Windows Phone News

Another month has gone by since we last looked at Windows Phone statistics from data provided by AdDuplex. Last month we looked at the Windows Phone ecosystem for the month of April 2014. There we learned that Windows Phone 8.1 was already on 3.1 percent of all Windows Phone devices. How did that number do for the month of May? Read on to find out.

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We're pretty jealous of our friends with Android smartphones and iPhones who get all the wearable love. Slowly, but surely, Windows Phone is gaining support for smartwatches and fitness trackers. Those of you really wanting a smartwatch might want to check out the HOT Watch from PH Technical Labs. They recently announced a partnership with Microsoft and have stated that a Windows Phone app is currently in development.

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Microsoft has published a UK advertisement for the Lumia 630, a newly released Windows Phone in the more affordable club. The advert focuses on the cheap price point, colourful looks and fairly advanced components, including a quad-core processor ("which means it's really fast"), as well as a solid collection of apps on the Windows Phone Store.

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Here’s one feature we knew was coming for Windows Phone 8.1, but wasn’t quite ready a few weeks ago: device enumeration in reviews.

Yup, numerous reports have come in confirming that under app and game reviews, individual posts will not only show the user’s name (if registered) but their exact Windows Phone make and model used for the review. That’s important for context when reading a analysis by someone. For instance, if customer rates a game’s performance as “excellent with smooth graphics” it makes a difference if they’re on a Lumia 520 versus a Lumia 1520. Not only that, if an app developer sees negative reviews only from HTC 8X users, they may very well conclude there is something going on with their app that needs fixing.

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Cortana teased for UK release... 'soon'

Microsoft is teasing that Cortana will soon be coming to the UK. We're big fans of the Cortana voice assistant that comes built into Windows Phone 8.1, except for that it's currently limited to only the United States. That hasn't stopped people from working their way around the restriction, but Microsoft knows that the 6.8 billion people that live outside the USA might also want access to Cortana.

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Tornados are no joke, especially for a lot of people in the US this time of year. This video, posted yesterday to YouTube, already has 40K views, and it’s easy to see why. The footage shows the formation of a tornado at very close range. While the video quality is outstanding, it’s the filename that caught the attention of our tipster: WP 20140526 001.

Anyone with a Windows Phone knows that’s how videos are labeled. Combined with the high quality of the video (including superb audio and video stabilization) and it doesn’t take a prodigy to figure out this is probably a high-end Lumia of some sort.

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Polish carrier Plus has just launched a new contest to help celebrate the launch of the Nokia Lumia 630. The competition is open to anyone who bought a Lumia after March 1st and it’s probably one of the coolest contests we’ve come across. Customers can download a free app dubbed ‘Trampkomania with Windows Phone’, which allows you to submit a photo of your personalized Start screen. If you win? You get some sneakers with the Windows Phone branding, one of which can is in the above lede image.

The contest runs from May 26 through June 30 and it is only open to those on the Plus carrier with a phone purchased on March 1 or later. In essence, the carrier is promoting the new Lumia 630 although those with other Lumias purchased recently can participate.

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The official Windows Phone UserVoice is a great place to get your feedback heard by Microsoft. Today the company has done some spring cleaning and flagged a lot of requests as ‘completed’. One of the most requested feature was a file system of some sort. Earlier this month, Microsoft shared that an official file manager would be coming to Windows Phone 8.1 this month. It looks like that date has been pushed back a month.

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If you’re longing for the powerhouse Nokia Lumia 930 – aka the Lumia Icon variant for everyone else – then at least in Italy, you can put your money where your mouth is. The latest phone from Nokia is now on Expansys Italy for a modestly priced €539.99.

If that Windows Phone 8.1 device is too rich for your blood, you can also order the Lumia 630 from MediaWorld for €149.99.

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Glowdeck, a new Bluetooth speaker with built-in wireless charging, is set for release later this year. It's no ordinary speaker though as it will not only stream your music through a pair of high-quality stereo speakers — but it will also charge your Qi-compatible device just by setting it down on top of the speaker. But the fun doesn't even stop there — Glowdeck will also show all of your notifications in Streams on the bottom of the speaker's display, while your phone is charging.

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A few weeks ago we reported that users were receiving mobile credits for Bing searches on their Windows Phone 8.1 devices. At the time, Bing Rewards still had Windows Phone listed as “coming soon” on their site, but starting a few days ago that has lifted as Windows Phone 8.1 is now listed on their support page.

Bing Rewards is a program from Microsoft that rewards you for using Bing search. The more you use it, the more points you can collect. Those points can then be used to redeem gifts from the site, including Amazon.com gift cards, OneDrive extra storage, entering contests and more.

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The Kairos startup has been turning heads due to its unique and rather ambitious designs. The company's smartwatch fuses together traditional mechanical functionality we've all come to know and love from a standard watch with a transparent display layered on top. The website only mentions support for Android and iOS, but due to overwhelming demand, the Kairos team have added Windows Phone 8.1 to its supported list.

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Ready to find out how the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store are doing? Microsoft has just published a report showing trends for the two platforms. We learn a lot of interesting things in the post. For example, did you know that low-memory devices, like the Lumia 520, lead in app downloads? Highlights after the break.

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A project on crowdfunding site Indiegogo is bringing life to Windows Phone 8.1's new speech assistant by allowing Cortana to control an off-the-shelf robot. By connecting a Windows Phone handset, in this case a Nokia Lumia, to a WowWee robot called RoboMe, the developer is able to control the robot with an app. With Cortana behind the robot, RoboMe gains a new set of personality and hence the name Nanabot.

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Windows Phone 8.1 is technically out now with the Lumia 630 slowly hitting markets, but its personal assistant Cortana is on a longer release schedule. According to a new report, Microsoft is evidently hard at work to regionalize the service, making it more useful for those outside of the US. LiveSide is reporting that Cortana – enabled through a region hack on Windows Phone 8.1 devices – has some unique offerings for those in China.

Users who have a Windows Phone 8.1 device (or the Preview for Developers) don’t need to do anything besides to the region hack to enable Cortana in China.

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The Nokia Lumia 630 is now available for purchase at The Carphone Warehouse, seven days prior to when the Windows Phone is set to be released on the UK shores. The retailer has seemingly jumped the gun alongside Unlocked Mobiles. If you're interested in the new affordable Windows Phone from Nokia/Microsoft, be prepared to part with funds on a monthly basis as Carphone Warehouse only has contracted units available.

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