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If you're in the market for a Windows Phone device on AT&T, there are plenty of options, but it's really hard to ignore a metal-framed Nokia Lumia 925 for just $79.99 off contract (or free with a contract, if you don't feel like doing the math on how much you'll save). Granted, that's for a refurbished Lumia 925, but generally they're in like-new condition and sold with a full warranty. $79.99 off contract is a fantastic deal for nearly any phone, let alone one like the Lumia 925 where it retails normally for $399.99.

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So far, the Preview for Developers program with Windows Phone 8.1 is going very well for Microsoft and those interested in getting an early look at the next OS. The preview, however, is not completely optimized for individual devices, and they still need new firmware to be complete. Once “official” updates rollout with OEM firmware, we expect things to be even better for consumers.

Still, Microsoft is in a ‘pay attention to the customer’ mode, reacting very quickly to user feedback. That’s why we’re excited to hear, at least via Microsoft’s Community forums, that an update to the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview will be forthcoming.

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Earlier today we told you guys and gals about Microsoft’s Project My Screen app for your PC. This is the app you’ll need installed and running on your PC in order to share what’s on your Windows Phone 8.1 screen to your PC. We haven’t had time to play around with it yet, but Microsoft’s Cliff Simpkins (@cliffsimpkins) has a great guide on how to use it and troubleshoot any potential problems.

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One of the more interesting side effects of constantly taking photos of your phone, especially during such a high profile week, is everyone is curious as to what app that is or where’d I get the background. They’re all fine inquiries, the challenge for me is trying to respond to every tweet, email, DM or comment here to satisfy everyone!

Hence this post. This is nothing more than me going: here is my wallpaper.

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Yesterday we posted about folks being unable to set an alarm using Cortana. They’d try and meet error code 8000ffff. It undoubtedly made a lot of you frustrated as you played around with Cortana. Soft resets and hard resets didn’t fix the problem. What was going on? It’s most likely third-party alarm apps messing with Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1. Details below.

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Windows Phone 8.1 brings a handful of new features to the mix. Cortana and the new Notification center obviously steal the headlines, but other features like Battery Saver, Wi-Fi Sense, Start backgrounds and more all add up to create a wonderful update. Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy these features. Cortana is currently only available as a beta to those in the United States, though you can get it to work internationally with a few tricks.

And it looks like Cortana is also only available to those over a certain age. Seriously.

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Thanks to the Preview for Developers program we’ve been playing with Windows Phone 8.1 for more than three days. It’s been very well received by most everyone in the community. Now it’s time to check out how your battery is doing after upgrading from Windows Phone 8.0 to Windows Phone 8.1. Has your battery life improved or taken a turn for the worst? Maybe is it just the same as it was before. Let’s find out.

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What are our favorite Windows Phone 8.1 features?

Enjoying the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers? We're sure you all are. We can see there are numerous discussions underway as to what are your favorite Windows Phone 8.1 features. Whether you're a Cortana fan or simply worship Joe Belfiore for adding in the Notification Center (better late than never), there's a lot in this preview release.

In this roundup, we'll be running you through some of our favorites, just in case you're wanting to know what the Windows Phone Central team likes most on their smartphones. Head past the break to see our favorites.

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Dear Cortana, do you love me?

Dear Cortana,

You’ve been sassy since we first met in 2001. I was only 13 then and you were busy controlling the defenses on the Pillar of Autumn as we emerged from slipspace near Installation 04. The Covenant was giving us a beat down after we barely escaped the glassing on the planet Reach. We’ve traveled the galaxy, saved it a few times and now you’re living in my pocket. Together we’ve spent the last few days getting reacquainted thanks to Windows Phone 8.1. You were sassy in 2001 and you’re still sassy today. I’ve put together a list of some of the questions I like to ask to get those sassy answers from you I love.

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UK residents wanting to join the Internet of Things have looked to thermostat maker Heatmiser recently. The company has a variety of products, including multiple thermostat models, which connect and talk to one another. You can also control these thermostats with a handful of mobile apps. We told you guys and girls that Heatmiser UK was looking for beta testers for an upcoming Windows Phone app. Now the company is showing off that app on their blog. Here’s your first look.

