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It’s been a few weeks since Nokia published a batch of exclusive Xbox Windows Phone games: the fine Vampire Rush and much less fine Storm in a Teacup. Since then, former Nokia exclusives Risk and Connect 4 became available to all Windows Phone users, knocking the number of Nokia exclusives down by two.

Clearly Nokia believes we Lumia owners need lots of stuff to brag about beyond the generally beautiful looks of our phones, and so they’ve just thrown a couple more exclusives our way in order to balance things out. Today we get DaVinci Pinball from Chillingo and Monopoly Millionaire from EA.

Both games are interesting in their own ways, but Monopoly Millionaire especially so because it’s the first Nokia exclusive Xbox game that requires Windows Phone 8 (and 1 GB of RAM). Could this mean we’ll start seeing more EA games that take advantage of Windows Phone 8’s increased horsepower? I hope so! Check out our impressions of both titles after the break.

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Beem for SKY.FM struts onto the Windows Phone Store

A lot of you are fans of Beem, a Digitally Imported client for Windows Phone. But what if you’re not really into the bass drops and seizure inducing music? Den Delimarsky, the lone wolf developer behind Beem, has a new Windows Phone app for music lovers – Beem for SKY.FM.

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Get up to design speed with this handbook for Windows 8

We don’t cover too much on the topic of design around here, but this was too handy to pass up for developers looking to do more with Windows 8. Ratio Interactive (http://www.ratiointeractive.com/) is a digital agency up in Seattle that makes various apps for companies across a lot of platforms.

But lately they’ve been doing some kickass work with Windows 8 apps. Between running contests around app design and actually making apps (AllRecipes and various Conde Nest properties) they know a thing or two about Windows 8.

So here’s a handy handbook for Windows 8 design from the Ratio Interactive team.

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Level with me, you go on other forums besides ours here at Windows Phone Central. You might like BMWs and frequent Bimmerforums. Or you’re a Bronie and frequent MLPForums, it's ok, we really won’t tell anyone about that one. For our forums you can just use our app for great access on the go, but for other forums you’ll need an app like Board Express or Foroplex. The only problem with Foroplex is that it won’t be getting many updates in the future.

But that’s a good thing because an official Tapatalk app for Windows Phone is coming.  

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We're not talking patents, but Nokia has dealt yet another blow to HTC. The Finnish handset maker has been granted a preliminary injunction by the Amsterdam district court, regarding technology utilised by HTC in its flagship device - the HTC One. It's boasted that the HTC One sports high-amplitude microphones, but this is the same dual-membrane technology that Nokia uses in its Lumia family of Windows Phones (we've even looked at the Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X recording a live event).

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Cut the Rope: Experiments is a fun Xbox Live game for your Windows Phone 7.x and 8 devices. It hit the Windows Phone Store last week for $2.99 and today, the price has been cut to $.99.

The sequel to the original Cut the Rope has a mad scientist putting the title character, Om Nom, through a wide range of scientific experiments. Cut the Rope: Experiments brings 150 levels of game play to your Windows Phone and at only $.99 may very well be a steal of a deal.

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Reports are in that the popular Windows Phone enthusiast software Navifirm can no longer access Nokia servers to display stored firmware. The Finnish handset maker previously revealed in January that access would be restricted by the end of that month. Three months later and we're now at the point where error boxes plague the user experience, reporting unauthorised faults.

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Microsoft is set to reintroduce the famous Windows start button in Windows 8, according to sources familiar with company plans. A report over on The Verge points at Windows 8.1 (aka "Blue") as to when consumers will be able to see a start button in desktop mode without utilising third-party software. The only downside is it's noted the button will simply take the user back to the start screen and not fire up a menu.

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From the Editor's Desk: Get ready for #TM13!

Long time readers of any and all of our Mobile Nations sites will remember the Smartphone Round Robin. It was a cross-site editorial event where we took a break from our regular day to day beat, swapped phones, and sounded off on the competition in an unbiased fashion.

It was a great event, we loved it, you loved it, and you've been bugging us literally daily to do it up again. And we have been listening. It's coming. And soon! We have re-envisioned the event, bigger and better and more suitable to the state of mobile in 2013, and we're going beyond our in-house team this time around. Hit up the video above to get a gander at our awesome hosts! :)

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This Week: Purchase the DICOTA Hard Cover for Nokia Lumia 900 and save $12.99!

Made of impact resistant hard plastic, the DICOTA Hard Cover follows the shape of your Nokia Lumia 900 for a perfect fit. The stylish patterns let you add a personal touch to your device while keeping a slim form factor. There are cutouts for all the ports and buttons, allowing you full usage of the device without removing it from the case. Color options include purple and blue.

List Price: $19.99     This Week: $7.00

Learn More and Buy Now

Never miss a deal. Sign up for Weekly Deal alerts

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Over the weekend, we wrapped up our ‘How Microsoft can save Xbox games on Windows Phone’ series with a Microsoft video interview that we’d been saving for just such an occasion. That video focused exclusively on the Xbox Windows Phone issues raised in our editorial series, but it didn't exactly put our concerns to rest. All we Xbox enthusiasts can do is keep pushing the editorials and issues with Microsoft until finally the right people realize the need for improvement and start effecting changes.

