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We mentioned Microsoft's new Red Stripe Deal promotion earlier this month. It's not a special on Jamaican Beer but rather weekly discounts on Windows Phone apps and games. Every week Microsoft will highlight certain apps at a discounted price and you can pick them out of a crowd by the red stripe that surrounds their icon.

This week's deals includes the Xbox Live game Tiki Towers, the independent game Doodle Devil and the photography app Pictures Lab. All three Windows Phone apps have had their prices discounted from $2.99 to $.99.

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Popular security provider AVG has announced and released an update for its Family Safety app, which now supports Windows Phone 8. If you've not already used the app before, it's been available on Windows Phone 7 since last year, providing a protective solution for those who have children surfing the web on mobile devices. It's a free app that acts as a web browser, blocking known threats using the AVG Linkscanner technology. Anything relating to violence, drugs, weapons, pornography and more is blocked.

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Orange in France has the Lumia 520 listed on its website. The Nokia Windows Phone 8 smartphone is the cheapest device the manufacturer has released, running Microsoft's operating system. Announced back at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, it's good to see the device heading to more mobile operators across Europe. So how much will consumers have to pay to pick one up?

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Finance behemoth Goldman Sachs has downgraded the rating of Microsoft's stock from Neutral to Sell in a report that went out to investors this morning. The rating change was based on what analyst Heather Bellini sees a downward trend for Microsoft's PC-based business and dwindling demand for those products.

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Huawei hasn’t exactly set the Windows Phone world on fire with a higher end device. Sure the W1 is a nice budget phone for those just getting into the smartphone game, but most people reading this site would probably prefer something a little more impressive. Today the specs of the Ascend W2 from Huawei leaked online, showing off a device more in line with the Lumia 920s and Ativ S devices of the world.

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What’s that? We almost went a day without discussing the Windows Phone unofficial Instagram app, Instagraph? We’ll fix that by mentioning how it has been, well, fixed.

We reported yesterday that there were two issues affecting users, including a placeholder image being occasionally used in place of a submitted photo and long delays in publishing. Luckily, both issues have seemingly been fixed as queuing for uploads has been reduced to less than 5 minutes (from our experience) and the placeholder posting bug was also squashed.

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Since first being captivated by the beauty and excellence of Nokia's Lumia family of Windows Phone devices, people having been wondering if Nokia would follow Microsoft's lead by creating a Windows-based tablet, like the Surface. While we're nowhere closer to learning the answer to that question, what we do know is that Nokia had their sights on building a tablet back in 2011.

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[Update: Nokia Care US is now claiming that this is for AT&T users, and it should be live. Our device is now updated at 1:22pm ET...]

While a lot of Lumia 920 owners are getting the 1308 firmware (which is busted for AT&T users, having been recently halted), Nokia is pushing out a follow up to it numbered 1314. That update, as far as we know, has not actually started to go to devices and it’s not currently on Nokia’s Navifirm server (the highest is 1310 for China’s Lumia 920T).

But it may be real close...

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It was reported a few weeks ago that Nokia was preparing a firmware revision for the Lumia 920 (and other Windows Phone 8 Lumias) that would continue to bring Nokia’s vision of how a Windows Phone should be to fruition.

That update is now being referred to as PR2.0 and we have an exclusive quick glimpse of some of those new features for you.

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Sources within Microsoft revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the Redmond company is set to unveil a 7-inch tablet later this year. It will be part of the Surface family and launch alongside other Surface branded devices.

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Quotr, insprirational quotes for Windows Phone 8

Looking for a really simple quote app? One that generates countless inspirational quotations from the likes of Confucius, Voltaire, and Grandma Moses? If so, Quotr is a new Windows Phone 8 that should fit the bill.

Quotr is as simple as it gets with an inspirational quote greeting you as the app is launched. If the quote doesn't do much for you, tap the screen and another quote is displayed. Repeat the process until you find what you're looking for.

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You’ve probably heard that Miniclip is offering four of its Xbox Windows Phone games for free right now. And as of last week, the Xbox Deal of the Week is back. So with a bunch of games gone free at the moment, does that mean we don’t get a new Deal of the Week today? Heck no it doesn’t!

This week’s deal game is another blast from the past, as it’s been on sale once before. But it’s actually a pretty awesome game that many players might have overlooked: Tiki Towers from Game House. Even better, the sale price is 99 cents this time, the cheapest Tiki Towers has ever been.

Now is the part where I remind you, our dear readers, that the Windows Phone Store doesn’t always update like clockwork. Sometimes price changes take time to go live. Case in point: I’m not seeing Tiki Towers on sale yet. But Microsoft assures us it will go on sale, and I believe them. So just be patient and check later tonight or Thursday; the sale will eventually go on.

Update: The sale is not scheduled to go live until Thursday for some reason. That explains it!

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Do you enjoy the free streaming with Xbox Music? You'll soon have to put up with audio advertisements.

