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Black Friday isn’t until later this week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some crazy good deals today. It may be a generation old and its performance at first was lackluster, but the original Surface RT has new legs with Windows 8.1 installed. Normally at this stage in a products life we might recommend just getting the latest one, here that would be the Surface 2. However, it’s hard to ignore the original Surface when it’s just $179.99 and includes a keyboard. Details below.

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The Windows Phone Central team returned last week for another podcast. We talked about the Lumia 1520, the Lumia 2520 tablet, Instagram, Microsoft's 'critical mass' and more.

Missed our live show? Then tune into the HD video replay below, stream the audio or download using your favorite podcast app!

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Microsoft has today released an update to the OneNote app on Windows 8. The update adds new features and improvements, including note capture with the Share Charm, scanning of items with the camera and the display of recent notes with Page Previews. It's a fairly sizeable upgrade, so hop on past the break to learn what's new in the latest release.

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‘Did I buy the wrong tablet?’ asks an iPad Air user after he discovers Nokia Lumia 2520 in the new video posted on Nokia’s official YouTube channel.

The video features a young guy who’s just got a ‘new, slim, and sleek’ tablet for productivity on the go, and flaunts it around amongst his friends including one pretty girl. He soon discovers though, that he frequently has to go to his laptop since typing on the screen can be a pain and the battery life hurts.

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Update 12:15 PM ET: And gone! You folks sure buy fast, as the deal is now gone. But keep checking, sometimes Amazon brings it back

Update 1:30 PM ET: It may be gone from Amazon, but Costco's now has it for the same price: Store Link. Thanks, bt66, for the tip

We showed you what the Dell Venue 8 Pro was about recently. The 8-inch tablet runs Windows 8.1 (x86, not RT) and it comes in 32 or 64 GB variations. Sporting a Quad-Core Bay Trail processor and 2 GB of RAM with a stellar IPS WXGA 1280 x 800 display, the Venue 8 Pro has become one of favorite tablets in the eight inch range.

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Although Windows Phone currently lacks proper stylus support, Mother Nature gave you an organic one, your finger. The next issue is needing a decent app that takes advantage of this tool and that’s where Papyrus comes in. Announced back at Nokia World last month, Papyrus is one of two note taking apps to come to Windows Phone, giving users ample choice for handwriting (the other was InNote).

Papyrus 1.0 is now live on the Store and the app is proving to be especially useful if you have a large-screened device like the Lumia 1520. The app features a rich assortment of features, including a Live Tile, pin to Start, different sized lines, color variation for pens, insertion of images and pinch to zoom. Unfortunately there is no backup to SkyDrive, though we suppose that could come out later.

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Microsoft has confirmed with The Verge that the company is aware of issues with current Skype apps and has been working to address said problems, as well as introduce new features. We've previously looked at how the Skype team will be looking at finally making messages synchronise across multiple platforms, but it's positive to see other issues being targeted.

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Tile Me! just got an update that makes Twitter profile pages for Windows Phone fans more interesting. In addition to creating a ‘Me tile’ as your profile photo, version 2.7 now has a Twitter background creator. We like the new feature and we think you’ll like it, too!

Are you curious? We’ll show you how Tile Me! looks in a video after the break.

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Nokia’s latest ad for the Lumia 1020 in the United Arab Emirates tells viewers you don’t need to learn the art of smartphone combat to get your shot. With the Nokia Lumia 1020, you have a 41-megapixel sensor that helps you zoom in on the action without fighting for the front row. However, if you’re still interested in learning the martial art called Taekfoto, Master Rez-tu-lo shows moves you need to fight your way to get the perfect shot.

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The Nokia Lumia 1020 is now only $74.99 at Amazon in the U.S. with a two-year contract. That’s the lowest price we’ve seen for this flagship device on Amazon. The deal is available for customers who want to create a new account or add a new line of service with AT&T. Existing customers who are upgrading have a higher price of $99, which isn’t bad either.

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The Nokia Lumia 520 has been one of the most important phones for Microsoft and Nokia. One estimate by AdDuplex from last month put the Lumia 520 at 33% share of all Windows Phone 8 devices. Not bad when you consider how that phone has only been available for a few months.

Coming in at $99 on AT&T as a pre-paid GoPhone is one heck of a deal. It’s even more of a deal when it’s just $69.99 on Amazon and yes, it’s Prime (that means free shipping for those with Prime accounts). We want to be clear: that’s $69.99 for a no-strings attached Lumia 520. You can throw in any AT&T SIM and get service without a contract, just pay as you go. Already have an AT&T account? You can throw in your existing SIM and start using the Lumia 520 without extending your contract.

