WPCentral News

Editor's rant here! I realize that there is a lot of news and buzz about Windows Phone these days, which is always a good thing. I also appreciate that our audience is growing every day, and we welcome you warmly.

Comments are a crucial aspect of our community. The fact is you folks are often our connection to the rest of the world. If we miss something, or get something wrong, we love learning more from you in those posts, as you are a valuable resource too. As our site grows, there are more challenges for us to face including moderating comments. A few solutions are due in the coming weeks, but for now, here are a few guidelines that can keep your fellow WPCentral readers happy.

It is time to lay down the law and for you to eat your veggies or something.

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ICYMI: August 2, 2014

A lot can happen in a week. New apps join the Windows Phone Store or Windows Store. Your favorite apps can get a big update with a new look or new features. Device rumors come and go. Seven days might not seem like much, but it can be an eternity in the tech news cycle. Every week we're going to compile the biggest stories into one post, so you never fall behind – In Case You Missed It.

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There's so much good stuff on Xbox Music and Xbox Video. How do you keep up with what's new and worth checking out? You don't have to; we'll do that for you. Every Friday we'll grab the hottest albums and singles on Xbox Music. We'll also let you know what movies and television shows are out to watch on Xbox Video. It's the weekend, and we'll help entertain you.

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What do you think of China's Xiao Na?

Microsoft just announced the availability of Cortana in China and the United Kingdom. In China, Cortana will be going by the nickname Xiao Na. Not only is the name different in China, but Cortana looks different and has been given a pair of eyes. This is in order to serve the Chinese culture. We think Xiao Na looks pretty great and want to ask you the same. Take our poll and share your thoughts on Xiao Na.

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Late last week, Windows Phone Central had a nice little refresh to our website. The new header to the site has a more modern appearance, is dynamic (try clicking into a story and watch it change topics), and it features more of our guides and super pages, like our Windows Phone 8.1 Update Tracker for quick access.

The one downside to the deployment was the color scheme was not exactly _something many of us wanted. Of course, I mentioned we would be changing it soon and sure enough, our hardworking developers and designers have brought back our familiar magenta, and cyan colors from days past. Hooray! Therefore, you get those new features _and the accustomed colors too. Later, we can still look to add custom themes for registered members.

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ICYMI: July 26, 2014

A lot can happen in a week. New apps join the Windows Phone Store or Windows Store. Your favorite apps can get a big update with a new look or new features. Device rumors come and go. Seven days might not seem like much, but it can be an eternity in the tech news cycle. Every week we're going to compile the biggest stories into one post, so you never fall behind – In Case You Missed It.

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It was nearly three years ago that WPCentral.com had a site redesign and in 2014, we figured it is time for another update. Part of the changes you now see on www.wpcentral.com and m.wpcentral.com reflect our goal of bringing the Mobile Nations sites (WPCentral, iMore, Android Central, Connectedly, CrackBerry) more in line in terms of design. Another aspect reflects ongoing changes in how people view websites and what many consider "in" for design these days.

I should point out that we have a long way to go with this redesign. In other words, we are not doing it all at once, because from experience that can cause many headaches for our developers, writers, and you, our loyal readers. Instead, we are introducing our new header and some new design elements. There is still plenty of tweaking to ahead, so please be patient (many of you use our apps, anyway, which are unaffected by the site change).

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A few weeks ago, Windows Phone Central and Microsoft started a Hidden Gems campaign to highlight interesting and underappreciated apps for Windows and Windows Phone. The series also is also a chance to reward our community by letting users win prizes for their participation, namely giving constructive feedback about the game or app highlighted.

Today, we are announcing those winners and starting our second segment, which focuses on some new hardware and connected technologies. Once again, there is an opportunity for you to win if you leave a comment!

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ICYMI: July 19, 2014

A lot can happen in a week. New apps join the Windows Phone Store or Windows Store. Your favorite apps can get a big update with a new look or new features. Device rumors come and go. Seven days might not seem like much, but it can be an eternity in the tech news cycle. Every week we're going to compile the biggest stories into one post, so you never fall behind – In Case You Missed It.

