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Xbox Live Anniversary

It might seem like only yesterday for some of us, but Microsoft’s Xbox Live service launched 10 years ago this month – a year after the original Xbox debuted. Xbox live was a major differentiator between the Xbox and the Playstation 2 and GameCube. Some PS2 games could connect to the internet via optional modem, but Sony’s console lacked a proper online system. Nintendo’s GameCube had only a handful of online games, something the big N did little (virtually nothing) to rectify with the GameCube’s successor, the Wii. Only the Xbox had a fairly standardized online system with each game required to support voice chat.

Ten years later, the Xbox 360 is the world’s most popular console (especially in North America) and the Xbox Live service extends to Windows Phone and Windows 8 games. Read on to discover Microsoft’s plans to celebrate the anniversary, including giving everyone a free XBLA game!

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The Nokia Lumia 920 Unicorn - Is it real?

It seems worldwide Nokia is having trouble meeting demand for their Nokia Lumia 920--whether it is for AT&T, Rogers or elsewhere, the device is increasingly hard to find. While we do think demand is strong, this is clearly not a case of such intense demand that Nokia can't keep up, rather it appears that Nokia can't produce them fast enough to even fulfill minimal requests by their carrier partners.

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Windows Phone 7.8, the elusive update that is coming to Windows Phone 7.5 devices is a tough nut to crack. Heralding back to the Windows Phone Summit in June, the only feature we really knew that was coming was the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen. But there have been rumblings (and hopings) for more to come in that update, even if just some little things...

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The poor Windows Phone Connector for Mac (now known as just 'Windows Phone') has always had issues since the app was made available on the Mac Store. Enabling the synchronisation between a Mac and Windows Phone, Microsoft was praised in allowing those who happen to own Apple computers to control what content is located on their mobile device. But it hasn't always been a rosy experience.

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Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Puzzles

When it comes to gaming on your Windows Phones, puzzle games are great options to help you pass the time. In this week's roundup we'll take a look at five of the top rated puzzle games that call upon your skills of evaluation, strategy and observation.

These are Windows Phone games that if you don't get things just right, you're doomed from the start.  Most are challenging, entertaining ways to pass the time with.  We pulled five titles from the best rated puzzle games in the Windows Phone Store.

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Windows Phone Central Forums Upgraded!

And we are BACK! After a few hours of planned downtime, we successfully pushed out a major upgrade to Windows Phone Central's forums tonight. The best Windows Phone community keeps on getting better! In addition to a ton of feature and design enhancements, we also reorganized the structure of the forums to make them more friendly to both new and existing members, and casual visitors browsing the forums while logged out.

The dust is still settling and we have some tweaks and finishing touches left to do over the next couple of days, but the forums are back online and can be put to use. If you come across any bugs or notice anything that seems out of whack, please be sure to report them on our WPCentral Forums Upgrade Bug Reporting thread. Keep reading for an overview of what's new, then hit the forums and take a tour. We're sure you'll love what you see!

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Service Alert - Windows Phone Store temporarily down

Just a mini-service alert, the Windows Phone Store (for at least those in the US) are having some issues that are "intermittent". Sometimes we can't even view and app let alone download it, yet other times we can get through (error code 805a01f7).

Needless to say it is annoying but Microsoft is aware of the issue and actively working on it. Best bet is just to give it a few hours while they figure it out and hopefully it'll get fixed right quick.

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* Update: Success! The forums are back online!! *

With the official launch of Windows Phone 8, our forums have been crazy busy these past couple of weeks. And to make them even better for our active user community that's growing larger every minute, tonight we're pulling the trigger and rolling out a bunch of awesome updates. 

We'll take the forums offline at approximately 8:30pm ET, and a few hours of downtime is expected while we go through the upgrade process. In the meantime, the rest of the site will still be fully usable.

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Details are murky but according to the site Naked Security, a young “ethical hacker" named Shantanu Gawde has created the world’s first Windows Phone 8 malware. The program can reportedly “…steal contacts, upload pictures and steal private data of users, gain access to text messages etc." and details about the exploit will be revealed at the Malcon security conference in New Delhi, India, later in November.

Gawde is evidently a well-known computer prodigy, being the world's youngest Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) at age 16. What is more impressive is that he earned that designation when he was aged 7. Microsoft has been made aware of the presentation but not the details and are promising action upon any weaknesses found, should they be revealed as legitimate concerns.

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Odds are if you're using Windows Phone that you're using SkyDrive, the cloud storage and syncing product from Microsoft. The file hosting service offers users access to their data through a web interface as well as clients for every major mobile or desktop operating system. The desktop clients in particular were released about six months ago and Microsoft has just shared in a blog post that usage has doubled.

