Australia

Microsoft and the government of Queensland, Australia have signed a deal to deploy Office 365 to 149,000 employees. It's a move set to enable the government to remain up-to-date with the latest versions of Office, making it much easier for administrators and employees to manage installations. We've previously looked at Microsoft comparing features in Office Apps to the likes of Google Docs.

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Australia's Commonwealth Bank (CommBank) has released a brand new official app for Windows Phone. The bank hasn't paid much attention to the platform with its sub-par app, but this update is certainly a notable upgrade -  version 2 is essentially a complete rewrite. If you've held off previously, you may wish to slide on past the break to see what's new.

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Although the Nokia Lumia 1520 just launched here in the US, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world can’t have it. This morning, the new massive device has been announced officially for Australia and Malaysia, arriving in the next few weeks. That's on top of general UK availability announced too.

First up is Australia. We first reported over the weekend that the device was headed to retail outlet Harvey Norman and sure enough they’re the exclusive launch partner. Expected to be available in early December, the Lumia 1520 with a 1080P 6-inch display will fetch for AUD$899 and includes a free $20 app voucher for the Windows Phone Store with every purchase until 15 January 2014. That’s a similar promo to what is offered here in the US for the same phone.

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Dell has launched the refreshed XPS 15 Windows 8 laptop in Australia. The laptop may look relatively similar, and so it should as it shares its looks with the Dell M3800. The new XPS 15 starts at $1,799 (AUD) and comes with a 1080p display and 8GB RAM. However, if you wish to go all out with the 3200x1800 QHD+ models, be prepared to part with at least $2,499. It's not a cheap investment.

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The world cried together when Nokia announced the Lumia 1020 as an exclusive on AT&T the world. Why limit the smartphone with the best camera to one carrier in one country? Thankfully that exclusivity was only timed and slowly the device began appearing around the globe. The device was recently delayed on Telstra in Australia, but is now back on track. It’s also now available to the people of Taiwan. Details below.

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Today was supposed to be a joyous day for Telstra customers, a day that they could pre-order the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows phone. Sadly, however, Telstra has run into a software issue on their Lumia 1020s that is bad enough to postpone the release indefinitely, forcing Telstra to cancel all pre-orders for the Nokia flagship phone. Thankfully, the news isn't all bad. As a result of the cancelations, Telstra has generously shipped out free Nokia Lumia 520 smartphones to those who pre-ordered the Lumia 1020.

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While Telstra is due to launch the Nokia Lumia 1020 in Australia any day now (still not showing up on their website), Expansys-Australia is offering the 41MP Windows Phone now.

Expansys-Australia is offering the unlocked version of the Lumia 1020 for $878.38 Australian (about $821 US). Expansys is offering the unlocked Lumia 1020 in white, black and yellow with all three showing "in stock now".

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The HTC 8X is going through some bad times it would seem. The Windows Phone isn’t faring well with the latest GDR2 update from Microsoft. Vodafone AU has already skipped the update and is instead heading straight for GDR3, and it seems Telstra is also following suit. The mobile operator has revealed on its website that consumers will be able to look forward to a future rollout.

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The Nokia Lumia 625, featuring a nicely sized 4.7-inch display and a 1.2GHz dual core CPU is certainly an interesting phone. Its budget priced and lacks a lot of the high end features of its Lumia brethren and yet it’s still in a category all its own due to that screen size, large battery, microSD expansion and premium Nokia feel.

Telstra began selling the Nokia Lumia 625 at the end of August, while some third-party retailers had it a few weeks earlier.

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Vodafone Australia has released some details surrounding the mysterious GDR2 Windows Phone software update for the HTC 8X, which has been in the news recently. It turns out the manufacturer is skipping the operating system update from Microsoft. This is due to HTC 8X customers getting in touch with some issues since updating their smartphones. 

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Microsoft has announced a handful big names that are on the way to the Windows Phone and Windows stores. The same comment has been made many times before, "the Windows ecosystem is empty." Hopefully this collection of apps for Australia will help provide functionality and warm consumers to the switch. It's worth noting that we've managed to find a few of them on the stores already, but the rest may be stuck in store approval somewhere.

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Heading into the last quarter in 2013, it is becoming increasingly clear that Windows Phone is now solidifying itself as the third alternative for smartphones (see the latest IDC report). While sales are still miles behind iOS and Android, Windows Phone as a platform is finally being treated more equally by retailers and consumers.

Part of that apparent victory, in typical Microsoft fashion, is due to missteps by Redmond’s competitors. Years ago, BlackBerry (then called RIM) basically owned the enterprise market. Fast forward to 2013 and with BlackBerry 10 on the market with a handful of new devices, it’s becoming clear that it’s just not enough to regain that momentum.

The site IT Wire has performed some store-checks for the new BlackBerry Q10 and Z10—two devices we actually own and occasionally use ourselves. The site tried to get a statement from Australia’s telco’s Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone but received no comment about those BlackBerry sales. Not hindered, IT Wire then spoke with Harvey Norman, Optus and Telstra franchises for their opinions on BlackBerry’s prospects.

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The Nokia Lumia 1020 has to be one of the most unique smartphones available on the market today. Slowly being launched and teased, many markets are still waiting to see the smartphone made available at retailers and other sources. Today we've learnt that consumers in Australia shouldn't be waiting for much longer.

According to WPDownUnder, the Nokia Australia Facebook page has teased that the Lumia 1020 could well be coming within the next 2 months.

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