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Apparently Microsoft aren't the only ones with a new rapid release cycle! Somehow today I get to announce a third update to the official Windows Phone Central app in the same number of weeks. Before anyone gets too excited though, this one is just a quick tune up to the v4.3 feature set, fixing two important bugs and finally bringing forum likes to Windows Phone 7 users.

Yes, we figured out why the Tapatalk API wasn't allowing the WP7 build to send like requests in our forums and that has now been resolved. Still, this isn't the most exciting update, but you can find the change list after the break or download from the marketplace right here (it should be showing up as version 4.3.15).

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In just two days the United States will be celebrating her independence. To celebrate, Nokia and Internet Explorer are teaming up to solve a problem a lot of parties encounter – what music to play. And their solution looks awesome. Nokia Mix Party is a new way for groups of people to work together on choosing what music to listen to. How does it work? What do you need?

Details after the break. 

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If we had to name one of our top apps, at least on a Nokia Windows Phone, Creative Studio would be up there. That’s because we take a lot of pics with our Lumia, so it makes sense we’d want to tidy up things a bit and maybe even play around with some different effects.

Today, Creative Studio received a minor update from 5.0.7.6 to 5.0.8.67 and as far as we can tell, there is no discernable difference in terms of features, but it we had to guess Nokia fixed or tweaked something that was causing some issues.

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A little over a month ago we showed you guys I’m Here for Windows Phone. It’s a unique app that takes something your phone can do out-of-the-box and expands on it. Your Windows phone is pretty good at sharing your location to anyone you want, but it does have a few limitations. I’m Here was recently updated with some welcomed additions for the international crowd. Let’s check it out.

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While analysts are stating that Microsoft’s Surface isn’t doing as well as hoped, yesterday the Redmond technology company stated that they have “had a LOT of interest from businesses, schools and universities wanting to use Surface.” Today, Surface is currently available in 29 different markets and over 10,000 physical stores worldwide.

Three major announcement about Surfaces availability in the USA, commercial partnerships, and education were announced.

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Windows Phone 8’s multiplatform game engine support has improved steadily since the mobile OS’s launch at the end of 2012. Developers have access to several middleware options: Unity, Havok, Marmalade, and Autodesk Scaleform, all in various degrees of commercial readiness. And now Havok has taken their support a step further with the release of Project Anarchy.

Project Anarchy is a complete end-to-end mobile 3D game production engine. It packs four of Havok’s core software releases into one powerful suite – basically everything you’d need to create a 3D mobile game. Games created with Project Anarchy can then be deployed to multiple platforms with a minimum of effort – including Windows 8. Full Windows Phone 8 support is scheduled for release later in the year, but developers can contact Havok now to request beta access.

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Windows Phone 8 launched over half a year ago and the message was clear from both HTC and Nokia. Devices were going to be loud, colorful, and playful. They were to be an expression of the operating system they housed inside. The HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia 920 led the charge of premium handsets we could choose from. Both OEMs have recently been recognized for their work by the industrial design community. They did it by taking top spots in the communication tools category at the International Design Excellence Awards.

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Swapchat, if you're not familiar with the name, is an unofficial Snapchat client for Windows Phone. We previously looked at the app when it was released on the Windows Phone Store, joined by a free version. The developer published version 1.2 to the store, which addressed numerous minor bugs and fixed some problems, but today we've got version 1.3.

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Remember the Xbox 360 Ultimate Game Sale from back in February? Microsoft slashed the prices on more than 20 Games on Demand (downloadable versions of full retail titles) throughout the week, with a different selection of games on sale every day. And now that sale is back again just 4-5 months later. Could it have something to do with Microsoft wanting to sell as many Xbox 360 games as possible before the Xbox One shows up later this year? Does a frog bump its butt when it hops?

On top of that, today happens to be the first day of the month. And that means Xbox Live Gold members get a new free game! Last month it was Fable III, and this month everyone expected Assassin’s Creed II or Halo 3 (both Games on Demand titles) to go free. But life would be boring if everything went to plan, and so Microsoft has made an XBLA game called Defense Grid: The Awakening from Hidden Path Entertainment free instead.

Quick impressions and a full list of sale games after the break!

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Top Windows 8 games for the "hardcore" gamer


Windows Phone Central Roundup: Windows 8 Games

When people think of tablet games, they can’t help but bring to mind apps like Angry Birds, Temple Run, and Bejeweled. Gaming on Windows 8 can be more than just flinging neon colored birds at green pigs though. Whether you want to blast away zombie guts or put some pedal to the medal, here are eight Windows 8 video games sure to bring out the gamer in you.

