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No new Xbox Windows Phone game for the New Year

Shao-Lin's Road and Time Pilot MIA

It’s easier to criticize than compliment. Things we dislike stick out like a sore thumb. Also, I’m not too fond of sore thumbs! As you can tell, it’s time for some bad news and hand wringing. That’s because it looks like we won’t get either a new Xbox Windows Phone release or even a Deal of the Week to ring in the New Year.

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As we’re starting to return to full steam here at Windows Phone Central from the holiday season, we need to evidently begin reporting on the stupid again (thankfully it's not more Android-Nokia rumors). This time Forbes online contributor Tristan Louis is “predicting” that Nokia will exit the hardware business this year and sell off their assets to Microsoft and/or Huawei.

No evidence is provided, mind you. Not a single “unnamed source” or even the tried and tired “people familiar with the matter” go-to device for reporting on irresolute rumors.  And if you’re scratching your head at who Tristan Louis is or why you should care about what he writes, you’re not alone as we’ve never heard of him either (he’s evidently an “entrepreneur”, which we think means something along the lines as “guy with money”).

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The official AMC Theaters app for Windows Phone 7 was always a half way decent effort by the company to woo users from Fandango/Flixster to going through AMC directly. Initially, the biggest gripe we had was the lack of AMC Stubs support (their ticket rewards system) but that was evidently added back in October.

A few days ago though, AMC released a second version for Windows Phone 8 users. That’s a cool deal because it means the 7.x version can still be updated separately (most devs want to have just one app to maintain, not two). The Windows Phone 8 version though is quite fantastic for a few reasons..

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23

ThinkInvisible – Now available for Windows Phone

Touting itself as an optical illusion game, ThinkInvisible has recently landed on the Windows Phone Store after picking up some good reviews on both the iOS and Android platforms.

The game is designed to push your grey matter by getting you to recognise things from the smallest element of an image. The idea for the game is simple enough but the execution on the style and graphics makes this one worthy of checking out. Did we mention it’s free? Read on to find out more..

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Are you looking at new Windows Phone 8 devices for 2013? The Samsung ATIV S is available from O2 on contract from free when taken out with a plan worth £57 a month, or for £179 with an accompanied £16.50 plan. The high-end flagship Windows Phone is packed full of features that make the price point well worth the investment. We've taken the ATIV S for a spin for just over a week and have been impressed with what Samsung has produced.

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54

Beware the worst Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012

Yesterday we went over Windows Phone Central’s picks for the best Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012. It may not have been a stellar year, but we can certainly count 2012 as the best year for Windows Phone gaming so far. Narrowing down the finest games from nearly 50 weekly releases was no mean feat for someone who enjoys nearly every genre and approaches all games with love.

Still, no amount of optimism can overlook the turkeys that sometimes squeeze their way into the Xbox lineup. How do we spot these wretches? Well, broken Achievements, poor controls, and dysfunctional online components are all telltale signs of a game better left unreleased. That makes selecting the bottom of the barrel titles so much easier than choosing the top shelf games.

Head past the break for to learn how a bad game happens and Windows Phone Central’s Worst Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012!

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If you're looking for a new Xbox Live Avatar prop, you may want to check out the Xbox 360 Sales and Specials app. In the Chain Reaction section, the Toy Soldiers bi-plane avatar prop is free.

As an added bonus to the free Avatar prop, the prop does carry over to your Windows Phone Gaming Hub.

If you aren't familiar with or downloaded the Sales & Specials app on your Xbox 360 console, finding this section can be a bit of a challenge.

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39

Microsoft launches new Windows 8 commercials

We're entering into 2013 and Microsoft has already displayed signs of the company continuing to push on with its marketing campaign for its Windows family of products - namely Windows 8. A batch of new commercials have been released on its YouTube channel, with the first featuring the track "Everything at Once" by Australian singer Lenka. 

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As Chinese stores are beginning to get the new generation of Lumia devices in tiny, tiny trickles, consumers who are lucky enough to secure a phone or two in the extremely limited supply have found a pleasant surprise: the phones are coming with a much called for feature, which is call & SMS blocker.

The stealing and selling of private information has always been a big problem in China. It's developed into a full fledged industry. Occasionally even employees of ISPs, mobile carriers and banks are caught selling their customer information in bulks. What follows immediately is spamming, quite precisely targeted, coming through all sorts of channels in bulks.

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Microsoft has posted a "Best of 2012" app collection in the Windows Phone Store. The "Best of 2012" list includes thirty apps and games such as Wordament, Weave, ARMED!, Weather Flow and a local favorite... the official Windows Phone Central app!

We have to tip our hat to Jay Bennett for burning the midnight oil on several occasions to develop and update a really nice app. We also would like to thank you, our readers, for helping make the app and the website as successful as it is.  2012 has been a whirlwind of a year and it's nice to see it end on such a high note.

