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We began to get rather hopeful with news of an imminent release for the Windows Phone 7.8 update, thanks to a tweet published by UK mobile operator O2. The company has quickly become the premier Windows Phone carrier in the UK, supporting the platform with stock of not only Lumia handsets, but Samsung and HTC as well.

Now Telstra has provided some hints that consumers with Windows Phone 7 hardware won't have to wait too long for the much anticipated update.

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You think I’m just going to sit idly by and let Rich have all the fun with wallpapers? Not a chance. Here are some similar wallpapers to the ones he did the other day, but I would wager raise the bar on minimalism. Just our kickass Windows Phone Central logo set to the background color of your choice.

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Last week Microsoft asked you to vote for which Windows Phone commercial from NFL Quarterback Cam Newton should air during the NFC Championship pre-game show. You had the choice of four endings to the commercial using a different catch phrase at the end.

The "Peanut Butter, Jelly" version, shown above was the runner-up and will air during both the NFC and AFC Championship games.

If you're the type who would rather tune in this Sunday, January 21st, during the pre-Game show and see which version won, don't stray any further. If you can't stand the anticipation, you can find the winning version after the break.

Still think they should have had a War Eagle version....

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Ah, Super Nintendo. 1991 was a good time because video games were really just starting to get big and the SNES system was leading the pack for 16-bit gaming. The console is still revered by many to this day.

Now combine it with the power of Windows Phone 8’s dual core CPUs, extra RAM and high resolution display and you have an ideal gaming platform—assuming the developer gets it right. Luckily for us, developer m.k. nails with his free Snes8x app for Windows Phone.

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We know a lot of people are anxious for Windows Phone 7.8, the OS update for current Windows Phone 7.xx users who want the new “look” of 3 Live Tile sizes, in addition to some other minor enhancements.

O2, via Twitter support, has responded to one customer by stating  the update will come by the end of January and will be delivered by Zune desktop.

We should caution that O2 Twitter is not exactly an official announcement and we have seen some false information come from carrier support before, but the detail and confidence by which O2 responded here gives us some hope.

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File this under "trends in mobile".

A three-month trial launched in October by mobile network O2 found that the vast majority of customers who participated were happy to purchase their HTC One X+ without a charger. The pilot offers the HTC One X+ handset with just the USB-to-micro USB connection lead to plug into existing chargers. Buyers who did not already have a charger had the option to purchase a charger separately from O2 at cost price.

Much like OEMs opting to not include headphones with current purchases, especially in the US, manufactures may soon opt to not include a charger as well. Read on for the details...

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Well, color us disappointed. After nearly one year since the last update, the team behind Kik Messenger on Windows Phone recently revealed (via an email correspondence) that they don’t have a speedy proposal for a Windows Phone 8 update. (The app does work for Windows Phone 8, though it fails to take advantage of any new features and there are a few lingering issues with reliability). 

Reader of the site Jonathan S. emailed support over the need for a Windows Phone 8 update, noting how notifications have become unreliable (true) and there haven’t been any updates or additions since February of 2012 (also true).

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Windows Phone Central's Roundup of New+Rising Games

Sure... you can use your Windows Phone for checking email, making phone calls, taking pictures, and other productive activities. But it's also a great device to play games on.

Couldn't really come up with a good theme for this week's Windows Phone Central Roundup so I decided to pick a few games from the New+Rising list over at the Windows Phone Store.

No rhyme or reason as to which titles made it to the roundup and if you've stumbled across a new Windows Phone game you'd like to recommend, sound off in the comments.

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Nokia is attempting to get the Windows Phone community involved in making new Lumia 820 cases. The company has released a 3D-printing Development Kit (3DK), which not only comes with the required raw files for 3D printers, but also guidance on what materials could be utilised, tips on what to look out for in creating a unique case, and other advice.

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We’ve talked about it before, but here’s another example of the Windows Phone platform gaining some mainstream support and recognition. What we have below is a video of the photography strengths found in the Lumia 920 on a local NBC news station in Dallas.

The segment highlights some features and smartphones to help take your photography to the “next level”. The Lumia 920 fared well in the eyes of the anchors. Check it out.

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If you fancy drawing or just like to doodle out of boredom, Didlr is a fun and fairly simple, easy to use app that will appeal to you. Similar to Draw Something - minus the game aspect and frustration – once you publish your didl, it’ll appear on the stream where the rest of the Didlr community can replay your masterpiece, step by step.

Of course, you can always tap through to the finished product if you don’t want to sit through someone drawing a ridiculously detailed Batman for 15 minutes. 

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One thing you can count on Nokia to do is continually improve the user experience of their devices. While they’re busy pushing forward with their Windows Phone 8 agenda on the 820 and 920 series, they still provide stellar support for devices running Windows Phone 7.X. Their Bluetooth Share for those older handsets has just received an update. What’s new?

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Here is some good news for everyone on Verizon who can’t wait to get their paws on the Samsung ATIV Odyssey, it could be a week away. This little nugget of information comes from Twitter leakster @evleaks, who has a solid history of being accurate. He (she?) has shown off things in the past like these renders of the Lumia 920 or these of the Lumia 822 and charging pad.

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As we prepare to hit Friday and head into the weekend, we'll take a quick gander at what's been happening on the community forum here at Windows Phone Central. Should you not be familiar with our community, you're missing out on some top discussions with thousands of other Windows Phone fans. It's a place for all to mingle and communicate within topics related to the platform and beyond. So, what's been hot on the thread list?

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We dished out praises like crazy to the original Full House Poker game for Windows Phone. It was the first Windows Phone 7 game to have proper avatar support and is still the only one, really. A picture of the user’s avatar on their stats screen like AlphaJax and Wordament have doesn’t really count; users want to play games as their avatars.

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The popular Windows Phone RSS reader Nextgen Reader has been update to version 4. We last looked at the Windows Phone app when it was bumped to 3.1, as well as the release of Nextgen Reader for Windows tablets and desktops. This latest version is a big one. It's good to see such an offering receive more developing investment to push further on the platform. 

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Windows Phone Central 154


...and after a nice holiday break, the Windows Phone Central Podcast is back!. Join Daniel and Jay as we talk about Portico, CES 2013, what's coming up for Mobile World Congress, some new apps and games. Plus, as always, we take your questions!

Listen in above or watch the HD video below, your choice! Show length: 90 minutes.

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The Lumia 620, the Windows Phone 8 smartphone that's currently launching in emerging markets, has made its way to Russia. Available in five different colours: green, black, white, pink and yellow, the Lumia 620 is offered to consumers with minute personalisation in mind. Already released in China, Thailand and India, the Windows Phone is priced aggressively against competing hardware.

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HelpBridge is a new Windows Phone app from Microsoft that is designed to help you get through times of emergency and find resources to help those in need.

You'll have to create a HelpBridge account based on your Facebook or Microsoft Account. As you create your account, you add emergency contacts that you can contact when you need help or just to let them know you're alright. When you do reach out for help or let everyone know your okay, the app will send a brief message and map of your location via email, sms to your contact group and there's even a way to post the message on Facebook.

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Wheel of Wealth is a popular, turn based (both local and online) Windows Phone game that is modeled after the Wheel of Fortune games. You spin the wheel of wealth to determine your earnings for guessing the correct letters in a word puzzle.  You play against up to two opponents,or against the phone, in a three round game.

Wheel of Wealth was recently updated to version 2.6 to resolve a nasty bug that crashed the game when you went bankrupt. You can still lose all your money but that should be all that is lost. The update also fixes a few other bugs and throws in a few performance tweaks for good measure.

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