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Don't know what the word means? Just ask Cortana

As Microsoft and the Cortana team continue to refine the powerful AI and assistant, more features are slowly popping up online. A new one noticed by numerous people in our audience is definitions, powered by Oxford Dictionaries.

Load up Cortana and directly ask her 'What does _____ mean?' alternatively, 'What is the meaning of ____?' and the personal assistant from 500 years in the future pulls up a nice little card, complete with the word category and multiple definitions while exclaiming "I've found the meaning of…".

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A new firmware update for the Lumia 625, Lumia 925 and Lumia 525 started to roll out just over a week ago for a few users and with it came a small, but useful feature: static IP. The ability to set one's particular internet gateway and IP details is something nuanced, but essential for some users on various networks. Windows Phone's ability to support static IPs is as far as we know dependent upon the phone manufacturer as the OS itself does not have this baked in.

The firmware itself is slight, coming in at just 18 MB. It bumps the revision number from 1425.0002 to 1425.0003 on most devices, bringing the new static IP option, network+ option and some bug fixes, according to reader of the site Vinod K.

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When it comes to commercials for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone, as they say in Hollywood, everyone is a critic. Either the ad should be complex or minimal, long or short, everybody has his or her idea of what works.

Philippines-based Cherry Mobile is one of the more recent budget manufacturers to jump on the Microsoft train, and they seem to be going all in with their latest commercial.

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Microsoft is set to bring back the bundle deal with the Lumia 930 in the UK, according to Clove who also unveiled a price drop for the Windows Phone. This bundle will see purchasers receive not only the Lumia 930, but also the MD-12 wireless speaker and DC-50 portable wireless charger at no extra cost. It's a sweet package to get anyone started with Microsoft's mobile platform.

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The Lumia 1520, nearly ten months after release, is still wooing fans around the world. Partially due to its forward-thinking hardware and its unapologetic size, owners of the six-inch phablet tend to be very proud of the gargantuan Windows Phone.

Although full of pride, many Lumia 1520 users also have a sense of humor in regards to wielding such a massive device in public. Take, for instance, the following two videos made by WPCentral Forum member nickniko, which shows some humorous benefits in owning a coveted Lumia 1520.

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Usually when it comes to smartphone image leaks, it is the high-end flagships caught in a flash. A few days ago though, Celkon's new Win 400 was spied for the first time on Gizbot revealing its white or black color schemes.

If Celkon does not ring a bell, the company is yet another white-label, budget smartphone maker popular in India and other emerging markets. Back in June, the company came forward with an announcement for supporting Windows Phone, hot on the heels of fellow rival Micromax and Cherry Mobile.

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Microsoft has moved across the Lumia support section for software updates to its own website. Previously available on Nokia's online portal, it makes sense for Redmond to move things across post-acquisition of the Nokia handset division. Consumers interested in finding out just when they can expect to receive future updates will now need to head to Microsoft's website, or load previous locations to only be redirected across.

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Microsoft today held an event in Vietnam to launch the recently released Lumia 830. The more affordable mid-range smartphone matches the latest in Lumia design (the Lumia 930) with advanced components to produce a capable solution for today's needs and requirements. The Lumia 830 will set local purchasers back by VND 7,999,000 (about $380), which isn't a bad deal.

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OAuth, app permissions, and a false sense of security

Disclaimer

There is nothing new in this post. I'm just bringing this up now because a lot of people seem to not know the facts. It also has nothing to do with Windows Phone specifically, but rather pretty much every platform. The point of this post is not to spread FUD, but to remind people to not take security for granted.

OAuth

For those that don't know what OAuth is, it is an open standard for authorization. OAuth provides client applications a 'secure delegated access' to server resources on behalf of a resource owner. It specifies a process for resource owners to authorize third-party access to their server resources without sharing their credentials.

These days OAuth is used pretty much everywhere where an external client needs to login to some sort of service. You've used it with Google (I used it to upload the video in this post), Microsoft apps (Skype, Xbox Smartglass, Visual Studio), Twitter, Facebook, and countless others.

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Either HTC's Twitter account is drunk and spouting off random timeframes, or HTC and Sprint are really in no rush for to update their HTC 8XT, a custom phone that looks like a cross between the HTC 8s and HTC 8x.

Asked about the Windows Phone 8.1 update, and presumably not the capital 'U' version aka 8.1.1, and HTC responded to Aaron B. on Twitter with the succinct "You can expect the Windows 8.1 update to roll out to Sprint's HTC 8X in November." Note not by November, but in November.