Microsoft is brining in TargetSpot, a New York City-based digital audio advertising network, to deliver in-stream advertisements on its Xbox Music service. Available on the Xbox 360 console, Windows RT / 8 installations and Windows Phones, the cloud service will sport advertisements on the free stream only. It makes sense for Microsoft to look at ways to monetise users who don't contribute to the pool through the optional subscription.

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We’ve talked about the 1308 firmware for current Nokia Lumias that have been slowly hitting the market over the last few weeks. While most of the attention has gone to the Lumia 920, the Lumia 620 is also a part of that update and sure enough, we’re getting a lot of tips that it’s being pushed over-the-air as we speak.

From Germany to Malaysia to India, it seems that users are getting the firmware patch to help improve performance. While people are getting the new Storage Check to help manage their space, it looks like the Lumia 620 has a few specifics that were kindly detailed by Nokia support.

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Microsoft patent shows off Xbox-inspired touch input

Let’s not beat around the bush. When the touch-centric iPhone came out in 2007 it changed mobile gaming – for the better. It helped to push mobile gaming to the masses and cement touch as a viable input option for games. Since then Android and Windows Phone have had their share of awesome games – beautiful and fun games stuff like Tentacles and Contre Jour are examples of games that couldn’t exist without touch. One thing that’s lacked in the tablet and smartphone space is a unified input system. A recent patent filing shows that Microsoft is positioning to change that.

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The next Xbox is due to come out later this year, but we still don’t know a whole lot about ‘Durango’. One thing revealed today by The Verge is how the next Xbox is being positioned to completely become the center of your living room – for all things entertainment. The next Xbox will reportedly take over a TV through the cable box.

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Earlier this week, Windows Phone Central broke the news that Gameloft’s Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour would be arriving on Windows Phone 8 today.  The wait has been hard, but now Modern Combat 4 is finally here! Not only is it the first First-Person Shooter in the Xbox Windows Phone lineup, but it’s the next best thing to having Call of Duty on your phone.

Modern Combat 4 packs both a full single-player campaign and a robust online multiplayer mode for up to 12 players. Not surprisingly, that means you’ll need a Windows Phone 8 device with 1 GB of RAM and plenty of storage space in order to play it. Head past the break for more details and the all-essential Windows Phone Store link!

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There's nothing worse than your Windows Phone taking some physical damage as the appearance of a smartphone is fairly important, especially when it's a Lumia 920 or other Windows Phone. There's really only one instance when an issue can prove more irritating and that's when the software (or a combination of it and hardware) royally breaks and thus bricking the device. How useful is a bricked Windows Phone? Well, it's good paperweight, I suppose. This is what happened to my poor white Lumia 920. Let me tell you a short story of what happened and how quickly the issue was resolved by Nokia.

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With smartphone survey info, it’s always a tough call between “the glass is half empty or full” analyses. Such is the case with a new study of 1,500 US smartphone owners by MKM Partners on brand awareness.  The survey asked about what consumers know about current smartphone trends and their future buying plans.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone did not do terrible but it’s still not ideal either. For instance, out of the 1,500 respondents, a full 60% did not even know that Windows Phone 8 had launched. By comparison, 83% did not know about BlackBerry 10 hitting Canada and Europe.

But in fairness to BlackBerry, their US launch coincided with the survey, which took place over the last three weeks, so perhaps that knowledge should not be expected by average, non-techy folks. Compare that to Windows Phone 8, which was available since last November and clearly Microsoft should have the upper hand for advertising and brand awareness. On the other hand, these numbers reveal that it is BlackBerry whom have the most catching up to do.

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AppSpotlights is an interesting app for Windows Phone. Why, you ask? Because it enables both consumers and developers to remain up-to-date with content on the Windows Phone Store, which is featured in the store spotlights. There are a number of features that cater for the needs of both consumers and developers, which makes the app even more useful. If you're into keeping track of highly-rated content on the store, or wish to be notified as to when your own work is featured, AppSpotlights is definitely worth checking out.

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Instagraph uploads on hold but server fix is coming soon

With the launch yesterday of Instagraph, the unofficial Instagram app for Windows Phone, some issues were to be expected—after all, this isn’t just a simple Instagram posting app. Indeed, there are two big complaints right now including delays in posting images and having the wrong image posted instead of the user's own.

Despite some ramblings on the internet it’s not other people’s images that are being accidentally posted by Instagraph, but a demo one, which while annoying is not as sensational as some have made it. The problem was server-side, has been patched and will be back online in the next 12-24 hours (maybe sooner).

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The official Disqus mobile app, which is currently only available for Windows Phone (we'll never tire of writing that), has been bumped to version 1.2. We previously looked at Disqus when version 1.1 was released. The latest version introduces a number of new features, as well as implementing multiple fixes and improvements to further enhance the user experience. So, what's new?

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