Windows Phones

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Nokia Lumia 630 unboxing

A Nokia Lumia 630 was just delivered, so it’s time for an unboxing! The Lumia 630 will be available in stores starting next month for $159 for the single-SIM version and $169 for the dual-SIM version. How does the packaging look and what’s inside? Let’s take a look.

Head past the break to watch our Nokia Lumia 630 unboxing video.

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The integration of map navigation throughout our Windows Phones can be a handy feature. From tapping on an address to a contact, in an email and now with Cortana, generating voice directions is but a tap away.

If you have multiple navigation apps installed on your Windows Phone you will be given a list of these apps to choose from when generating voice directions. That extra step in getting directions may not be a big deal to most, but there is a way to set one of your navigation apps as a default with Windows Phone 8.1 and avoid this step all together.

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In Windows Phone 8.1, the Xbox Games Hub is now a separate app that can be updated independently from the OS itself. It can’t be uninstalled, but the freedom to update separately should allow Microsoft to make changes to the app much more quickly than before. In fact, the app received an update earlier today.

Like many aspects of the Windows Phone 8.1 update, the Xbox Games app builds on the established pre-8.1 design and makes a few changes as well. Not all of these changes are for the better, and in some ways the app is a clear step back. Luckily there will surely be more updates to follow. Read on to learn about the major changes in the Windows Phone 8.1 Xbox Games app and the new way the OS lists the games you’ve installed.

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The Windows Phone family includes a few devices that are rather impressive but lose some of their appeal due to lower storage space and RAM memory.

Fortunately, most of these low storage Windows Phones have expansion card slots and with the release of Windows Phone 8.1 some relief is in sight that may make these entry level Windows Phones more attractive.

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We know many of you are really happy about the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers, but some people are experiencing issues with it. To be specific, some Nokia Lumia Icon users are seeing problems with the power button not waking up the device at certain times. We are also experiencing this problem on two of our own Lumia Icons. Are you?

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If you’ve installed Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers, or read about the same, you would’ve observed an interesting change to the apps list.

On a Windows Phone device, swiping to the right on Start screen brings up the apps list arranged alphabetically. The games though, are listed in the Games app. That, however, has changed with Windows Phone 8.1, and the games also appear in the apps list.

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Over the weekend, Samsung and Verizon launched the new ATIV SE sporting Windows Phone 8.0 with Update 3. We sort of forgot about this phone, since the 8.1 news became the main focus for us. But we decided to pick one up and give you a full on tour of the device.

As I mention in the video (which turned out longer than I had anticipated), the ATIV SE is a really sharp and elegant device. Sure, Samsung tends to give Windows Phone the cold shoulder, but even when they seem to be not trying they make compelling devices. The ATIV SE is no different and so far I’m quite impressed with it.

Let’s take a closer look

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Of course I’m guilty of almost abusing Cortana, the new personal digital assistant introduced in the Windows Phone 8.1. She’s managing my calendar, search queries, reminders, and lot of other things I’m discovering each time I fire the app.  

While all is well between us, Cortana fails to set up alarms on my Windows Phone device. A little shout out around, and I realized I wasn’t alone. Lot of our readers have also reported the issue on Windows Phone Central Forums.

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It was just this weekend that Microsoft unified pricing tiers to help make universal apps easier, and today they've opened the floodgates to developers and are now accepting Windows Phone 8.1 and universal apps for review. As a refresher, universal apps take advantage of new frameworks in Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 to allow developers to build apps once and deploy them across both platforms.

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There has definitely been a build-up of excitement surrounding the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers. The update will bring a wide assortment of new features to our Windows Phones ranging from Cortana to a new Start Screen design.

But what are the top five new features coming to the table with Windows Phone 8.1? This question has been hashed out in the WPCentral Forums, in our comments, around the water cooler at work and probably over raw fish at the local sushi bar.

After the break, we’ll tap five of the new features that we think are the best with Windows Phone 8.1.

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Windows Phone 8.1 brings a wealth of new features and improvements to the table. Some of these changes are meant to bring Windows Phone more in-line with Windows 8. The more closely the two operating systems resemble each other, the easier it is for users to transition between phone, tablet, and PC. And of course, any such changes would qualify as improvements even if you’ve never touched a Windows 8 device. Microsoft is simply smart enough to pick and choose better implementations where they see them.

One such change comes with Windows Phone 8.1’s new and improved search feature. The Search button and Cortana app (US only) now searches not only the web for queries but also the user’s actual phone (much like Windows 8 and RT). This makes it easier than ever to find specific information and files on your phone. Even the actual web search results share a cleaner, slicker look as well. Head past the break to see how convenient searching can be on Windows Phone 8.1.

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Cortana vs. Siri vs. Google Now

This morning, Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 was unleashed to the US through the Preview for Developers program. Microsoft’s new personal voice assistant is taking aim against Apple’s Siri on the iPhone and Android’s Google Now.

But how well does Microsoft do out the gate? Will Cortana’s beta status hold her back?

We pitted Cortana against an iPhone 5S and a Motorola Moto X to see just how good (or bad) the new flagship Windows Phone feature compares. Head past the break to catch the video!

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Windows Phone 8.1 Review

Our comprehensive overview and review of Windows Phone 8.1

After eighteen months of being, Windows Phone 8 is getting its first major OS update from Microsoft. While Windows Phone 8.0 has had three minor updates between late 2012 and 2013, it is Windows Phone 8.1 that will finally bring a small avalanche of new features and improvements to users. The update is free and expected to arrive for all current Windows Phone 8 devices in the coming months, though starting today, a Preview for Developers is now live should you want to take the OS for an early spin.

I have been using the Preview release of Windows Phone 8.1 for nearly the last two weeks on a Nokia Lumia Icon. Reviewing a whole OS, especially one as robust as Windows Phone is no small feat. Regardless, I’ll go through what I think are the biggest new features and even some small changes that I think users want to hear about.

Is Windows Phone 8.1 really a game changer? And has Microsoft finally delivered a product that the masses can adopt? Let’s find out.

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It’s finally here. Windows Phone 8.1 is now available to download for those in the Preview for Developers program. Windows Phone 8.1 is the next big version of Windows Phone that introduces new features like voice assistant Cortana, a notification center, automatic app updates, VPN support and much more.

Even if you’re not really a developer you can join the Preview for Developers to get Windows Phone 8.1 today. Every handset running Windows Phone 8 in the wild now is capable of the upgrade. Here’s how to get Window Phone 8.1.

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Having been leaked a bunch recently, Verizon has now made its latest Windows Phone 8 device official by putting the Samsung ATIV SE up for pre-order. The price? If you're buying without a contract you'll be looking at $599.99, which jumps down to $199.99 on a 2-year agreement. Verizon Edge customers get it for $25.22 a month. Better still, for a limited time you could actually get two of them on Verizon's buy one get one free promotion!

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If you're looking for a new Windows Phone device but don't want to deal with the hassle of a contract, Microsoft has a few deals happening right now that you might be interested in. From now until April 7th, you can get $100 off the no contract price of select Windows Phones at Microsoft Store retail locations. Which devices are on sale you ask? Well, we've got the whole list for you.

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As Nokia is wont to do, when Windows Phone 8.1 starts hitting their devices it will come with a host of Nokia enhancements — in this case it's being branded as Nokia Cyan. And it's coming to all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices. Yes, all of them. And, in typical Nokia style, the improvements will be focused around imaging.

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