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We’ve just reviewed Airport City, the latest Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 release from international publisher Game Insight. Observant readers will notice a pattern with Game Insight’s mobile Windows releases: three out of their four games are pure city builders. The fourth game Rule the Kingdom is sort of a city builder/RPG hybrid.

Clearly city building is Game Insight’s specialty – these titles are doing very well for them on Windows Phone and Windows 8. But you do need something to differentiate one of these games from the crowd, especially when they all come from the same publisher. As luck would have it, Game Insight’s next title Cloud Raiders adds something really cool to the mix: fantasy-based strategic battles. Read on for exclusive news and impressions!

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You’ve asked for it, and we’ve finally got around to doing it. Yes, the Windows 8.1 app for Windows Phone Central is nearing completion. Or at least complete enough show you the app in action as we prep for beta testing!

Although that beta isn’t starting today (we tried, we really tried!), it will be happening in the coming weeks. In the meantime, take a look at our video tour, hosted by your cherub cheeked developer, Jay Bennett, plus a few screenshots and photos of the app in action.

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Microsoft's Photosynth service has been available to the public since 2010, providing the ability to create 3D models from user uploaded photographs. The service has been using what they call "point cloud recognition" to see where images may align. Today, the company has announced a new preview that brings the service leaps forward. 

Essentially, the software can now create more immersive Photosynths using four basic techniques (or what Microsoft is calling "experiences"); they are spin, panorama, walk, and wall. 

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Starting later today, anyone can update their phone to Windows Phone 8 Update 3, as Microsoft announces new Preview Program

This morning, in addition to announcing Windows Phone 8 GDR3 (or just 'Update 3' as it is now being called), Microsoft has finally detailed their enthusiast update program so that owners of Windows Phone 8 devices can get the latest version of the OS without having to wait for OEMs or carriers. While technically designated for “developers”, anyone with a Windows Phone 8 device and a few minutes of their time can participate.

The program, detailed on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, will allow those who meet Microsoft’s loose standards to update to GDR3 starting later today. You read that right. The point of the program is to allow developers to try out their apps and optimize their code before the new OS goes live to millions of Windows Phone users, in addition to giving feedback to Microsoft.

Unofficially, it is meant to allow anyone to update their phones over-the-air to the latest version of Windows Phone 8, without carrier interference. 

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Users have been enjoying Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Consumer Preview over the last few weeks and now enterprise users get their turn. Today Microsoft announced availability for their Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview. The new enterprise build adds premium features to the platform that improve mobility, security, management, and virtualization.

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Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Consumer Preview introduced their latest version of the Trident based web browser, Internet Explorer 11. Today the company has released the developer preview of IE11 for those still on Windows 7.

Internet Explorer 11 promises to bring improved performance, faster page load times, new standards support for next generation sites, and a completely redesigned “F12” developer toolkit.

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We've got some interesting news for you, folks. PhoneArena has managed to get hold of the new ATIV S Neo, which will eventually be heading to Sprint. The Samsung Windows Phone was announced by the US mobile operator last month, showing signs of support for Microsoft's platform along with the HTC 8XT.

While not an entirely new ATIV product, Samsung has built on the strengths of the original ATIV S, offering Sprint customers something unique, but also familiar with Windows Phone 8. Think of the Neo as the Lumia 928 to the Lumia 920. It's part of the same family but with a different taste. If you own the ATIV S, you're not missing out. But if you're looking for a new Windows Phone, there's certainly a strong choice for you on Sprint.

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Robo & Bobo is a new Windows Phone 8 game that is just about clearing certification and should be live in the Windows Phone Store in the next few days. We've been playing with a beta version of the game and found Robo & Bobo to be a challenging, richly animated puzzle game for our Windows Phone 8 devices.

The story line has you playing the role of Robo, who is having his love for his teddy bear (that would be Bobo) tested by scientists. You have to program Robo's movements through series of mazes so he can be re-united with Bobo.  One wrong turn or one move too short and Robo will find himself in a bind.

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Microsoft’s security division has been fighting back hackers and botnets for years and now they want you to help out. The company is offering a variety of bounties for finding bugs and security flaws in a variety of software.

Windows 8.1 is the first on a list of bounty programs to launch on June 26th. Microsoft will pay up $100,000 USD to hackers who can showcase “truly novel exploitation techniques”. The company is serious about making sure Windows’ latest revision is released to the public without a hitch.

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We’re still here in London, playing around with the recently announced Nokia Lumia 925. We’re talking to Nokia about the device and learning all sorts of bits of information, which we’ll share later today. For now, you can feast your eyes on our hands on video and some high quality shots.

