Windows Phone News

Though Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s Devices and Services division was announced late last year and completed in April, the fate of Nokia’s trademark technology brands has still been unknown. Brand names like Lumia smartphones, ClearBlack displays and PureView camera technology have become synonymous with innovation and quality, much like the Nokia name itself.

And though the Nokia name will eventually be disappearing from the faces of Windows phones, it looks like some of the those mainstay Nokia brand names, along with a few surprising ones, will continue on with Microsoft.

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Cortana is certainly the most headline worthy new feature of Windows Phone 8.1, even though the OS update has much more than a personal assistant going for it. With comparisons to Siri and Google Now, the Halo-inspired voice helper garners some needed headlines for Microsoft as they continue their entrenched battle in mobile.

Recently, Marcus Ash, who is the group program manager for Cortana on Windows Phone, was seen on camera explaining the priorities for Cortana, including entertaining the idea of putting it on other operating systems like Android or iOS. That controversial position was later clarified in a follow-up comment on our site, alleviating some concerns of Windows Phone adherents.

Today, in a second video, Ash explains the origins of Cortana's development, and how the team is "shocked by the international reaction."

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While Nokia is set to launch the Lumia 930 shortly, the pre-orders are still ongoing. If you reside in France and are yet to place an order for the new Windows Phone, retailer Darty has the device listed for €549.90, but there's a free wireless charging plate, speaker and Coloud headphones included in the pre-order deal. It's a superb offer for anyone looking to either move to Windows Phone or upgrade from an older handset.

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We've already covered some locations across Europe where consumers can pre-order the Lumia 930, but Finnish mobile operator TeliaSonera has the new Windows Phone available for pre-order, priced at €549 with an expected release date of July 10 (July 3 for Ireland). The new Windows Phone from Nokia, which sold its handset division to Microsoft earlier this year, is the new flagship from Microsoft Mobile and is available in a variety colors.

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Yesterday the Windows Phone community went into a tizzy over the possibility of Cortana making her way to iOS or Android in the future. We then later saw a video with the full response to the question of whether or not Cortana should stay on Windows Phone. The comments come from Marcus Ash, who is the group program manager for Cortana on Windows Phone.

Ash has now taken to Twitter where he left a Tweetstorm giving even more contest to his remarks. Before that Tweetstorm, he left a really big comment on the post from yesterday. A comment worth highlighting and bringing to the forefront of the communities attention. Comment after the break.

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Earlier today it was reported that Marcus Ash, group program manager for Cortana on Windows Phone, was weighing the pros and cons of bringing Cortana to other platforms. The decision to do so is perhaps a lot more complicated than diehard Windows Phone fans would think when all factors get taken into account.

Now, a video of Ash's full response to the question of whether or not Cortana should stay on Windows Phone has been posted. In context, the question and answer is certainly a lot more complicated than one may think as there are benefits with either choice.

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No, the Nokia Lumia 930 isn't strapped to a meteor in space, hurtling towards Earth. We're talking about the Windows Phone confirmed to be heading to Irish mobile operator Meteor. According to Ireland's Technology Blog, the operator has recently held a conference call covering handsets planned to be stocked and the Lumia 930 happens to be one of them. Perfect for those who are eagerly awaiting its arrival in Ireland.

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Yesterday we reported on some new features and enhancements that were rolling out to Cortana for some users. Twenty-four hours later and we still aren't seeing the updates on our phones, but other users in our forums are having better luck.

First up, we should mention that there is a user in our forum named 'Talderon' who claims to work for Microsoft with specific knowledge about Cortana. While we have not been able to verify his authenticity, the information he posts is fairly detailed and interesting. None of what he reveals is secret, but rather specific functions of Cortana and status updates on known issues, etc.

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This morning, shortly after Microsoft published an update for its native Windows Phone music app, the Xbox Music service encountered some issues. We received reports from readers stating that they're unable to access their music collection on a Windows Phone, which we were able to confirm with our own access severely hampered. Luckily, Microsoft is well aware of the problem and is actively rolling out a fix as you read this article.

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A few weeks ago, we reported that some modifications to Cortana were occurring for a select few people running the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers. By the time we posted an article the changes had rolled back, signaling that Microsoft was testing the waters with the refresh to their new personal assistant.

Since around midnight last night, a few users in our forums are once again seeing the changes, including the screenshots posted below. In addition, a few tips have rolled in from people noticing the new improvements. Unfortunately, only one of the writers on the Windows Phone Central staff have the updates yet, so it's not clear if this is a slow rollout, testing or something else.

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The Lumia 930 was one of Nokia's last Windows Phone before seeing its handset division pass over to Microsoft in a recently closed deal. According to Windowsteca, the device will be available in Italy from June 20th for €599 and for those who purchase the Windows Phone as soon as it launches, the product will come bundled with a free Nokia DT-900 wireless charging plate, portable mini speaker and Treasure tag.

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Fabien Cousteau and his team of aquanauts are spending 31 days underwater all in the name of science. The Mission 31 project (www.mission-31.com) is a combination of modern scientific exploration, tribute to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and modern media to get the word out. And while all of that is in and of itself worthy of your attention, it's the fact that the team is using the Lumia 1020 that has our interest piqued.

In partnership with Nokia and Watershot Inc. (www.watershot.com), Cousteau's team can take the Lumia 1020 on their dives through a customized phone housing. That metal case can withstand 100 meters / 328 feet under the sea, which is extraordinarily deep. Watershot is selling a limited quantity of the specialty case, which cost $300 each. While not cheap by consumer standards, this is a specialty case for pros.

I have one, and this is an unboxing and quick tour of this magnificent piece of equipment.

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The Nokia Lumia 630 is starting to hit markets worldwide, and one thing that's worth noting is its processor. We'll be doing a full review of the 630 shortly, but let's just say the bump in hardware does go a long way.

For our assessments we used the cross-platform Basemark OS II app ( Store link), which can evaluate the performance of system (CPU), memory, graphics, web browsing and even camera speed tests. We'll post the results below, with our discussion after.

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