immediately see the difference is visible under Internet Sharing.

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For a few months now, you may have heard us mention that smartwatches and smart accessories were on the horizon for Windows Phone, especially towards August and September. The FitBit app announced last week is the first in that volley, and more are coming later this month.

Developer Jeremy Sinclair has now gone through the Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 that is rolling out today for Preview users and documented all the new APIs available. It is quite telling, as many of these APIs are to handle background and telephony tasks for those connected devices.

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A leaked press render of the Windows Phone-based HTC One M8 has finally emerged on Verizon's site showing a similar design to the Android counterpart. The all-metal phone is shown in a slate grey finish and comes with the trademarked HTC BoomSound speakers along with Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 operating system with on-screen navigation keys.

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Bing Vision was at one time a very interesting and innovative feature on Windows Phone 7.5 in 2011. The camera tool lets users scan QR codes, barcodes, books, CDs, DVDs, and even the (now) deprecated MS Tags. As creative as it is though, it never seemed to make waves in the tech world. Ironically, in mid-2014 Amazon's Fire Phone is nothing but a super Bing Vision with links to Amazon's massive online store.

Bing Vision gets a demotion in Windows Phone 8.1, at least for those in the US and other regions where Cortana is the primary means of search. This loss of function is because Cortana does not handle scanning items with the camera.

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Marcus Ash and Sandeep Paruchuri reply to your Cortana questions

A few days ago, we presented a rare opportunity to ask the Cortana team – represented by Marcus Ash and Sandeep Paruchuri – direct questions about Cortana's international rollout (Alpha and Beta programs), and the process therein.

After the big announcement in China about Cortana's expansion, the team managed to squeeze time in to pick some of your top questions and provide us the answers late last night. Therefore, without further ado, here is the Cortana team answering your best questions.

If you want insight into the differences between Alpha and Beta Cortana, or why Jen Taylor is not coming to the UK, then you must read on, you do not want to miss this!

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