And while many of those issues have yet to be resolved, I’d be hard-pressed to claim that Windows Phone gaming has not improved since the debut of Windows Phone 8. Game development is easier than ever, and many companies who ignored Windows Phone 8 are now onboard for 8. When we sat down to talk with Microsoft's Larry Lieberman, Senior Product Manager and Casey McGee, Senior Marketing Manager, our first subject of business was all those recent advances that make Windows Phone gaming better than ever.

Head past the break to learn just how things are looking up and see the second part of our video interview!

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The popular and well-rated stock portfolio management app for Windows Phone has received a major update and is now on version 3. We've previously praised the work by the developer, who managed to create a beautiful experience for those who are interested in checking out the markets, or who have a heavy inventory full of stock. So what's new in this latest release?

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Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No, it's a QWERTY Nokia mobile phone. The company has shared the above image alongside the teasing of an announcement, which will be published this coming Wednesday (April 24th). Has Nokia produced a QWERTY Lumia Windows Phone? We're going to say that's a negative. An Asha product is more likely.

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Phone Search is a Windows Phone 8 and 7.x app that lets you search your calendar and contacts from a central location.

You can search by keyword, address, phone book, date and all the details of your calendar and contacts will be scoured. If your search yields no results, you will be given the option to search the web via Bing.  Your last ten searches can be saved and search terms can be memorized so that it can be shown when the app restarts.

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Developer? Take a 10-minute online survey and you could win great prizes! Results will be freely available in June via @visionmobile.

Our friends at Vision Mobile reached out to let us know they're once again running their Developer Economics survey. 

The Developer Economics research series, now in its 5th year, examines top mobile platforms, app monetization & many more key issues for developers today. The results from the surveys are released as publicly available reports.

If you're an app developer, take the new Developer Economics 10-minute survey, have your say on the latest trends in mobile development and you can also win great prizes!  

Prizes this year include a Samsung Galaxy SIII, a BlackBerry Z10, Lumia 920, AR Drone, Nest thermostat and Nike Fuel band up for grabs!

Take the Survey!

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We’re not actually huge fans of Waze (www.waze.com) but we sure know a lot of you have been yearning for it on Windows Phone. The popular navigation-traffic-social app allows drivers to keep up to date on traffic conditions, detours and anything else worth self-reporting to others. We saw a sanctioned homebrew project for Windows Phone way back in 2011 that used Waze’s data, but it was far from perfect and quite clunky.

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Although the year got off to a rocky start with an extended Xbox game release drought, the Xbox Windows Phone gaming situation has actually been looking up since February. Gameloft’s highly anticipated Windows Phone 8 titles finally started rolling out, and some weeks saw two Xbox games released instead of just one.

Don’t think we’re out of the thicket just yet. The Xbox Live certification process continues to cause games like Cut the Rope: Experiments to come out much later than on other platforms, and meaningful title updates come just as late or not at all – both Windows Phone Cut the Rope games are missing levels that iOS and Android already get to enjoy. Microsoft’s solution to this problem seems to be encouraging big games like Temple Run to release as indie titles in order to circumvent the Xbox Live certification process. Because why bother fixing a broken system?

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Rum Run updated with a plethora of new features

Rum Run, a popular game for Windows Phone, has been bumped to version 1.5. The latest release includes a number of updates that will improve the experience of the strategy game. So what's Rum Run all about? We reviewed the title a while ago, but if you're not familiar the story puts the player in the role of a ship captain who is tasked to deliver food to a starving village. Sounds dangerous, right?

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Head in to conference calls often? You might want to give Nokia Conference for Windows Phone a try. It's an app that's currently available as beta on Nokia's Beta Labs, enabling consumers to quickly join calls without having to jump in to the calendar app, remember ID / PIN numbers, switching to the phone app, dialling out the number and entering codes. 

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Last night as I was loading up a few apps on my phone I hit an anomaly: I was asked to buy Amazing Weather HD. Why is that odd? Well, Amazing Weather (along with Weather Flow) is one of my top apps and I bought it the day it came out, months ago.

As it turns out, it appears that this is becoming a widespread problem with the Windows Phone Store, a return of a similar glitch that hit Windows Phone 8 users last fall. That issue was much more frustrating though as it hit a lot of apps, depending on your purchase history.

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The official National Rail Enquiries app for Windows 8 has been updated. The app was previously bumped to include numerous new features that consumers could take advantage of. The change log remains the same on the store listing, so we can only speculate that this latest release is a minor update to fix some bugs and implement improvements.

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If you're not familiar with Indigo, you should be as we've covered it numerous times already. It's a cross-platform personal assistant for both Windows Phone and Android. We first looked at the upcoming app back at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. We then covered news that the company behind Indigo, Artificial Solutions announced that April 23rd is the date when the app will be released for Windows Phone and Android.

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