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Photo by Geoffry Gelb

Microsoft has wrapped up its second monthly photo contest. The October contest theme was your favorite places and there were some really nice shots chosen as the winner.  Such as the photo above submitted by Geoffrey Gelb of the Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland.  Geoffrey shot the photo with his Samsung Focus.

There is no word on what the contest theme will be for next month but once we hear, we'll pass it on. In the meantime, if you're sharing photos via Twitter, use the hashtag #WPPhoto and Microsoft may highlight them on their official handle.

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Risk from Nokia and EA Games

Adding to the release of FourSquare, Nokia and EA Games has released the Xbox Windows Phone game Risk and Connect 4 to the Lumia line of Windows Phones. Both can easily be considered classic board games and the Windows Phone version represents the originals very well.

The game of Risk is one of global domination where you battle your opponents from country to country. The Windows Phone version allows for you to battle with up to five opponents or computer adversaries. Risk has Xbox Live achievements and leaderboards.

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Foursquare

Nokia has one again picked up an app from the Windows Phone Store and put a copy in their Collection. Such is the case with Foursquare, which is now listed as version 2.1.

While it would have been nice to see something expanded upon by the Finns alas this version is a hair older than the official 2.11 version on the Store for all Windows Phone users. So there is no augmented-reality or any performance improvements to be found, as far as we can tell.

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music

The other day we mentioned how the Xbox Music team had sent out emails to current Zune Pass users, detailing what changes were coming down the road. In addition, some of us also received 1000 MS Points that could be used anywhere—videos, movies, music, games, etc.

As it turns out, not everyone received those and that looks to be by design. In a recent tweet by @ZuneSupport notes as much though they did not provide details on criteria e.g. random or long-time user for getting them.

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WP Central Now 32GB Surface without keyboard sells out in Canada and UK

Microsoft’s Surface RT tablets have only recently been made available as part of a limited pre-order. The least expensive option, the Surface 32GB without the touch cover has now sold out in Canada too.

The UK is also showing stock of the 32GB device to be unavailable with only the two more expensive options being present.

With pre-order stocks already selling through its tempting to start speculation on numbers and success. Microsoft certainly hasn't mentioned numbers and are very unlikely to do so unless they have something big to announce. If they are seeking to create some excitement around availability, selling out of an option certainly grabs attention and with it comes some urgency to be “first” or not to miss out.

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Rogers Lumia 920 and 8x available for reservation

Earlier today Rogers Canada officially announced their Windows Phone lineup that included the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X and Samsung ATIV S. While no pricing for these devices wasn't released, the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X have appeared on Rogers' Reservation site.

The reservation system is only for existing Rogers customers and is a way to hold one of the new Windows Phones once they become available. Which is listed as "in the coming weeks".

The Lumia 920 is available in black and the 8X is available in both 8GB and 16GB versions. Which gives a little more credibility to the rumor AT&T will offer the 8X with two storage options.

Source: Mobilesyrup

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Microsoft is evidently getting creative when showing off the Surface RT. In this latest video posted to their YouTube channel, we get to see the device dropped 30" onto a hardwood floor. Well, we don't actually see it as what we're watching is the video taken from the Surface as it is sent to the ground. 

As a demonstration of how well it's built, the Surface RT continues recording without skipping a beat. Of course we don't know how the display looks but since we didn't hear any gasps, we'll assume it's okay too. Needless to say, the Surface RT looks to be quite durable, as evidenced by Sinofsky's skateboarding trick.

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Hotel Finder updated, search function fixed

Hotel Finder for Windows Phone

Hotel Finder is a simple Windows Phone app that helps you find hotels based on your Windows Phone location services. The app taps into a database of over 230,000 hotels worldwide and maps them out with filters for price and hotel class. The database for Hotel Finder is provided through Booking.com.

The most recent update corrects issues related to database searches and a few other performance tweaks. The developer is also looking to expand the hotel database to add other service providers.

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CEO Yu Chengdong

Huawei CEO Yu Chengdong

It looks like the other shoe has dropped with OEM manufacturer Huawei and US relations. We reported a few weeks ago that the US Congress took a strong stance against Huawei and ZTE due to their closeness to the Chinese government, accusations of IP theft and other irregularities with the company.