Today, the team has also announced a few new features to the service that make using SkyDrive more powerful. Read on to find out what...

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Windows Phone Camera Faceoff: Nokia Lumia 900 and 920

What many may see as an unfair fight between Windows Phone cameras, some have asked how the Nokia Lumia 900 and Lumia 920 cameras compare. We took both Windows Phones out for a comparison shoot and the results weren't too surprising.

While the Lumia 900 has turned out to be a decent little camera, the Lumia 920 has an improved design and the Pureview software.  It's like comparing two sports cars with one having a nitrous booster installed and the other is stock.

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Halo 4: King of the Hill

Xbox 360 owners who migrated to Windows Phone have long lamented the lack of a proper Halo mobile game. Sure, we have Halo WayPoint and its SmartGlass-style connectivity with Halo Reach, but Microsoft has yet to show us the proper love of an actual Halo videogame. Hey, pretty soon that’s going to change… Sort of… Thanks to Halo 4: King of the Hill, an upcoming augmented reality app developed by AR specialist Ogmento and sponsored by 7-Eleven and Mountain Dew. Yup.

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Rogers set to get Nokia Lumia 920 in yellow too?

Rogers has earned themselves some angst from potential customers who want to pick up the new Nokia Lumia 920.  Between making unofficial/official announcements of selling the device (even boldly proclaiming to be the “first” like a child on the internet), they so far have failed to deliver. Stock is barely existent and when it can be found, customers get one choice of color: matte black. That’s especially bad since we all know the 920 comes in many more options.

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Nokia's 'Free Wireless Charger' page has been live for a while, but registration isn't quite ready / open yet. The Finnish manufacturer has however published the terms and conditions, which reveal exactly what will be on offer and who will be eligible for said free gear. Those who purchase either the Lumia 920 or Lumia 820 through Phones4u will be able to claim a free wireless charging plate.

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The Lumia 920 will be required to be rationed soon if Nokia can't produce enough to meet demand. We've seen retailers and carriers run out of initial stock. Whether this is down to high demand, limited stock or both, we're not sure but the Lumia 920 is proving to be a popular choice if the Exspansys UK Top 20 chart is anything to go by.

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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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Quick tip for Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8

This post started as a quick 30 second tutorial on how to make your music experience a bit better on your new device running Windows Phone 8. However, it kind of morphed into a bit of a rant about one aspect of Xbox Music. So sit back and read my thoughts and criticisms about the cloud collection or jump to the end for a quick tip that could save your sanity and help your wallet.

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HTC and Nokia set for patent wars

HTC can't seem to catch a break. Having only recently just settled with Apple over patent disputes, the Taiwanese company is preparing to battle Nokia over 32 different issues around the globe. The patent allegations range from syncing databases within a time to solutions with antennae design. If you're interested in the whole list of complaints, head over here.

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Verizon is still yet to begin shipping HTC 8X orders, and according to emails received by a handful of our readers who have kindly forwarded copies to us, there's a slight delay. The carrier is stocking both the HTC 8X and Lumia 822 Windows Phone 8 handsets in its smartphone line-up (with the Samsung Odyssey coming in the future).

Because the HTC 8X is slightly behind schedule Verizon is offering 30% off any case in its store as a token of appreciation while consumers wait patiently for their Windows Phones to arrive. Both devices are officially being made available tomorrow in stores across the US.

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The other day we saw part one of a Nokia Lumia 920 stress test where the phone was dropped numerous times onto concrete and survived with only some minor cosmetic damage. The same site is back with even more 920 tortures: keys, a knife and a mallet.

The video shows the gent trying to scratch the 920’s display and body with the keys, both lightly (as if in your pocket) and then deliberately. Both times the Nokia survived with out any damage.

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Verizon has just posted what was tacitly known already: Tomorrow, new Windows Phone 8 devices will finally go on sale in stores and online. 

We reported last night how pre-order shipments had already left their facilities, heading to people's homes for delivery tomorrow. Now, Verizon Wireless has posted that the HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia 822 will both be available in stores tomorrow for immediate purchase. Of course like all releases, they are caveats: the grey Lumia 822 and red 8X will only be available online...

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Nokia Lumia 920's battery problems related to NFC?

Yesterday, we mentioned that several readers were having terrible battery life with their Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone. Some batteries barely lasted half a day while others steamed on with fantastic battery life.

We had a few suggestions to disable the NFC to improve battery performance. Yesterday, with NFC enabled, my Lumia 920's battery only lasted six hours before drying up.  The 920 also got warm throughout the morning. Today, after disabling the NFC the Lumia had 62% battery life remaining after ten hours and I didn't experience any warm spells.

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