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Windows Phone Essential Games Collection


Windows Phone Central Roundup: Essential Games Collection

Over at the Windows Phone Store, Microsoft has created a handful of app and game collections that include photography apps, sports apps, music apps, and other categories. For this week's roundup we take a peek at the Essential Game's Collection.

The Essential Game's Collection is a wide range of gaming titles that include puzzle games, word games, card games and more. We plucked four titles for this weeks roundup that we concur are essential games for our Windows Phones. Games that are addictive, entertaining, and a great way to pass the time with.

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Microsoft has once again updated the official Facebook app for Windows Phone, bringing the public version up to speed with the beta. If you've not been following our rather frenzied Facebook Beta coverage, this latest release (5.0.3.0) includes numerous improvements and fixes. These include the ability to unfriend someone, as well as "unlike" a page and numerous stability improvements - essentially everything from each update since version 5.

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New official WPCentral app patch available

You may have noticed a new update for your official Windows Phone Central app appeared earlier this week, followed by another one this morning. In the interest of keeping our readership informed we thought it best to let you know what these minor patches are for, but if you'd rather just get on with being up to date you can grab the update here in the marketplace.

The brief changelist and a little information on what's changed can be found after the break for those of you who enjoy technical details!

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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has always been an incredibly impressive console in terms of sales and the company’s recent announcement of its successor, the Xbox One, has not slowed it down one bit. The Xbox 360 remains the top sold console and has hit thirty consecutive months.

According to Microsoft, the Xbox 360 has maintained its position as the top US console last month selling over 140,000 units. The company states that the Xbox 360 platform (hardware, software, and accessories) brought in over $197 million dollars in June.

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The Nokia Lumia 521 has always been a budget friendly Windows Phone and HSN.com is now offering it at a very attractive price.

Through midnight on Saturday, July 20th HSN.com is offering the T-Mobile Windows Phone for a single payment of $99.95 or for interest free flexpayments as low as $24.99.  HSN.com has a little history with the Lumia 521, initially offering the Lumia 521 at launch for $149 and was bundled with a car charger and screen protector. While this current deal isn't a bundle, with the $50 saving you can easily buy your own car charger and screen protector.

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Today is the day, you can play Halo: Spartan Assault on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. We already gave you the link for the Windows Phone version, which only Verizon customers can enjoy here in the United States. But you can definitely get your Spartan Assault on with Windows 8, nobody is stopping you there. Read past the break to get the link for the Windows Store!

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Microsoft recently celebrated the start of a new year – at least for those who watch Microsoft. July marks the start of the fiscal year for Microsoft and today they’ve shared their financial results for their fourth quarter of 2013. The big news? The company had a 10 percent increase in revenue for the same quarter the previous year. The Redmond company reported $19.90 billion in revenue for Q4 2013 as they enter their phase as a devices-and-services company.

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It’s been teased for a month now and we even told you that it was coming out today, but now we can tell you officially that Halo: Spartan Assault, is live in the Store for Windows Phone 8.

Building off of the hit franchise and 18 months in the making, Halo: Spartan Assault is Microsoft’s attempt to capitalize off of the famous first shooter game for mobile. Instead of just “porting” the FPS model over though, a paradigm that is difficult to translate onto tablets and smartphones, Microsoft and 343 Industries opted for a third-person overhead view, which is more arcade style. The game’s timeline takes place in the four years between Halo 3 and 4.

In addition, the developers spent months honing game play to make the frame rate as high (and smooth) as possible and just as importantly, ensured that the game controls were fluid and flexible. From our last 24 hours playing with it, we can confirm that as a “casual gamer”, we found the game highly accessible and extremely well-polished.

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If you're not familiar with In Two, it's a unique song and artist guessing game that utilises the Nokia Music service. Developed by Scott Lovegrove, an update has been pushed to the store that bundles numerous fixes alongside a few enhancements. Let's jump right in and see what's new in version 1.0.0.4.

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We all know that feeling. You read about an awesome app on Windows Phone Central and go to download only to see the Windows Phone Store throw up some error right in your face. You want to rage and throw your phone at a wall, but you don’t. And sometimes it’s not an app you want, but a new song or album and well you know where we’re going with this. Yup, Xbox Music isn’t working for some folks. Details after the break.

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Splashbox is a new photography app for our Windows Phone that lets you add a creative flair to your pictures through various color filters that can be selectively applied.  When you import a photo to edit, Splashbox applies a black and white filter to the image.

Basically giving you a blank slate to re-apply the original colors by touch or choose from a number of filters to add some splash to things.

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A lot of you have cried foul over no Halo: Spartan Assault release yet for today, though we know for a fact it’s coming. Indeed, Nokia US on their Facebook just posted the exact time at which it will go live: 4PM Pacific Time (click here for your local time zone).

That’s not too far as it’ll happen in less than two hours. Game on!

Source: Facebook; Thanks, A A A, for the tip!

