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Just last week, T-Mobile dropped another bomb on the mobile phone industry by announcing their JUMP! program, allowing consumers to upgrade twice a year (after an initial six month wait), with no upgrade fees or contracts.

Now it’s AT&T’s turn, who just announced 'AT&T Next', their yearly device upgrade program for smartphones or tablets. Unlike today, when you opt for the yearly upgrade using Next there will be “no down payment, no activation fee, no upgrade fee and no financing fees”.

So how does it work? It’s similar to the T-Mobile model in that you agree to pay a monthly installment on the phone, which can range from $15 up to $50, depending on the device (the Galaxy S4 is cited as an example at $32 a month). After 12 payments, users can upgrade to a new device with no down payment or they can continue to pay off their device for another 8 months (for 20 in total).

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At the Nokia Zoom Re-Invented event, there was mention that Nokia was going to make their imaging SDK available to third party developers to use in their Windows Phone 8 apps. Additionally, Nokia has a Map and Music Explorer API available for developers to tap into as well.

To give developers and consumers a feel for things, Nokia has made available five example applications that demonstrate the Map API, Music API, and several imaging SDKs.  The Music and Map apps have been out for some time now but the imaging apps are relatively new.

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Microsoft releases Network Speed Test app for Windows 8

If you’re running both Windows Phone and Windows you’re probably like us in that you love seeing the same app for both platforms. There’s something about that unified design and similar functionality that just makes us giddy. So even if we’re late to the party, we’re happy to see Microsoft Research’s Network Speed Test app on Windows 8.

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When it comes to mobile gaming on Windows Phone you’ve got a variety of choices. There’s something for everyone between killer Xbox Live enabled games to strong titles from independent developers. But Windows Phone is still a bit lower on the totem pole of important platforms when it comes to independent game developers. It’s always a nice day when a popular game on either Android or iOS makes the jump to Windows Phone. So it’s an even better day when it comes from both platforms, like Battleloot Adventure for Windows Phone 8 just did. Let’s check it out.

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Love it or hate it, Windows 8 is an operating system that is trying to break new ground. Microsoft’s move to rethink their world famous platform is the grandest risk and endeavor that the company has ever taken. For those of us on Facebook, think of when an update is released and brings minor changes, but a major user backlash. The idea that people don’t enjoy change is just one of the battles the Redmond company faces as it climbs the hill to a new beginning.

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Over the weekend we showed you some internal AT&T training videos for the soon-to-launch Lumia 1020. Concentrating on its massive 41MP camera, the videos also revealed a few accessories that AT&T is planning to co-launch on July 26th (remember, pre-orders start tomorrow).

Windows Phone Central can now confirm a few of those accessories, including an elegant all-black leather case from AGF ($35) and an OtterBox Defender ($50) for you folks who work at industrial sites and want to protect your new $650 investment.

Both accessories should be available for in-store purchases on the 26th and online ordering as well.

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Look at this, a deal that isn’t focused in the United States. Our friends across the pond can take advantage of these sweet savings if they’re based in the UK and have a Nokia Lumia 925

While wireless charging isn’t integrated into the device like the Lumia 920, it’s worth checking out. Especially with the following deal after the break...

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A few days ago, we told you about Microsoft Stores doing a pre-order for the upcoming Lumia 1020 starting tomorrow, July 16th (one day before T-Mobile sells the Lumia 925, fancy that). If you did so, you were going to nab a $79 camera grip accessory for free so long as you do the whole two-year agreement thing.

We noted at the time that in the specifications it listed 32GB and 64GB versions, but we told you that was most likely a typo as only Telefonica (and their sub-carriers) are getting that coveted version. In other words, nothing to see here, please move on.

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You may recall reading about my account of what happened when I took my Nokia Lumia 920 out for a spin on my bike with a sub-standard bike mount back in June and how it took a beating that only an action hero could withstand.

I figured I would post a follow up on how my Lumia 920's story, like those of the silver screen, had a fairly happy ending, complete with a new grey chassis.

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Want to win a Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone? Want to get it before everyone else? Here's your chance.

Nokia U.S. is giving away five AT&T branded Lumia 1020 Windows Phones over on Facebook. The contest runs until 11:59am on July 23, 2013 and entry is simple.  Just head on over here to Nokia U.S.'s Facebook page and enter your contact information. You'll need to be a legal resident of U.S. or District of Columbia and 16 years of age or older.

