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Report: Windows Phone may supersede Windows RT by 2015

Microsoft will have Windows 8.1 out the door shortly, but what will follow the update? Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet has heard from sources that the Windows team will release a small Spring 2014 update alongside the release of Windows Phone 8.1 "Blue". That pushes back the Windows Phone 8.1 expectations back by a few months, as it was previously hinted to be early 2014 instead of the Spring.

Not only that, but sources suggest we could well be looking at the Windows Phone OS being used for hardware with larger displays, superseding Windows RT. 

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We’ve been wanting to see Windows on smaller tablets for a long, long time. The Acer W3 came out earlier this summer, but its poor screen and lack of Windows 8.1 as default held it back. Thankfully with Windows 8.1 hitting the world tomorrow we’ll begin to see more and more devices in the 7 to 8-inch size. Lenovo has a new one joining the likes of the Dell Venue and others. It’s called the Miix2 and it looks like a winner on paper so far. Specs and pricing after the break.

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Time was that Microsoft notified us of every Red Stripe Deal (then called the Xbox Live Deal of the Week) in advance. Sadly they stopped doing so many moons ago, but that hasn’t stopped our inquisitive nature. Today I was sniffing around all Wolverine-like and caught wind of tomorrow’s deals through unofficial channels – a day ahead of schedule.

The Xbox Red Stripe Deal is Rocket Riot from Codeglue, on sale for $1.99. Brain Seal’s indie RPG Dark Quest and the popular Tweet It! App from My Amazing Big Fork are both 99 cents. Head past the break for screenshots and Store links!

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Lenovo's IdeaPad YOGA 2 Pro is on sale now

Lenovo’s IdeaPad YOGA 2 Pro is officially on sale and starting at $1,049. When the original YOGA was released, we considered it close to perfection; the new Lenovo YOGA 2 Pro brings that dream one step closer to reality.

The YOGA 2 Pro sports a 3200 x 1800 10-point multi-touch display and is backed up by IPS support. Additional improvements include a new Lenovo Transition system, which automatically locks the keyboard in place when the hinge is flipped 360 degrees into tablet mode. The keyboard has also been upgraded and includes a backlit keyboard for easy use in low light situations.

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Although the Microsoft / Nokia agreement announced early last month caused shockwaves in the industry, many analysts have rightly been cautious about the acquisition of Nokia’s hardware division. That’s because the deal has not been finalized nor approved, by anyone, and the process is not expected to be completed until early 2014.

The question on many minds though, including our own, is what are things like now between the two companies? One stream of thought is that Microsoft and Nokia are going forward, working on devices, and that they have begun to merge divisions, knocking down those barriers that Belfiore referred to in an interview with CNET. Better phones, more exciting software, right?

However, Hal Berenson, a retired Distinguished Engineer and General Manager at Microsoft, says it is just the opposite. In an insightful blog post he notes that Microsoft is having little to no influence on anything Nokia is doing right now—in fact, it probably has less power than before the deal was announced.

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Football is a huge sport on a global scale, but it's particularly special here in the UK. There are numerous ways to remain up-to-date with leagues, fixtures and results on Windows Phone and Window 8, but what about individual teams? How does one check latest news and other data for their favourite squad? Cue 1st4Fans for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

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Halo 3 for Xbox 360 now free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers

Today marks the availability of October’s second Games with Gold offering for Xbox 360 owners. From now through October 31, Xbox Live Gold members can download one of the console’s earliest hits: Halo 3 from Bungie and Microsoft Studios.

If you’ve never tried the series, this is a great chance to see what all the fuss is about. And even existing Halo fans might enjoy the wealth of new players that will be jumping online into this classic first-person shooter.

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EE announces new, cheaper 4G plans for the UK

The UK mobile operator is looking to attract more custom by offering more affordable 4G plans. Since the company launched 4G in the UK, consumers have commented on how expensive the new plans were, especially taking into account how little data was included. Along with the new pricing, EE also unveiled PAYG 4G.

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Smartphones have changed the way we point and shoot. Mobile devices sported sub-par cameras were simply used sparingly, while actual point and shoot, compact systems and DSLRs were used for higher quality results. Now we have half-decent shooters inside smartphones, but Nokia took things further with its PureView technology (Nokia 808 PureView) and Windows Phone.

The Lumia 920 was the first Lumia Windows Phone to feature OIS (optical image stabilisation). Then followed the Lumia 925, which added an extra lens to the mix. Finally we have the Lumia 1020, the Windows Phone with a 41MP sensor, Xenon flash and more. It's truly a remarkable device.

Nokia is designating October 20th as "International Mobile Photography Day."

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This week, Microsoft is celebrating Xbox Live by announcing and sharing new features throughout the week. Yesterday we had our first look at the new Friends App on Xbox One. Plenty of new changes and features are coming to Xbox Live in the next-generation. Here are some new changes for how multiplayer works and how the Xbox One is built for the future. Videos and details below.

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Last Thursday, Nokia gave the Lumia community a nice little surprise with their beta app Glance Background. The app allows users with phones that support the Glance Screen to add images to the mix. It was welcomed with open arms and the creativity in the community was on full display with the little contest we put together in the Forums.