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Microsoft currently has three operating systems set up for different hardware. Should you be on a desktop, laptop or supported tablets, Windows 8.1 is what powers the system. Windows RT 8.1 is loaded on the Surface 2 and other tablets with ARM chips. Finally, we have Windows Phone 8 for smartphones. 

With Microsoft working on further uniting its services and software, how will Windows operating systems look in the future? According to Executive VP Devices and Studios at Microsoft, Julie Larson-Green, the company will no longer have three versions of Windows, but will unite all products under one umbrella.

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It’s been a rough year for Xbox games on Windows Phone. Many weeks go by without new releases, and a fair number of developers have jumped ship and switched to indie releases (see Asphalt 8). If we had to name the single worst day for Xbox Windows Phone, it would undoubtedly be September 27 – the day the In-App Purchases died. Yes, on that day (or maybe slightly earlier that week) a whopping 11 games disappeared from the service, never to return… Not with Achievements, anyway.

Since then, Chickens Can’t Fly actually did come back to Windows Phone without its Xbox Live features. And just recently, a second de-listed title has done the same thing: Babaroga’s horror-themed board game Zombies!!!. The game is now on sale once again with its former DLC included automatically, all for $5.99. Read on for more details.

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After Nokia Lumia 1520 became available in the US this Friday, it looks like it has also arrived in Australia. Michael from My Nokia Blog got his hands on a catalogue that showed up in the mail which features the Nokia Lumia 1520 and its price.

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Hey gamers, how’s your weekend going? While you are racing your cars, shooting the bad guys, or scoring goals, it’s great to control your experience on your Windows Phone. Few days back, Sam wrote about the official companion app for Grand Theft Auto V for Windows Phone and here we are with the official companion app for FIFA 14.

The app allows you to access your Football Club news, alerts, and friends, and keeps you up to date with your friends and send messages. You can purchase packs from the FUT Store and manage your FUT Squads by optimizing Chemistry, Formations, and Players. You can find and but on players on the FUT Transfer Market or turn a quick profit with the FUT Transfer List.

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This was a pretty busy week for Windows Phone. We’ve got two new devices (the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 2520) and what seems like a baker’s dozen of new apps. Missed out on some of the apps released this week? No worries, we’re here to help you stay on top of what’s new in the Windows Phone Store with our weekly app highlights.

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Telegram just announced on Twitter their messaging app is coming to Windows Phone in January 2014. Telegram lets you send messages, photos and videos to people who are in your phone contacts (and have Telegram). It’s already available on Android and iOS.

How is Telegram different from the popular messaging app, Whatsapp? Telegram’s team claim they are faster and way more secure.

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The Microsoft Store application for Windows Phone was just updated to version 2.3. The change log describes improved customer experience in the catalog, but we're having a hard time agreeing. It’s still a little slow and confusing to use. For example, there’s no category for phones. You also need to use search to find Nokia Lumia devices.

The new version 2.3 now also displays ratings and reviews for products, as well as letting you add shortcuts to your favorite categories.

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Nokia Share has hit the Windows Phone Store shelves that will allow you to connect your Lumia Windows Phone with your Lumia Windows Tablet and share photos via Nokia’s Storyteller app

Just run Storyteller on your Lumia 2520 Tablet and open Nokia Share on your Lumia Windows Phone.  The two connect over Wi-Fi and you will then be able to share your photos on the larger screen of the Lumia 2520.

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Did you pick up an Xbox One? Microsoft just announced that they’ve sold more than one million consoles in the first 24 hours, so odds are you did. Microsoft is claiming this launch is their biggest in the history of Xbox, sales surpassed the same numbers for the Xbox 360 launch and set new records for Microsoft.

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You can now add Amazon.com (U.S.) to the list of retailers carrying the AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520.  The 6” screened Windows Phone is listed in the white, red, yellow and black models for only $99.99 (after contractual discounts).

It does not appear the AT&T Next plan pricing is available through Amazon.com and if you want to go without the contractual discounts, the Lumia 1520 will cost you $799.99.  You do get a slight break with the black model that only costs $749.99 off contract.

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While the Windows Phone Store now includes an official Instagram app, we still have some very respectable third party offerings.  One of which is Rudy Huyn’s 6tag.

6tag received a minor update that takes the app to version 2.2.1.  There’s not a change log listed in the Windows Phone Store but, according to Rudy’s tweet, the update adds a hack to prevent your password from resetting while you are traveling.  We will guess there are a few minor bug fixes thrown in for good measure too.

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