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Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1 is garnering plenty of praise for for its ease of use, personality, and features, but now it's time for some of that personalization magic to make its way to Bing.com with the addition of interests. After being booted off the search key on Windows Phone devices by Cortana, Bing is getting personalized updates that tap into the power of the web. And it's a simple as clicking a star to register your interest.

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The more we use Windows Phone 8.1, the more we discover such as the changes to our call history. For starters, we now have a Speed Dial page that sits alongside the History and Voice Mail pages. You also have the ability to pull up call details that reveal the date, time and duration of the calls.

Finally, the History page now groups calls from the same caller, based on the date, to avoid repetition. For example if Rich had called my Windows Phone four times today, the history would display “Rich Edmonds (4)” instead of four entries for those calls.

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Windows Phone 8.1, released yesterday through the Preview for Developer program, sure has a lot of new features. We tried to document most, if not all, of those in our colossal review/overview of the OS, but as suspected some items will fall through the cracks.

Reader of the site Nicholas M. brought to our attention that 8.1 not only has independent volume levels for Ringer + Notifications versus Media + Apps, but also a separate volume slider for headphones. We looked into the finding and also discovered that there’s a fourth volume slider, one for Bluetooth.

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Cortana is full of personality (maybe not as much as Arsenio might like you to think), and the developers that built out the assistant's library of responses were sure to build in some good doses of self referential humor. A lot of times what a tool really needs to do to connect with users is put a smile on the user's face. And what's not to love about Clippy?

Wait, Clippy?

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Back in late February Microsoft announced that nine new OEMs would be joining the Windows Phone ecosystem. It also announced a new site, oem.windowsphone.com, for OEMs to get information and learn how to bring Windows Phone devices to market quickly. Companies like HTC and Samsung won’t really need this portal. That site is now live and potential OEMs can get the help they need to build and ship a new Windows Phone.

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Did you upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1?

Today was a very busy day when at 7 am EST the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers went live. That allowed those with developer accounts (pro tip: anyone can become one) to download and install Windows Phone 8.1 on their device. Take a moment to let us know if you upgraded your smartphone from Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 8.1 if you’re not busy playing with Cortana.

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Poll: Will you talk to Cortana in public?

With the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers out in the open and available for download, we're sure many of you are thoroughly enjoying the highly requested features included in the release. A major new feature is Cortana and we'd like to know how you plan to utilize the new personal assistant.

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When Apple introduced Passbook in iOS 6 they billed it as a way to store all your tickets, coupons, boarding passes, loyalty programs, and other cards all in one place. It's hard to imagine they expected that place to one day be Microsoft Wallet, but thanks to Windows Phone 8.1 that appears to be exactly what's happening.

Passbook passes are just collection of data that get rendered into a card and displayed in Apple's Passbook app. Think of the Passbook files like the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript data that makes up a webpage, and the Passbook app like the browser that renders the actual page. It looks like Windows Phone 8 is taking the same data and rendering a similar card out of it, and then pushing that card to Microsoft Wallet.

Apple code-signs their Passbook cards, and it's not yet clear if Microsoft is simply accepting Apple certificates or accepting any pass regardless of whether it's signed or not.

Apple also provides a push-notification-based service to update cards, like gates numbers on boarding passes or balance info on Starbucks cards. Windows Phone probably can't hook into that system so, if updates are possible, there'd have to be some Microsoft-specific support from the supplier, or laborious polling process in place.

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Summer is about to get a lot better now that we know of a new mobile game coming to Windows Phone, Android and iOS. Fans of the Age of Empires series will be especially excited to learn of a new game coming. Microsoft and KLab have announced Age of Empires: World Domination for mobile coming this summer.

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Ever since we posted the ‘all about’ Windows Phone Preview for Developers Program this week, we’ve been flooded with tips with many false positives. For instance, if you were not on build 10521 of Windows Phone 8, well, you got it after installing the Preview for Developers. No worries, nothing is new as it is just device/carrier specific fixes.

So when is the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers going live? It’s not today. It’s not tomorrow and it’s not this weekend. So you can probably stop hammering Microsoft’s servers with update inquiries.

Evidently, many of you are anxious because Microsoft lead Joe Belfiore took to the Twitters to calm the masses.

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