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The Windows Phone "Next App Star" contest is winding down with voting for the final four apps ending tonight at 11:59pm PST. After which voting for the championship round will take place from April 6th to 8th.

While the WPCentral app made it to the elite eight, we fell short to ProShot, who is now facing (and leading) Amazing Weather HD. On the other side of the semi-finals you will find Wikipedia leading Voice Translator.

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Yesterday, Facebook announced their much anticipated “Facebook Phone” aka the hilariously named HTC First, which turns out to be nothing more than a mid-range HTC device sporting Android 4.1 and yet-another-custom-skin. That skin simply features the most popular features of Facebook e.g. having it on your lockscreen, etc. but is it a game-changer? Not at all.

Indeed, after enduring the presentation, users familiar with mobile technology may have had a case of déjà vu as Zuckerberg and others focused on the “people first” aspect of their new money maker.  There’s little doubt that Facebook (and HTC) borrowed heavily from the Windows Phone philosophy of allowing your friends and family to be front and center on your phone versus “just more apps”. 

For two years now Microsoft has been pushing the “people first” slogan in mobile (they've have even filed for a patent!) and now it appears Facebook is going that route.

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Facebook is holding their "New home on Android" event in Menlo Park, California today and we're HALO dropping Phil Nickinson, Iron Man style, to bring you all the live coverage you can handle!

Personally, we don’t care for Facebook too much and Android while we have respect, is still too busy for our likes.  What could go wrong when you combine one messy UI/UX with another? We’re about to find out.

10am PDT, 1pm EDT. Join us here:

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Back In The Day is an interesting Windows Phone 8 app that lets you pull up photos or status messages from your Facebook account that were posted a year ago.

Back In The Day's interface is rather simple and straight forward. You have to sign into your Facebook account and give the app authorization to view your photos and status messages. Back In The Day does the rest by going back a year to see what you were doing.

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By now you should know that we’re not big Facebook users around here. Hey, if everyone can critique the stupidity of Instagram, we can do the same for Facebook. Regardless, we know many of you love the service and rely on it to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. So it’s exciting to see the app get a nice 0.1 update to version 4.2 today (last update was for 7.8 in December).

Unfortunately there is no change log with this update, as it instead relies on the old update info from when the app got some Windows Phone 8 features. Also a cursory look around the app did not reveal any major new features but figuring out the labyrinth like feature-set of the world’s largest social network is never easy to begin with.

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We could well be looking too much into something, but it's fun nonetheless. Nokia has published the above photo onto its Facebook account, which appears to be teasing solar charging for smartphones. The caption reads "Sun, sun, sun, here we come!" and we're not the first to question what exactly Nokia is teasing here.

Summer's well on the way (unless you live in England) and this would be a perfect opportunity to reveal solar technology on Windows Phones. Could Nokia simply be looking forward to picnics and the beach? Possibly, but then we already know the good weather will come.

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Shotly Golf (formerly Executive Caddie) has launched it's 2013 Masters Madness giveaway contest where over forty Windows Phone related items will be given away over the next thirty days. Prizes include Nokia Lumia 920s, Microsoft Surface RT tablets, Nokia Fatboy Charging Pillows and more.

To enter your chance at the giveaway, write a review (good or bad) of Shotly Golf in the Windows Phone Store then comment on the daily drawing post over on Shotly Golf's Facebook page with the word "done".

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Social Scout is a Facebook Places app for our Windows Phone that is designed to help you explore what is nearby, find places, check-in to places, and find where your Facebook friends are. The app is from JDB Pocketware, developers of HandyScan, and was recently updated to version 1.1.

The Version 1.1 update of Social Scout brings a handful of notifications options to the table that include notifications when friends check-in close to you and notifications for likes/comments to your check-ins.

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Nokia has launched Oreo Skies (think Oreo cookies) for Lumia Windows Phones. The app enables consumers to gaze to the stars (or the sun if you're using it during the day) and explore a map of stars and constellations. Messages can be sent to friends via Facebook, and the whole idea is really a social app for the massive network (it's also available via the website as an app, but asks users to download on their Lumia smartphones).

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JDB Pocketware, developers of HandyScan, has a new Windows Phone app over in the Windows Phone Store. Social Scout is a Facebook Places app designed to help you explore what's nearby, find places, check-in and find out where your Facebook friends are.

While not developed or owned by Facebook, Social Scout taps into Facebook Places and lays out everything rather nicely across pages that show what places are nearby, where your friends have checked into, and a More Page that lists your most visited places, your check-ins, a "Feeling lucky" tile that will randomly select a restaurant for you to try, and a one touch check-in tile.

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Earlier today, Facebook announced a new advanced search engine for users called Graph Search. The engine allows users to search content friends and others have shared in rather interesting ways.

For example, a phrase like “Friends who live in Los Angeles under 30” would produce a list of all your friends who currently live in Los Angeles and are under 30 years old. While Graph Search was built by Facebook, sometimes results from the web need to be pulled in to help add context to results. Facebook was planning on working with Google, but that plan fell apart over privacy concerns.

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Today sees an update go out for the Windows Phone 8 version of Facebook. The social networking app had been significantly updated for the latest version of the OS and now we reach version 4.1.0.0.

The battle to tame Facebook and shape it into a well-performing mobile app has been a long and difficult road. Windows Phone has always done a pretty good job of it but performance has always been a sticking point. That’s not to say Facebook have been very successful mobilizing their website themselves, other platforms have seen some dreadful implementations. Can the latest version for Windows Phone 8 be “the one”? Let’s find out.

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Rumors are circulating that Facebook is looking to purchase instant messaging mavens WhatsApp. No pricing of the acquisition or even confirmation of talks have been revealed, but TechCrunch seems convinced that something is brewing between the two companies.

Facebook famously bought Instagram for $1B not too long ago, although that number is mostly reflected in now devalued stock options. It’s not clear why Facebook would buy WhatsApp but there are a few possibilities, including augmenting or even gutting the unreliable Facebook Chat and there is of course the legion of WhatsApps users (who never fail to tell us there is an update for the app on Windows Phone, more on the below).

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Windows Phone Facebook icon updated

Microsoft has changed the icon used on Facebook for submissions published from a Windows Phone to the social network. We've grown accustomed to seeing a red Windows logo next to any status we send from the handset (via the People Hub), but now the new Windows logo in a purple theme replaces the dated branding. It certainly looks refreshing, but that's always the case with a visual change.

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