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ICYMI: December 20, 2014

A lot can happen in a week. New apps join the Windows Phone Store or Windows Store. Your favorite apps can get a big update with a new look or new features. Device rumors come and go. Seven days might not seem like much, but it can be an eternity in the tech news cycle. Every week we're going to compile the biggest stories into one post, so you never fall behind – In Case You Missed It (ICYMI).

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Chalk it up under coincidence or perhaps a real serious bug after all, but after numerous tips and a few forum threads, users are reporting finicky behavior after installing – and using – theChive app for Windows Phone.

TheChive is a new official app from the website of the same name. Although it jokingly bills itself as the "probably the best app in the world" many users seem to think otherwise.

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Top Rated Windows Phone Holiday apps and games

Windows Central Roundup: Popular Windows Phone Holiday Apps and Games

Tis the season to be jolly and there are a boatload of Windows Phone games and apps available in the Store to help bring in the Holiday Spirit. From apps that countdown the time to games that feature the jolly old elf, the Windows Phone Store is quickly seeing Holiday apps and games popping up on the shelves.

We scoured the Windows Phone Store aisles for a handful of the top rated Holiday apps and games for this week's Windows Phone roundup. We'll also toss in a few games that are popular year round but recently received an update to give the title a little Holiday spirit.

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Microsoft's 12 Days of Deals may have come to an end, but the company isn't finished yet. The Microsoft Store website has launched its Super Saturday Deals promotion covering numerous products offered on the online store. For today only, you'll be able to enjoy a range of discounts on select products, just before the festive holiday arrives.

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Looking through the Windows Phone Store today will alert you to the fact that there doesn't appear to be unofficial Snapchat apps available for consumers to download. 6snap, arguably one of the most popular third-party apps for Windows Phone, has also disappeared. The developer, Rudy Huyn, took to Twitter to confirm that the app (among others) have indeed been pulled.

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There's so much good stuff on Xbox Music and Xbox Video. How do you keep up with what's new and worth checking out? You don't have to; we'll do that for you. Every Friday we'll grab the hottest albums and singles on Xbox Music. We'll also let you know what movies and television shows are out to watch on Xbox Video. It's the weekend, and we'll help entertain you.

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Words with Friends makes the jump to Windows

After a launch on Windows Phone, Zynga has finally made Words with Friends available for Windows 8.1. Now, you can challenge and chat with friends through the app on your laptop or Windows slate. The app also brings cross-platform compatibility to your gameplay so you can access all your games on all your devices.

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Evernote is adding what it calls "augmented intelligence" to Windows app with a feature called Context. Available to Evernote premium subscribers, Context essentially adds relevant contextual information as you're typing in your notes. These tidbits of information could be culled from existing notes that either were shared with you or were created in the past, along with external sources, like from The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, and Pando Daily.

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As Microsoft rolls out the Lumia Denim update, one feature those with newer Lumias are looking forward to is 'Hey Cortana'. Based on passive-voice activated technology similar to the Kinect, the forthcoming feature lets users call up Cortana by merely using their voice. The feature works even when the Lumia is in standby with the display off.

The images and accompanying video, shown below, come from the site MSFTPlace who picked up the Lumia Denim update on their Lumia 1520. As they note in their article, Hey Cortana is not yet available in Spanish, so they needed to change to English in order to enable the feature.

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The British arm of Staples has a deal so hot on a Windows tablet right now that we've not even had time to open the box before writing about it. Right now and for an unknown, yet likely highly limited time, you can pick up the Linx 8, 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet for £49.98. That's a £50 reduction on the regular price and it comes with a free years subscription to Office 365. Which is worth more than you'll pay for the tablet. But it doesn't stop there, either.

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We are continuing on with our 12 Days of Hidden Gems series this week. First we focused on the emerging world of IoT (the Internet of Things) with fitness accessories that work well with Windows Phone and Windows 8.1, and then took a look at the connected home. You can catch up on the articles to date on our Hidden Gems page.

Day 5 brings us to a couple of great apps for travel, Hilton Hotels and NOAA Weather. Combine them and you have a powerful set of tools for planning any adventure that might come your way.

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Looks like another Verizon phone is getting an update today. The HTC One (M8) for Windows is also getting some new firmware and an OS update if not on the Preview for Developers program. This news follows updates to the Lumia 822 and Lumia 928 announced earlier this morning.

The update bumps the OS to version Windows Phone 8.1.1 build 14203, and it also picks up new firmware, jumping from 10602 to firmware build 21705.

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Activision has released a trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's upcoming Exo Zombie mode. The mode, the first chapter of which debuts in January, is story-based, and features voice work from Bill Paxton, John Malkovich, Rose McGowan, and Jon Bernthal. The four star as untrained, unprepared employees of the game's fictional Atlas private military contractor. Exo Zombies will launch on Xbox platforms first.

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