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In the world of Windows Phone one it’s easy to forget that companies besides Nokia make devices. They tend to dominate the airwaves, but other companies do make some solid devices out there running Windows Phone. One of those devices is the Samsung ATIV S. That with a little bit of push from Samsung could have been so much more. If you happen to be holding one of those devices unlocked and free of carrier branding you might be able to get the GDR2 update for it right now.

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Nokia has only just announced the Lumia 1020 Windows Phone, as well as new imaging API for developers to take advantage of to create unique and feature rich experiences. If you're a resident developer and would like to get your hardcoding hands on the new flagship smartphone, this article is for you. Nokia is going to be handing out prizes, including the Lumia 1020, to developers who get creative with the camera.

With the latest in mobile photography, the company really is pushing the boundaries and wants software to follow suit.

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Earlier this year Microsoft and other tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook were accused of giving the government backdoor access to their systems. The program, in operation since 2007, is called PRISM and is operated by United States National Security Agency. Recent leaks by Edward Snowden revealed a relationship that has been in place for quite some time. Microsoft in particular has been singled out in regards to Skype communications allegedly being available to the government. All companies involved have denied giving the government direct access.

In a recent blog post, Microsoft goes on the offensive and responds to the issue around government demands for your data. Here is what is currently going down.

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Nokia is looking to roll out an update for its family of Windows Phone 8 products to introduce Bluetooth 4.0 support. Sources familiar with company plans have confirmed to The Verge that the update will include "low energy support for fitness devices like Fitbit, as well as a range of accessories Nokia is looking to launch".

We previously looked at leaked a PowerPoint slide detailing Bluetooth 4.0 support for the Lumia 520, 620 and 720, but Nokia will also reportedly be updating the 820, 920 and Lumia 1020 families of Windows Phones. All Nokia Windows Phone 8 hardware evidently include chipsets that support Bluetooth 4.0, but the functionality has yet to be enabled.

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JDB Pocketware, the developer behind HandyScan and 7Dialer, has updated their SkyManager app.  SkyManager is a Windows Phone app that offers an decent alternative means to access and manage your SkyDrive account.

The version 1.5 update brings a few new features to the mix, notably the ability to upload files to your SkyDrive account in the background. You also have a new sharing option to post images to Facebook and the ability to pick a SkyDrive folder when uploading via picture>share.

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Microsoft’s On the Whiteboard” video series is beginning to show us how terrifying the Redmond campus actually is. Last week our host, Pamela Woon, took us on a tour to a place where no one can hear you scream. This week we are touring a building that is described by Surface team member, Ben Reed, as “a medieval dungeon where each room has a device that is a torture chamber.”

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Today is the day for pre-ordering your Lumia 1020. Right now AT&T has their page set up (and Best Buy), ready for to take your order for the device and its accessories. But a few of you have been clicking the refresh page for the Microsoft Store so you can grab that free camera grip!

But it’s not live yet, here’s how you can order the Lumia 1020 through the Microsoft Store.

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Almost exactly a year ago, Chinese device manufacturer OPPO was rumored to be working on a Windows Phone 8 device that was slated for a 2013 release. If recent images that were posted on Sina Weibo (Twitter's Chinese counterpart) by OPPO’s Social Marketing Director Li Ying Ming are to be believed, then the rumors could be close to coming to fruition. The pictures show what appears to be a mockup (translation: not a real) of OPPO's Android-powered Find 5 running Windows Phone 8.

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Like most people who picked up an Iconia W3 8-inch tablet, running full Windows 8 on an Intel Atom processor, we loved the concept but recoiled at some of the execution.  We’ve joked in the past that Acer has two design teams: A and B with the former being responsible for the S7 and R7 (gorgeous devices) and the B team overseeing the less-than-pretty W510 and W3.

Forgetting the looks of the W3, which seem to be something designed three years ago, functionally the nimble 8-inch tablet had one glaring flaw: its display. In 2013, IPS displays are all the rage and found in most ultrabooks and laptops, giving users high visibility at various angles and great color saturation. High viewing angles are even more relevant for a device that you hold in your hands and flip around.

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Poll: Did you pre-order your AT&T Nokia Lumia 1020?

Now that AT&T and Best Buy have online pages for pre-ordering the coveted Nokia Lumia 1020 today (we’re still waiting on Microsoft Store), the question is have you put in your order?

Take our poll, let us know your plans. We’ll make sure to have a launch party celebration in 10 days for this device, which should garner a lot of headlines and ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from passersby’s on the street.  (If on your smartphone, head to m.wpcentral.com/poll-did-you-pre-order-your-att-nokia-lumia-1020 to participate!)

 

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Following up on the Best Buy availability, for those who want to go straight to the horse’s mouth and purchase the Nokia Lumia 1020 via AT&T, you can now get your pre-orders in through their website.

Coming in at $299 on contract and that $659 we told you about over the weekend, the high-end camera phone with a 41MP sensor and advanced cropping comes in yellow, white and black.

For those who purchase online, you can opt for free priority shipping or pay $14.95 for overnight (we used to remember Sprint overnighting as part of the deal). Since this is for pre-orders though, there is no in-store availability option, meaning if you go this route you’ll have to wait for it in the mail. If however you want the Lumia 1020 the day it comes out, your best bet is to head to your AT&T store and have them take down your information to reserve one (if possible) on a first come, first serve basis.

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If you’re anxious to pick up the Nokia Lumia 1020 on AT&T, due in ten days, then you may want to consider Best Buy. The massive retailer has now posted the phone in all three colors (yellow, black and white) for a contract price of $299 and off-contract for a massive $749.

Of course the bargain for some of you may for those who have Best Buy gift cards or Rewards Zone offers to apply to this phone, reducing the overall price. Otherwise, heading to AT&T or even a Microsoft Store may yield a better price.

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Nokia has announced a new partnership with Gi Group (www.gigroup.com), a leading Italian multinational human resources company. Replacing BlackBerry, Windows Phones will now be used as its business smartphone. Dealing with temporary employment, staff leasing, research and selection, outplacement, HR consulting and training in 19 countries around the world, mobile technology is certainly an important part of the business. 

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The CEO of Finnish retailer Verkkokauppa (www.verkkokauppa.com), Samuli Seppälä has reported that pre-orders for the Lumia 1020 are looking strong. The Nokia flagship Windows Phone has been available for little more than a few days, but that hasn't stopped consumers getting stuck in, waving cash in the air. Stating the retailer has received hundreds of orders from consumers, Seppälä paints a jolly picture for Nokia, especially in its homeland.

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Microsoft has released yet another update for its Facebook Beta app. If you're not familiar with the program, it enables you to enjoy all the latest Facebook features before the company updates the public version on the store. Hitting version 5.0.2.3, the Windows Phone app likely sports minor fixes and improvements since we're not looking at a major jump from the previous update.

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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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