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When Microsoft acquired the Nokia mobile division it bought the rights to the Lumia name, but not to Nokia, which lives on a separate company. In that sense, the notion that Microsoft eventually phases out Nokia branding from its products is of little surprise since they have to do it.

A new report from the site Geeks on Gadgets claim that this transition period takes effect as soon as the Lumia 730 and Lumia 830 hit the shelves. In other words, those will be the last Lumia devices with the Nokia name emblazoned on them. Considering Microsoft is not suspected of any new Lumias until 2015 – possibly with 'Threshold' – the effect will not be felt for some time.

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Hey guys, today Apple, announced two new smartphones – the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. For the Apple faithful, this is the one time of year they get to fawn over new tech. Whether we like it or not, the iPhone has always been a benchmark to compare against other smartphones. So how do the two new iPhones stack up technologically against some of the best new Windows Phones? Let's do a quick spec comparison and find out!

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This morning, Microsoft detailed plans to push their Bing apps, like Weather, Finance, Food, News, to the MSN branding. Microsoft started this process some time ago when they first ditched 'Bing' in the name of those apps, and instead kept them with just their category-generic names.

During the Microsoft #moreLumia event last week, I showed you folks how the Microsoft Weather app and Lumia Denim play nicer together. Specifically, Glance gets what look to be third-party app support, letting other Lock screen apps appear on the Glance screen (see it above on a Lumia 830).

I also dug deeper into the Weather app as it is called 'Weather beta' in the app listing. This section is where I first noticed the 'MSN Weather' name pop up as seen in the About section of the app.

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Although the Nokia Lumia 530, Lumia 520, and even Lumia 630 are making waves in the emerging and budget-phone markets, there are increasingly more players on the field thanks to Microsoft's loosening of hardware restrictions back in March. The latest to hit the streets is the Win JR from BLU, a popular Android budget phone manufacturer.

Amazon.com is now selling the brand new Win JR device in white for a single-cost of $89. This price is no contract, no commitments, unlocked, and the entire cost. So what do you get for less than $100?

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Although the Lumia 730, Lumia 735 and Lumia 830 are impressive from our first impressions, as always there are a few caveats about features that are not there. Now, before everyone gets in tizzy about missing features, Microsoft obviously does this to separate out value between devices, or more specifically, the more stuff, the more it costs.

After playing around with the both phones for a little while, we have a partial list of popular Lumia features that are not available. Although these are not 'make or break' features for most people, for some their absence could be a letdown.

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Besides the Lumia 730 and Lumia 735, Microsoft's other big news was the Lumia 830, which they tout as "an affordable flagship smartphone". Putting comparisons aside (it is cheaper than the Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5s), the Lumia 830 brings a lot to the table. Between its thinness (8.5mm), 10 MP PureView camera, Qi wireless charging or 5-inch 720P display, the Lumia 830 has a ton of potential.

Our hands on video with the Lumia 830 is coming up, but until then enjoy some of our photos of the device showing off that exquisite design. Bonus? Check out that new Glance screen that features Bing Weather (via a beta version of the app)!

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Nokia Lumia 730 and Lumia 735 photo gallery

This morning, Microsoft announced the budget-friendly 'selfie' phone aka the Lumia 730 (dual SIM) and Lumia 735 (4G LTE single SIM). Selling for around 200 Euro later this month, the follow up to the Lumia 720 looks to be an impressive and fun Windows Phone.

Shipping with Lumia Denim and Windows Phone 8.1.1, the Lumia 730 features an impressive 5 MP front-facing camera in addition to a 6.7 MP rear camera with an ultra-low F/1.9 aperture. Our hands on video is coming up soon, but for now you can check out our photos!

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Berlin, Germany – Invoking Cortana on Windows Phone is a straightforward affair with a single button press of the Search key (or swipe-down on the HTC One for Windows with Dot View case). However, newer technology found on the Xbox Kinect and some other Android devices is making the jump to Windows Phone: passive voice activation.

Arriving later this fall with the newly announced 'Lumia Denim' firmware update, some Lumias are getting the hands-free feature named 'Hey Cortana.' Users with smartphones featuring the Snapdragon 80x chipsets, like the Lumia 930, Lumia Icon, and Lumia 1520 can all take advantage of the Cortana extension.

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