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Sphero SDK coming for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8

Last week at //BUILD/ we had the chance to see something pretty cool. It was an early look at the work Orbotix was doing with Windows 8 and their robotic gaming system Sphero. The team is working on making an official SDK for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Not sure what Sphero is? In short, it’s awesome. Details after the break.

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Windows Phone has plenty of solid Twitter clients, enough so that everyone should be able to find what matches their personal preference. Twabbit is one of our top favorite apps as it’s fast, looks great and comes chock full of features.

Normally, Twabbit runs from the $0.99 to $1.49 range, but with the latest update that rolled out on June 26th, the app has gone free for a limited time.

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Windows Phone 8 is reportedly set to go to “full HD” with a 1080x1920 resolution later this year, an update that will come with the GDR3 OS refresh presumably for OEMs.

Now, Justin Angel, who used to work with Microsoft and Nokia, has managed to dig up some emulator files for Windows Phone that coincidentally support that 1080P resolution. The files come by way of Visual Studio 2013, which was previewed at Build last week.

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Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment unit, is leaving the company, according to a report over on AllThingsD. Multiple sources close to the situation have confirmed that the high-profile executive is close to snapping up a position at Zynga. The studio is currently struggling against waning consumer business on the web and Facebook while slowly transitioning to mobile. The company has had to work through layoffs and the closure of offices outside its San Francisco headquarters.

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Any journalist, blogger, or business owner knows that purchasing image rights can be an expensive process. Many of us turn to websites like Flickr to search for photos with Creative Commons licenses that allow commercial usage. Starting today, Bing is offering the same ability – to search by license types.

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We made mention the other day of Dark Lands, a Windows Phone game under development and sponsored by the Microsoft/Nokia AppCampus. Dark Lands is an infinity running game with a combat and RPG element.

In a nutshell, you run your character through various obstacles, collecting gems to use for upgrades and stopping along the way to battle monsters, soldiers and other enemies. We've gotten our hands on a short video snippet of game play and again, the game looks good.

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Do you ever play Xbox 360 and wish you had a controller to match the spinning gold rims on your decked out automobile? Well, if you do – you are in luck! Microsoft announced today via Major Nelson’s Blog that an Xbox 360 special edition chrome series gold wireless controller (wow, that is a mouthful) will be released in August for $54.99.

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When Fhotoroom passed the 2,000,000 download mark we briefly mentioned an update was in the works for the Windows Phone 8 version. Well that update went live today.

The version 8.5 update moves Fhotoroom away from HTML 5 for a more pure, native app experience. Fhotoroom also adds integration with Instagraph to allow you to share your edited images to Instagram.  You still have direct sharing with Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.  When  you choose Instagraph in the sharing options you'll be sent to the Instagraph app where you can crop, add filters, add hashtags/captions and upload the image to Instagram.

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The popular cross-platform title Mini Dash has arrived on the Windows Phone Store. Much like Death Worm, developer PlayCreek has ported across another well-rated experience. It's no Xbox Live title, but what we're looking at here is a sweet little gem that's definitely worth checking out, folks. If you've come to Windows Phone from another platform you may already be all over this game, but if not do read on.

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Microsoft has continued to run the Facebook beta program over the last two months. You know, that new Facebook Beta app that keeps getting updated. The company has now announced that Facebook 5.0 for Windows Phone 8 is now available as a public release. If you've not been using the beta, you're in for a treat as this upgrade sports numerous improvements and new features that testers have been utilising for the past few months.

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Just moments after we posted about a 256 GB Surface Pro showing up on CDW’s website for $1,199, we have received word from a Microsoft source that the company is in fact gearing up to launch the new tablet SKU officially.

At this time we have no further information except that Microsoft has been “prepping for this announcement” and the release of the tablet on Microsoft’s Store should be right around the corner.

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We’ve heard that T-Mobile is scheduled to finally launch the thin and light Nokia Lumia 925 on July 17th and now that seems to be the case. T-Mobile has just sent out press invites, including one for Windows Phone Central, for their “boldest moves yet” campaign, taking place in Manhattan on July 10th--one week prior to the launch.

Since that’s a plural “moves” in there, we imagine that Nokia will be one of a few featured devices and services for the day, meaning some Android phones could be on hand as well.

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You might remember that we reported about a Japan exclusive Microsoft Surface Pro with a 256 GB SSD a few weeks ago. While the product has still not shown up on Microsoft’s own web store, it has shown up on CDW.com for $1,199.

By what we can tell, this isn’t a Japanese export, but an actual North American model with one year of hardware support from Microsoft. CDW has always been a large technology provider for enterprise customers and we wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled the trigger a bit early on launching their web page.

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