It was tough to pick our favorite three, but we finally settled on some images to win some gift cards to the Windows Phone Central Store. Let’s check out the winners.

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Hipstamatic has been relentless in their support for Windows Phone. Their Oggl and Oggl Pro apps for Windows Phone launched earlier this summer alongside the Nokia Lumia 1020. When they initially came out, performance and features were lacking a bit. Constant updates have improved the apps to more than adequate. Let’s check out what’s new in the latest update for Oggl and Oggl Pro.

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If you’re using Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (Preview), and according to today’s poll many of you are, then you’re probably enjoying the benefits of the new screen rotation orientation lock.

A long sought after feature, albeit minor, is the new setting that allows you to lock the OS in place so that it won’t auto-rotate—great for when lying in bed. In fact, it’s your third favorite feature right behind the preview program and ‘X’ button for closing apps.

There’s just one problem: the orientation lock settings are a pain to get to. If you want to toggle the orientation lock, you need to hop into Settings, scroll down the massive list of choices, find the orientation lock and then toggle it. It’s far from ideal in terms of efficiency. Microsoft could easily fix this by making the setting pinnable to the Start screen for easy access, and hopefully they will for the final release.

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Yesterday, Microsoft surprised us by not only announcing the features coming in GDR3 (also known as Update 3), but by releasing the update for download through their new Developer Preview Program. We have a fairly good idea of what’s new and improved with the update, but small trinkets are still being discovered by developers and enthusiasts around the globe. The latest discovery is one that can help make Windows Phone even more personal.

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The Verge reports that Microsoft may well be looking to relax its requirements regarding the hardware capacitive buttons on Windows Phones. Currently, OEM partners include three buttons on the front of each device; back, home and search. These have been with the platform since launch back in 2010, but we could well be seeing a slight change with potential hybrid hardware and more when Windows Phone 8.1 is released.

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We’ve previously covered the successful Kickstarter project for the NFC Ring, a metal band that gives you a two-sided method to transfer data. If the Kickstarter project hit a certain threshold to raise funds, they would make a Windows Phone app and they have done just that.

Now, MSN Video has released a nice five-minute video, hosted by Kate Russell, showcasing how the device works, including practical applications in real life situations. A little after the three minute mark, you can see a Nokia Lumia 925 being used to demonstrate the accompanying app, which you use to write instructions to the ring.

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Brazilian Windows Phone fans got a treat yesterday when Nokia's top two smartphones, the Lumia 1020 and the Lumia 925, were released. The Lumia 1020, Nokia's flagship Windows Phone device, is available in black and white, with yellow on its way. It will run you a cool R$2,399 ($1101 USD). The lightweight aluminum Lumia 925, also available in black and white, comes in slightly less at R$1799 ($824 USD).

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With Mobile You, the final week of Talk Mobile 2013 done, it's time for another survey, because we just love quantifiable data here. These surveys have helped us learn more about you and how you use your devices, as well as giving us the data to build awesome infographics for gaming and keyboards. Bringing together everything we from across all of Talk Mobile, Mobile You week was just full of awesome - from how to pick your device, what's best for you, what they can do for you, and how we truly make these devices our own.

So here is the Mobile You week survey - it's only a few dozen questions so it shouldn't take too long. Plus they're all multiple choice questions, and being a survey there's no "right" answer (so we better not catch you cheating off your neighbor). And because we love you, completing the survey will enter you for a chance to win a $100 Best Buy gift card. Bribery, incentive, cash-for-data, call it what you want, it's potentially gadget money you didn't have before, so that's cool, right?

Click here to take the Talk Mobile - Mobile You Survey!

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To our eyes and ears, it looks like even big media is getting behind Windows Phone. This morning, Natalie Morales on the popular NBC morning show ‘Today’ showcased Driving Mode, which comes in Update 3 for Windows Phone.

Though the segment is brief, clocking in at 15 seconds, it highlights the fact that drivers can now automatically silence incoming text messages and phone calls, in addition to auto-responding. They contrast it against the ubiquitous ‘Airplane Mode’ that mobile phone users are all familiar with an emphasis on consumer safety.

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When the majority of us think about Kinect, we think about shouting “Xbox, Play” to get our Netflix movie rolling or we picture ourselves waddling around the living room trying to get our groove on with games like Dance Central. If we step outside the world of gaming, we can see how the Kinect for Windows SDK can be used in retail. To help us imagine the world for Kinect outside of gaming, Microsoft has released a video showcasing how the high tech accessory can be used in various retail scenarios.

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Rovio has today announced a new title in the Angry Birds series. The popular company has been releasing top-rated games for multiple platforms and just like the previous Angry Birds Star Wars instalment, Angry Birds Go! will launch across the board. 

Confirmed on Twitter, Windows Phone owners will be able to download and enjoy the new take on the Angry Birds game. So, what's it all about and should you be interested? Well, it's not a classic Angry Birds game, but instead a take on the racing genre. Think Mario Kart meets Angry Birds.

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