Now the CEO, Yu Chengdong, has taken to the social network Sina Weibo to announce that Huawei will be absent from the Windows Phone 8 launch at the end of the month and the reason is due to (translated) “Sino-US political and economic storm”.

That sounds like Microsoft may be distancing themselves a bit from Huawei until this controversy blows over or in the worst case scenario, Huawei is dropped from Windows Phone 8. Indeed, through personal communication with people in the know at Microsoft the impression we were given is they do not want to talk about Huawei.

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Ballmer
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Is this really a whole new Microsoft?

 

Yesterday, Microsoft reported a year over year (YoY) revenue decline of 8%.  But accounting rules being what they are, the Redmond giant deferred $1.36 billion in revenue coming from Windows 8, which hasn’t yet been released. Things like pre-sales are not counted as revenue yet because Microsoft hasn’t launched the product yet.  It’s an accounting thing, and it’s normal.  So from a business perspective, Microsoft revenues are essentially flat.  
 
Looking at the various segments of their business, it is the Server & Tools business that is showing the best growth (8% YoY), driven by SQL Server and System Center.  The Business Division (Microsoft Office and other software) is down 2%.  The Windows & Windows Live Division was down a whopping 33% though.  This is where the revenue deferral happened, so if you adjust for the timing or revenue recognition, the business was down only 9%.
 
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Official uTorrent Remote app lands for Windows Phone

uTorrent

The official uTorrent Remote app now available for Windows Phone

uTorrent (www.utorrent.com), now owned by BitTorrent proper is a free and now ad-supported torrent client that is used by many people out there today. And although there are plenty of third-party apps for the service out on Windows Phone, it’s still nice to see the platform getting officially recognized through a dedicated client.

The uTorrent Remote app allows you to connect to your PC or Mac remotely to manage your bit torrents from afar. No, it’s not a full torrent client to run on your phone—something for which we don’t see too much practicality for—but it is a powerful tool for those of you who rely on uTorrent’s automatic RSS import feature and more powerful options.

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XNA is dead. Long live XNA!

WP Central

So, as many of you have heard, Microsoft has killed off XNA and every game written in the framework is doomed.

Except that isn’t the whole story.

If you don’t know, XNA is a game development framework made by Microsoft to aid developers in rapidly creating cross platform games. The name stands for: XNA's Not Acronymed. Writing a game in XNA enables it to run on Windows, XBOX, Windows Phone, and the [now dead] Zune HD. The only real changes that need to be made are the controls and UI (different screen sizes). Even if you’ve never heard of XNA, chances are that you’ve played a game made in it if you’ve ever used a Windows Phone. One such game is ARMED! - which now has a Windows 8 version made in MonoGame.  XNA was loved by a lot of people, and gained popularity because it was an easy entry point into 2D and 3D game development, and it was a good way to reuse code across platforms.

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STC Deal

STC exclusively grabs the HTC 8X

STC (Saudi Telecoms Company) Group has signed a strategic partnership with both HTC and Microsoft to exclusively launch the 8X Windows Phone in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a leap into offering the Apollo experience to the region, and for STC to hold exclusive rights on HTC's flagship. The announcement comes concurrently with the GITEX GulfComms exhibition, and we'll likely see STC launch the handset in November.

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WP Central

Today Rogers announced that they'll be the exclusive carrier for the Nokia Lumia 920, the HTC 8X, and the Samsung ATIV S. Apparently the 920 and the 8 GB 8X will be exclusives. Rogers will also be offrering the Samsung ATIV Windows tablet as well. 

Of course, there's no information on specific prices or dates just yet, but we'll keep our eyes peeled. Rogers president Rob Bruce says that the devices will be priced "competitively". We at least know that the 920 will be landing sometime in November, and we've had an inkling that the ATIV S would be launching in the same time frame. The 8X was also announced not too long ago, so not a ton of surprises here, but Rogers and Microsoft are definitely cementing their partnership today. Bruce said that there's going to be a big focus on Microsoft products from here on in, though they're still about offering as much choice as possible. We're at Rogers HQ right now, so with any luck we'll get some hands-on time later today (though I'm not holding my breath). 