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If you're still wondering how well the optical stabilization works on the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone, we ran across a video using the Lumia 920 as an action cam over in the Windows Phone Central Forums.

According to the discussion, Windows Phone Central reader Allen Balkema strapped his Lumia 920 to his helmet and took it out for a spin through the woods on his four-wheeler. While the helmet mount didn't place the Lumia 920 at the best angle, you can tell from the video that the optical stabilization worked nicely.

Balkema feels that the Lumia 920's video performance was smoother than what he's seen from the GoPro HD Hero 2 action camera. You can catch the full fourteen minute video in this WPCentral.com Forums discussion.

Thanks, Allen, for sharing!

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46

The best Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012

For many gamers, Xbox Live functionality is one of Windows Phone’s most compelling selling points. Windows Phones allow people who already own an Xbox 360 to log in with their existing Xbox Live/Microsoft ID and receive instant access to their Xbox Live profiles, friends lists, messages. Existing users can customize their Xbox avatars directly from their phones, while new users can create them. The SmartGlass app can even sync with a handful of Xbox 360 games and apps right now, with more titles to support SmartGlass in the future.

Sure, you can many of those features on iOS as well, but they aren’t nearly as integrated as on Windows Phone. Most of the functionality is built right into WP8; WP7 users need the Xbox Live Extras app. The SmartGlass app requires a quick download on both WP7 and WP8. After that, you’ll find it all conveniently located in the Games hub.

Head past the break for more of Windows Phone Central’s Xbox Live primer plus our picks for the best Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012!

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Want to update your Lumia 920 early? Read below on getting started, including the risks.

Although folks on Rogers and AT&T have successfully received the Windows Phone “Portico” and firmware updates for their Nokia Lumia 920s, there’s a good chunk of the rest of the world who has not. In fact, the plan is not roll out that update for another month or so, which is a bummer for those looking to improve their camera or get new features.

What follows down below is a very detailed and well written guide on how to manually update your Lumia 920. The information is actually well known and many of us have used the same “system” for updating our previous Lumias, but this one is clearly written and regularly updated. Started in our forums by Nabkawe5, it’s one of our hottest threads.

But first, we need to explain a few things…

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This weekend Microsoft experienced a problem with their Xbox LIVE Saved Cloud Games service, causing some gamers grief as they could not save their progress to the cloud or access previous saves. Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson reported early this morning that the problem been resolved and that those affected would be given a free month of Gold service for their troubles. Microsoft's General Manager of Xbox Live, Alex Garden, sent out an apologetic email trying to reassure users that this will not happen again.

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Finland Formular 1 racing driver Heikki Kovalainen has published some photos taken on a Nokia Lumia 920 to Twitter. That's not entirely 'newsworthy' on its own, right? Well, Kovalainen subsequently replied to a tweet sent from a follower, asking if the shots were taken with a Nokia Lumia smartphone, with positive feedback on experience with the camera. 

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We trust you've all had an eventful festive holiday and that the New Year will hold many good times ahead. Here at Windows Phone Central we've been busy bees throwing up content to push us into 2013 and our community forum hasn't seen a dip in activity either with a number of threads and posts being accumulated. So what's been happening?

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Nokia Russia has published a video on its YouTube channel that runs through the manufacturing and installation of wireless charging units in partnered coffee shops. The company has entered into a partnership with the Red Espresso chain of coffee shops in Moscow to offer wireless charging stations for customers to charge their smartphones and other devices.

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Official PayPal app for Windows Phone updated

eBay has released an update for its PayPal app, which is available for both Windows Phone 7.x and 8. Unfortunately, as per usual, there's no changelog available for consumers to view what's new in the latest release. At least the app is still present on the store and can be downloaded by all.

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IM+ Pro released for Windows 8

Shape has released IM+ for Windows 8 to compliment the already available free IM+ app on the platform. The pro version of the popular messaging service sports a number of features that aren't available in the standard free app that's available. In both apps, major IM services are supported, including MeinVZ, Jabber, Fetion, Renren, SINA Weibo, Mamba.Ru, Yandex chat and more.

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Windows Phone Central Year Ending App and Game Roundup

The New Year is soon approaching and with Christmas out the way it's time to look at filling your brand new Windows Phone with apps and games, but what are the 'must-haves' for heading into 2013? Windows Phone Central has now published highly recommend choices that offer unique functionality, features and experience for consumers.

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Notifications for Windows Phone 7 hits the Store

For those looking for a notifications center, you might be in luck. Notifications is now available in the Windows Phone Store that should do the trick.

The downside to Notifications is that it's only available for Windows Phone 7.x devices (not sure about 7.8 devices though). The developer is trying to rectify that but it'll take some time.

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