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IDC has released data showing an increase in smartphone shipments in Q2 2013 in Vietnam. 32.7 percent of total mobile phone shipments were smartphones, up from just 14.7 percent in Q2 2012. The good news here for Windows Phone is not only are we looking at a larger market for OEMs to take advantage of, but the platform has increased its share of the smartphone market in the region by a fair amount.

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Skype app for Windows Phone 8, which was bumped to version 2.10.0.251 this morning. The latest update brings along with it some substantive changes, including the previously missing Video messaging.

Video messaging was introduced by Skype earlier this summer and it quickly landed on their iOS and Android clients. Windows Phone though, despite receiving numerous updates since, was left on the side with an IOU from the Skype team. Up until today, Windows Phone 8 users were only able to view Video messages, but now they can also record and send them for free.

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Microsoft has today announced the availability Xbox One, which will launch on November 22nd. The initial launch markets will see the next-gen console hit stores and be fired up with the latest software from studios. Speculation about the dates led to some interesting guesswork, but now Redmond has put minds to rest by confirming when we can expect to see the product launch.

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As if 2013 could not have been a more pivotal year for Microsoft and Windows Phone, news tonight coming from Bloomberg claims that Redmond is still considering buying out BlackBerry.

BlackBerry has publicly revealed that they are seeking “strategic alternatives” for the company, including a merger or selling off the entire company (or pieces of it). In and of itself, that is big news although BlackBerry did do the same in 2012 and nothing came of it. Could this round be any different? Perhaps, as their new operating system, BB10, is not exactly setting the mobile world afire.

Microsoft has always been rumored to be interested in BlackBerry, but they are perhaps waiting for the right time. That may include waiting for Waterloo to shed some of its 17,000 employees and become a leaner purchase, or for BlackBerry to become cheaper and more desperate.  

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Windows Phone Central 162 - Microsoft buys Nokia

With the Microsoft-Nokia deal still cooling off, we're digging through all the news to discuss the implications to the Windows Phone platform. What will happen to the Lumia name? Will Nokia employees be in sync with their Microsoft counterparts? Did Microsoft really even want to buy Nokia?

Daniel Rubino, Jay Bennett and CrackBerry's Kevin Michaluk try to answer those questions as well as take yours in today's podcast. Watch the video podcast below, stream the audio or listen through our app...your choice. Discussion points after the break.

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When it comes to data plans on your mobile device, mileage varies from carrier, to region, to country. Some people might be grandfathered into unlimited data plans and now eat as much as they can on blazing fasts LTE networks. Others might be in an emerging market and are just experiencing 3G speeds for the first time. One way or the other, Nokia has an app that recently left beta to help people with tighter data budgets. Nokia Xpress is ready for the limelight.

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Samsung has released a number of updates for its Samsung Windows Phones. These solutions are listed on the Samsung Zone and can be accessed only by those with a Samsung Windows Phone 8 device. So what's been bumped to a new release? ATIV Beam, Photo Editor, Live Wallpaper and MiniDiary join Additional call settings on the update list.

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Vector 9: Ben Thompson on Microsoft's mobile dilemma

Ben Thompson of stratēchery joins Rene to talk about Microsoft in a post-Ballmer mobile market, the IBM analogy, whether they need to be more like Apple, and why Google and Samsung were so damn smart. Also: Nokia sale!

Note: This was originally supposed to be next week's episode of Vector, but due to Microsoft buying Nokia, we decided to fast-track. (It's especially interesting given Thompson, until recently, worked at Microsoft on the Windows 8 apps team, and previously interned at Apple on the Apple University project.)

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It took Voxer a month from announcing their plans for Windows Phone to producing an app in the Windows Phone Store. A lot of you were happy when the app came out, most because it was another official app joining the platform and it has an audience. That first app however had some issues. Does the latest update that came out today fix them? Let’s find out.

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Windows Phone Central 161

Whoa, better late than never! Hey everyone, join us for the previous Windows Phone Central podcast, episode 161, which we've finally managed to pull the audio from August 21st. Our apologies on that as we transition over to a new format. 

Oh and if you're looking for today's Microsoft-Nokia special podcast, that too is coming up later this evening (or you can watch the replay here). Stay tuned.

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Microsoft buying Nokia makes perfect sense

Despite the weakness in Microsoft’s stock price today (it’s down about 5%), I think their decision to buy Nokia’s hardware and services business is absolutely the right move. And it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. When Stephen Elop made the gutsy decision to kill Symbian and bet entirely on Windows Phone, most people correctly had a strong sense that this would eventually happen. 

But Wall Street isn’t too excited at the notion of Microsoft spending over $7 billion in cash to double down on its smartphone bet. And that’s understandable. It’s a lot of money for a potential failed deal. I think it probably will end up being successful for Microsoft. They’ve already climbed up to the #3 position in the smartphone market, having overtaken BlackBerry. If they can achieve this while having to balance the growth objectives of two separate companies, then I think it should only get easier for them as a combined entity.

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Earlier today Microsoft held a conference call for investors, analysts and the press to discuss its acquisition of Nokia's devices business. The audio only call followed a very tight structure around slides that had earlier been revealed to show some of the specifics of the deal.

If you missed that call don't panic as there wasn't a whole lot of new information, and you'll pick up everything important in the slides which you should be able to download at this link Edit: looks like that link has been pulled by Microsoft so here's a backup on Skydrive (app users remember to swipe right and tap the "View Links" button). Said presentation was then followed by a Q&A which we've done our best to capture in writing which you'll find after the break.

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The Xbox One will launch with a 500 GB internal, non-interchangeable hard drive. 500 GB would be an awfully confining storage space in the modern age of game installations, and downloadable games, movies, and music. Microsoft’s solution for users who need more storage space is external hard drive support. The Xbox One will support USB 3.0 hard drives, giving users a potentially unlimited (and relatively affordable) amount of storage space.

Unfortunately though, Xbox One users will not be able to take advantage of external storage solutions at launch. Larry Hyrb (Xbox Live’s Major Nelson) quietly dropped the news this weekend on his podcast. Why the delay and how much impact will it have? Read on to find out…

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As the dust begins to settle around the Microsoft-Nokia announcement late last night, a deal which won’t take effect until 2014 due to regulatory clearances, it has been revealed that Marko Ahtisaari will be leaving the company as well.

Ahtisaari has been a very public face of the company in terms of design, coming to signify the Lumia brand. Appearing in a few videos (see below), the soft-spoken Finn described why Nokia chose certain design aspects over others for their Lumia devices, highlighting the connection between “the digital and the physical”.

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Following last night's BIG Microsoft / Nokia news, we've been receiving a bunch of tweets from media sources wanting to speak with us but unsure of the best way to reach out to us for commentary or to setup an interview. So here's a friendly note on the best way to do just that.

Simply send an email to mediarequests @ mobilenations.com and put WPCentral Interview Request in the headline. We'll always do our best to comply with your requests. WPCentral's  Editor in Chief, Daniel Rubino, is not too far from Manhattan, so for big media based in NYC he's available for in-studio appearances. If you want to get the pulse of the Windows Phone community, he's your source.

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As of this moment, Stephen Elop is no longer CEO of Nokia. He has since vacated that position and now holds the title of executive vice president of Nokia’s Devices and Services division. Why did he do that? Didn’t you hear? Microsoft bought Nokia for 7.1 billion dollars. We’ve heard that Stephen Elop is reportedly on the "short list" to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO at Microsoft. How does this deal change the landscape?

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