For those of you who dismissing this as just another 920, we’d suggest you reconsider. The phone feels like a Lumia 720 (which we love) but it has the 920 guts inside, making it a very compelling device for those who want a thinner, lighter phone. It’s not an iteration of the 920, but “another expression” of it.

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We told you earlier that we’d do an unboxing and give you our first impressions of Verizon’s new flagship Lumia, the 928. The device is due any day now on the carrier for $99 on contract and while it’s not the sexiest Lumia we’ve handled, as Han Solo once quipped: she has it where it counts, kid.

The Lumia 928 features a stunning 4.5” AMOLED display, the same highend PureView camera as the Lumia 920 but with a bonus Xenon flash, a high quality rear speaker with digital amplifier and a unique design that only Verizon users will get to experience. It’s a Lumia 920 but refined: thinner and easier to handle.

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Last night we cruelly teased about a potential way for Windows Phone 8 users to post to Instagram right from their devices. To be honest, we did that because it was just too late (too dark) to shoot video and yes, it was a good warm-up.

The good news is no, it is most definitely not a (late) April’s Fools’ joke. It’s 100% legitimate and yes, it will be submitted to the Windows Phone Store very soon.

Read past the break for our video walkthrough and images to serve as a teaser...

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One of the first and the best photo editing apps for Windows Phone, Pictures Lab, is getting ready to be updated to version 5.0 to better support the latest version of the mobile operating system.

The developers have been consistent in delivering updates since its release and with the latest incarnation we grab some performance improvements and support for all the Windows Phone 8 screen resolutions. Read on past the break for more details on this impending update!

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The details on this video are scarce but what we can tell you is this is evidently an early release of the Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade for the Nokia Lumia 900.

The video is all of 0:37 seconds, meaning an extensive tour of all the new features is out the door. In fact, there’s not too much one can glean from this outside of the fact that 7.8 looks fast and smooth on the 900. We do see a new Xbox icon and the tile resizing, but nothing else is revealed.

The good news is we probably only have another 60 days or so before we actually have this on our devices.

Source: PhoneCatTV (YouTube); via GSMArena; Thanks, AgentTheGreat, for the tip

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Nokia Lumia 820: First Impressions

Windows Phone 8 continues to provide us with new devices. While much attention has been given over to the Lumia 920, the 820 has some compelling features and specs that should appeal to many. Sharing some key specifications with the higher end Windows Phone 8 devices along with options for wireless charging and expandable storage it’s certainly worth a look.

I have been using one for a few hours and so would quickly like to share my thoughts on it before it gets a full review. Read on to see and hear more..

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It’s no secret that we’re fans of mapping applications and with Windows Phone 7 we had a very capable built in mapping app created by Microsoft themselves that used the Bing mapping at the backend. Since then Microsoft have switched Bing to use Nokia's mapping platform on the web and now with the latest version of Windows Phone.

With Windows Phone 8 we see a marked upgrade to the baked-in capabilities of maps, as Nokia have embedded their “where” platform right into the heart of the OS. Nokia have just updated their Nokia Maps app to 3.0 and with it we start to see some of the big improvements that these underlying changes to the OS will bring. We think you're going to like it.

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Reading news and articles on the go is a huge benefit to having a Windows Phone. These days there are a bewildering array of website specific apps, RSS readers, read it later clients and even tailored magazine apps to help sift through and read it all.

When mobile, being able to quickly check and access posts, articles and features from all your favourite websites can be tricky. One of the popular ways to pull all this content into one stream is by using the Google Reader service. NewsSpot is a slick Google Reader client for our Windows Phone that is due to receive an update towards the end of September that will bring some nice new features to the app. We had a chance to check out the latest beta of this popular client.

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Whilst at the Windows Phone Dev Day in Bournemouth we got a chance to meet Ross Gouldthorpe, who has been developing for Windows Phone for two years. Ross was kind enough to give us a walkthrough of his upcoming Windows phone game, Atoms.

The game is also currently in development for the Xbox 360 and has a Nintendo DS homebrew counterpart. The game Atoms has roots as an old Amiga game of the same name. It started life as freebie on the cover of a magazine, which is where Ross first discovered it.  Ross tells me he still has his Amiga machines but these days they are locked up in storage, he does still have the Amiga CD32 connected to his TV though.

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Microsoft has announced open enrollment for their 2012 (fall) Xbox LIVE update for the Xbox 360 console.

The new features for this update we revealed at E3 back in June are the ones coming for this update so getting a sneak peek is always a blast. Some of those new features for this preview include:

  • Internet Explorer for Xbox
  • Personalized dashboard recommendations
  • Enhanced category search and discovery features
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