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Hey. Did you know there's a major sporting event happening right now!? It's the 2014 World Cup final with Germany and Argentina battling for the prize. Cortana has made some stellar predictions during the World Cup tournament, but she did get yesterday's game between Brazil and Netherlands wrong. She predicted that Brazil would prevail. However, the Netherlands took that game 3-0. Someone on Twitter said that Cortana's match prediction algorithm didn't account for a team giving up. Anyways. Is she going to be right today? Will Germany beat Argentina? Sound off below.

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Microsoft is so far taking a slow approach to the roll-out of the Windows Phone 8.1 update with the Lumia Cyan firmware. Yesterday, we detailed what is new in Lumia Cyan, and we have already reviewed Windows Phone 8.1.

However, the question on most people's minds is When will they get it?

Currently, there are no publicly set timetables for the release, as it is dependent on the device manufacturer, model, region and carrier, if applicable. As such, like previous updates, this one is staggered over the next few weeks and months. For now, you are encouraged to bookmark the page below to track the progress on the Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Cyan update (for Nokia phones).

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ICYMI: July 12, 2014

A lot can happen in a week. New apps join the Windows Phone Store or Windows Store. Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella can release a memo to over 100,000 employees. Your favorite apps can get a big update with a new look or new features. Device rumors come and go. Seven days might not seem like much, but it can be an eternity in the tech news cycle. Which is why every week we're going to compile the biggest stories into one post – In Case You Missed It.

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The Nokia Lumia 930 is slowly appearing in users hands around the globe. It's the latest Windows Phone that money can buy and it's a solid choice if you've been looking to upgrade your Lumia 920. However, we do know that new hardware is just around the corner. So we're spending the weekend wondering if you're buying a new Windows Phone soon or holding out for newer gear. Take our poll and let us know!

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A few weeks ago we started our Hidden Gems series in conjunction with Microsoft. The goal of the series is to highlight apps and games of high quality but that slip under the radar. Sure it is easy to write about big official apps, but it is these burgeoning services and games that are the heart of mobile today.

Currently, we are on a brief hiatus as we catchup on device release news, reviews and our usual content. However, two things: one, you can still enter our contests to win a new phone or tablet, and two, the series returns in the coming weeks!

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This afternoon at 4:30 PM EST we're kicking off our first of (hopefully) many live game streams on Twitch.tv. We tested things out last night in Titanfall, and should be all warmed up to blow some stuff up later on today. You can subscribe to the Windows Phone Central Twitch channel here, where we'll also be archiving gameplay if you can't make the livestream.

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This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Friday. That means we are in for a long weekend of mini-explosions, poor fashion sense, alcohol-fueled debauchery, copious amounts of nitrate filled provisions and unfeigned nationalism. But hey, it doesn't have to be all bad!

The Windows Phone Central Store is having a 20% off sale starting now through July 7. If you need a new case for you Lumia 1520, you get 20% off. If you need a new car kit for your Lumia 520, you also get 20% off. Yup, 20% off everything. Just use coupon code J414 during check out and the discount is applied across the board.

FREE shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic US), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin! Shop at will. Save 20 percent off with coupon code J414 . It's as easy (and American) as Apple Pie.

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Reporting and reviewing apps and games is part of our job at Windows Phone Central. Some of it is easy, like when a major app finally makes its way to our ecosystem, but if there's one thing we especially love, it's discovering an exceptional and unknown app. Often, it's you, our audience that brings them to our attention. Today, we're changing the tables around.

Starting tomorrow and running throughout the rest of June, we're partnering up with Microsoft to give away some great prizes and focusing on a select few apps and games that we think deserve some attention. They may for devices or services you are not aware of, they may be unique games, but they have all been handpicked.

The series is planned to run every day before noon Eastern Time, and they'll feature our cool little graphic (see below) so that you know it is part of the Hidden Gems program. We're also creating a main topic page, where you can view all the previous Hidden Gems articles in case you want to catch up. You can find that page here: www.wpcentral.com/hidden-gems, so make sure you bookmark it.

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