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This Wednesday, July 17th, T-Mobile is set to launch the aluminum based Nokia Lumia 925—a sister device to the flagship Lumia 920 with improved camera optics and a thinner, lighter shell. But you wouldn’t know it if you called your Microsoft or T-Mobile Store to find out.

A handful of anxious and future Lumia 925 owners have been either calling or stopping by their local Microsoft or T-Mobile stores to find out more information about the high end Windows Phone—T-Mobile's first, for Nokia. Turns out, quite a few are getting shrugs and “we don’t have any information” from customer service reps.

Microsoft Stores reportedly don’t have anything to say on the device, though they will take your Lumia 1020 pre-order—which is great if you’re on AT&T. With T-Mobile, it seems that they know more about the Android-based Sony Xperia Z, which also launched the same day as the Lumia 925.

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Over a year ago, Aviary released their photo SDK for Windows Phone. It allowed developers to quickly and easily add photo editing capabilities to their applications with relatively little work. A lot of apps added Aviary to their already existing app in the Store, like Rowi. Now, the company has a new app called Photo Editor just for Windows Phone 8. Let’s check it out.

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Today Microsoft’s OneNote team announced an update for their Windows Store application, adding two new features. The first addition to the app allows users to easily sign in with their Office 365 accounts to open up and edit notes from work. The second addition allows users to easily dismiss the touch screen keyboard while working.

To open one of your Office 365 notebooks in OneNote, start the application and select the “More Notebooks” option in the upper right corner. Next, select “Add a work or school account” at the bottom of the screen.

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Daily deal site PayDeals has the Nokia DT-910 wireless charging stand for $45, a 35% savings on its regular retail price of $69.00. PayDeals has the charging stand in both black and white and ships for free. This deal runs for another three and a half days or while supplies last.

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Here's an interesting, yet pointless fact for many: the Lumia 1020 sports barometer. The component is often utilised by meteorologists and is only found on one other smartphone - the Samsung Galaxy S4. What could this bring to the table? We honestly have no idea, but the ability to have this tool added to HERE services would be pretty ace. This wasn't promoted at the launch event, but the feature is listed on Nokia's website and developer documents.

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Microsoft has begun prototyping smartwatch devices under the Surface team, according to sources familiar with company plans. Microsoft was previously reported to have been testing a smartwatch prototype by the Xbox accessories team, with the original plan of a "Joule" heart rate monitor. It has been confirmed that prototypes include a variety of removable wrist bands in blue, red, yellow, black, white and grey. 

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Expansys UK has announced a limited time offer on the Lumia 920. The Nokia Windows Phone is available for just £329 (previously £429) and is also available on a financial plan for £26.40 per month. The flagship Windows Phone is certainly no slouch, even with the likes of the Lumia 1020 on the way. This is a steal for anyone looking to purchase a high-end smartphone at a reduced price.

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Microsoft has slashed its Surface RT pricing in the UK. Through official channels, the Windows RT tablet (32GB model) can now be picked up for just £279, a massive drop from the usual £399. If you're into more storage, the 64GB version is available for £359. This is the base price point so if you're wanting a keyboard and other accessories, you'll be further adding the cost up.

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This is a quick reminder to those who are looking at T-Mobile for their next Windows Phone or are already a customer. The US mobile operator has launched its new family plans today, alongside the new JUMP! program. The latter enables customers to upgrade their smartphone up to twice per year with protection against malfunction, damage, loss and theft for $10 per month. The former unlocks a new, cheaper plan for families.

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Windows Phone consumers have enjoyed a spur of official apps released for hardware running Microsoft's mobile OS. To follow suit, we're rather pleased to report that 9GAG and RoboForm have both confirmed to be working on a Windows Phone app. Good news if you've been holding off the giggles or resorting to an alternative password manager.

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We've followed the development of 6Sec, an unofficial Vine app for Windows Phone, for some time. Being part of the beta program has also enabled us to bring to you the latest features that have been implemented, prior to the app being published to the store. Rudy Huyn, the developer behind 6Sec, has now tweeted that the app will be going live later today at 7pm GMT (or 19:00 for us 24-hour folk).

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Microsoft has been reported to be planning numerous new features for its popular cloud storage service, SkyDrive. LiveSide has published a handful of new features that we can expect to see in a future update. We're talking about shared lists, folder mounting and Windows hardware settings backup management. Sounds interesting, right?

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