Source: CNW

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Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Target Games

WPCentral's Target Game Roundup

Windows Phone Central's Roundup of Target Games

Target games for your Windows Phone can be a fun way to pass the time with and that is the focus of this week's WPCentral Roundup. From target practice with a bow or rifle to tossing darts, these games can test your concentration and aim.

We searched the Windows Phone Store with the keyword "target" and tried a handful of the games out and picked five gaming titles that stood out to us.  Some we've seen before while the others were new experiences.  We left a few on the cutting room floor and if we missed your favorite Windows Phone target game, as always, you can toss out your recommendation in the comments.

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WP Central The lights go off at Zune.net as final pieces are put in place for Xb

As we move ever closer to the launch of Windows 8 we also near the relaunch of Microsoft’s music services. All traces of Zune branding are being replaced with the upcoming Xbox Music.

On trying to go to www.zune.net we now get a re-direct to Xbox.com to be told that Zune Music is now Xbox Music. We’re going to miss that crazy pink and white website but it's had its time.

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WP Central Australia added to the list of launch events for Windows Phone

Seems like the Windows Phone 8 party is growing larger by the day. Invites are now reportedly going out for an event down under.

In the usual style of such an invite we get postcard landmark shot with details, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the date is set to 9am October 30th.

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Lumia 810

T-Mobile Lumia 810

An interesting leak from Walmart’s inventory system has revealed some upcoming pricing for new Windows Phone 8 devices; what’s more they look fair.

In the single screenshot posted by TmoNews, we can see the HTC 8X is priced at $148.00 on a 2-year contract while the Nokia Lumia 810 is going for a $99.88 price point. We suppose those prices don’t shock us too much, although it’s nice to see the HTC 8X going for $150 as opposed to the more common $199 these days.

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Microsoft Stores giving out Surface reservation passes

Surface Pass

Looks like if you live near a Microsoft Store or even a pop-up holiday kiosk you can stop by and get a reservation card good for one Surface RT come October 26th.

The info comes via our forums where member jdevenberg was given a pass from a Microsoft pop-up Store employee at Washington Square in Beaverton, Oregon. The pass simply reads that a Surface has been reserved and all the shopper has to do is bring the pass at 12pm on October 26th. This sounds like a good deal for those of you who are wanting to go and get one in the Store that very day instead of pre-ordering online.

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Although the percentage of you who want to customize the Tiles on your Windows Phone is pretty small (not to mention technical limitations like being developer unlocked) the project by Windows Phone Hacker has had some success and interest. An update is in the works and it looks to be quite good for those who are into this scene.

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Microsoft FY13 Q1 Earnings Report released

Microsoft has announced it's first quarterly report for the 2013 Fiscal Year. The company reported a quarterly revenue of $16.01 billion for the quarter ending September 30, 2012. This is down 8% from a year ago and likely due to consumers holding off on computer purchases until Windows 8 hits the shelves.

Other key numbers from the FY13 Q1 Earnings report has Operating Income at $5.31 billion and Diluted Earnings Per Share at $.53 per share. Both Income and Diluted EPS were down 26% and 22% respectively from last year.

The Entertainment and Devices Division that is responsible for the Xbox and Windows Phones posted revenue of $1.95 billion. This represents a 1% decrease from the previous year. On the positive, Xbox consoles continue to dominate with a 49% market share and the newly acquired Skype continues it's positive growth with over 280 million users.

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Skype

A reimagined Skype client is on the way

Update: As we suspected this video was is no way sanctioned to be released publicly and as such, a copyright claim by AOL/Engadget has had it removed. Translation: this was suppose to be under wraps but was made public on accident.

Update 2: We found a second source of the video, catch it while you can

Skype for Windows Phone 8 has been demoed by Derrick Snyder, now head of mobile marketing at Skype. In the video, Snyder runs viewers through what we can all expect from the new client. Now, before we crack into what's shown in the video, it's worth noting that this is a brand new application for Windows Phone, though many of the new features have been covered before.

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