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It should be clear now that OEMs and partners have begun to roll out the second Windows Phone 8 OS update for the year, dubbed ‘GDR2’, to various devices. With the Samsung ATIV S and HTC 8X getting the update in the last 48 hours, it’s obvious that things are now moving.

Earlier, we told you that T-Mobile US was testing the GDR2 OS update for the Nokia Lumia 810. On that device we were unsure if it actually will be updated versus the carrier just testing it. However, we can now definitively say that another device, the HTC 8X will get the update and it is scheduled to happen within the next four days, on July 22nd.

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All of us use the World Wide Web every day to connect to our favorite services and we increasingly do so through mobile devices and tablets. According to Microsoft sources, everyday an additional 3.6 million devices are activated worldwide. If that is not enough proof to portray that we live in a connected world then consider this; that number is five times larger than the number of babies born each day. Because of this global expansion rate, Microsoft has introduced a concept known as “The Companion Web”.

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One issue that has been bugging some users for a while now is the inability to delete temporary files on their Windows Phone 8 devices.  Nokia got around this by building in their Storage Check app and even Huawei is reportedly making an app to do the same.

Now, after reports of the GDR2 (and firmware) update rolling out for unbranded HTC 8X owners today, the ability to delete temporary files is evidently built right into the OS.

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This morning Nokia reported its financial results for the June quarter.  Overall, Nokia is hanging in there.  The company is seeing much stronger results from its ownership in Nokia Siemens Networks, while the business of making phones has not yet returned to profitability.

As far as Lumia goes, Nokia managed to sell 7.4 million of these Windows-based smartphones compared to 5.6 million last quarter.  Naturally, with BlackBerry having shipped only 6.8 million phones last quarter (a number that has been in decline), the media jumped all over this to declare Nokia the victor as the #3 player in smartphones.

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Windows Phone 8 believe it or not isn’t quite perfect. Its close, but things like the other storage issue put a cloud or two over a relatively sunny platform. When high-end devices like the Lumia 925 ship with only 16GB of storage for all your apps, games, and music you expect to utilize it all. The other storage issue has impacted many of you. We’ve heard of future fix coming from Microsoft, but that was last in March we heard. Nokia took matters into their own hand and released Storage Check to temporarily help Lumia owners and their storage woes. It works by clearing all the temporary files. 

But for everyone else there is Shrink Storage, an app in the Store that helps to give you back some of your limited space. It recently had an update adding some useful new features. Let’s check it out.

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Windows Phone Central has begun to receive reports from users that their HTC 8X (UK Virgin Mobile and non-branded) are receiving updates today. The update, most likely a combo of firmware and the coveted GDR2 OS update (build 10327), will enable things like FM Radio, Data Sense (carrier dependent) and other improvements. This update follows Samsung's recent ATIV S update for unlocked devices.

We have not found an update for our AT&T-branded 8X, though we’ll update this article as more information comes in.

For those with the 8X, you may want to head into Settings > Phone Update and use the force-check to see if something is waiting for you. If you do get an update, please post your carrier (if any) and any new changes in comments. You can also find more information and discuss the update in our support forums: http://forums.windowscentral.com/htc-8x/

Thanks, Steffen S., Dennis A., and Plasmid, for the tips!

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While everyone focuses in on the Lumia 1020, 925 and 928 these days, T-Mobile once had an interesting Windows Phone 8 device dubbed the Lumia 810. Exclusive to the T-Mobile, the phone was an off-shoot of the Lumia 820 but it was more blocky and it only came in black. The phone never received much support, evidently not selling well, and it was recently discontinued, leaving many current owners wondering about future updates.

Indeed, the Lumia 810 is missing things like Wi-Fi calling and with it being EOL (end of life), there was no word if it would see the combo GDR2 and Amber update.

What we can tell you is that the T-Mobile is testing GDR2 right now on the Lumia 810 (see image below). What we can’t say is if this update is definitely coming. That’s because there’s a difference between testing a software update for a phone and actually signing off on it for distribution.

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Microsoft is offering 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions for free with Office 365 Home Premium and University annual subscriptions, as well as the physical boxed products. All purchases before September 28th will be eligible for the free Xbox Live upgrade. If you're yet to get the new Office suite and own an Xbox, now is a perfect opportunity to get stuck in.

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Results of the largest mobile developer study, spanning 115 countries and 6,000 participating developers has shown that more developers plan to start developing apps and games for Windows Phone than any competing platform. That may sound like something to celebrate, but we have to remember that 71 percent of developers who took part in the study already have work published for Android and 56 percent on iOS. That said, it's positive they're showing interest in Microsoft's mobile OS.

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We all know that Nokia Lumias tend to record the best audio in addition to photos and video. That’s due to their inclusion of high-amplitude audio capture (HAAC) microphones on their various devices, including their entry level Lumias.

Indeed, the Lumia 1020 has three microphones (like the 920) all positioned for ideal recording, except now Nokia has enabled full stereo ability—a feature that will be coming to other 9xx Lumias in the future via an update.

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