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We've had fairly standard pricing here in the UK when it comes to the Pay-As-You-Go market. Mobile operators have kept to an affordable model that provides customers with ample usage between topping-up. Three UK has today looked to change this for the better by slashing its PAYG pricing. If you're one who wishes to remain off-contract, these new prices may pique your interest.

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Microsoft has today unveiled and launched a new client for Xbox Music. Subscribers to the service can now enjoy music through the web interface. The new client (found at music.xbox.com) shares a similar look and feel to the Windows 8.1 Xbox Music app we recently looked at, which isn't a negative. Keeping it all familiar is a bonus for those who utilise multiple platforms.

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Well, it looks like there’s some good news coming out of Finland tonight, as Bloomberg is reporting that Nokia has agreed to buy out the half of the joint-venture from Siemens. Nokia-Siemens Networks had been losing money until recently and Siemens had wanted to get away from the deal, so it’s not too much of a surprise that Nokia would pick up the now profitable division.

The sale price is reportedly “less than 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion)” and Nokia will use a bridge loan to help finance the purchase, in a deal that some investors will welcome while others may frown upon due to the tight purse strings already at the struggling smartphone maker.

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Halo: Spartan Assault is coming to both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. It marks the first time in the franchise’s history that it won’t be on console or PC. It’s also the second time there will be a departure in gameplay from the series trademark first-person shooter experience. This past week at //BUILD/ we learned a bit more about the upcoming game. We also have a better picture of when it should be on your Windows Phone 8 device – the middle of July.

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While we use this weekend to recover from the whirlwind that is //BUILD/, there is still plenty of news to discuss from the past week. A preview of Windows 8.1 was released to everyone in attendance at Build and to anyone willing to try it out around the globe. Microsoft stressed that Windows 8.1 is just Windows 8, but refined. And in the short few days we’ve been playing we’re going to have to agree with that assessment.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring Windows 8.1 side-by-side with you, finding new features and tricks. One of our new favorites is the ability to have two or more Windows 8 apps opened at once, without having to put one snap. But how do the apps interact with the Charms when you have more than one open? Let’s find out.

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With the scarcity of certain types of games on Windows Phone, many players turn to emulators to get their fix. Emulators allow us to play titles designed for older videogame consoles on our phones. Download an emulator and you’ll have access to hundreds of classic games, assuming you can find the ROMs (software images) for those games. Some people consider playing old games via emulation to be software piracy, while everybody else marvels at just how cool it is to play those old games on the go.

The gaming emulators on Windows Phone come from two key developers, M.k and Samuel Blanchard. Today we bring you an in-depth interview with Samuel, the French developer who created Purple Cherry (a GameBoy Color emulator) and Blue Tomato (a Sega Master System emulator). Read on to learn about the challenges of porting emulators to Windows Phone and what Samuel’s next projects will be!

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ZEN & TECH 54: Change aversion

ZEN & TECH is our Mobile Nations lifestyle podcast, focused not just on the gadgets and apps that we use, but how we can use them to make our lives happier and better. It's centering for our inner geeks!

Windows 8 made us want our Start button back. iOS 7 caused icon strife. BlackBerry 10 was a huge departure. Going from TouchWiz to Sense can be stressful. And that's just technology! Imagine changing jobs, partners, and places in life! Georgia and Rene discuss the challenges of change!

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We recently told you that Verizon dropped their price of the Lumia 928 from $99 on contract to just $49—a very competitive price (especially when compared to the $99 BlackBerry Z10, which itself was reduced from $199).

But for those of you still on the fence, you may want to check out Amazon.com, as they have the Lumia 928 for $0.99 on a 2-year contract (Individual or Family) or for $499 without a contract. Since the phone has an unlocked GSM slot for Verizon’s LTE network, you can even use this on other carriers, were you to buy it out right (though you’d be missing some bands on some networks).

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Look, we're as excited as you guys when headlines pop up across the Internet stating that the Lumia 925 has a notification light and the Windows logo flashes in the attempt to grab the owner's attention, but we're not convinced. And neither is Nokia (seriously, we've asked numerous times). That said, we've previously seen in person this blinking Windows capacitive key back when the Lumia 925 was announced (alongside the Lumia 928), but we were informed that it's simply related to debugging (basically the current power-state, blinking was a low-cycle).

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Best Buy for Windows Phone 8 hits the Store, shop away.

The Best Buy app for Windows Phone has been updated. In the past the app hasn’t been well received. A mix of poor design and usability being the biggest culprits of the apps 2 star average in the Windows Phone Store. Does the recent revamp warrant a higher rating? Let’s check it out.

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This has been an incredibly busy week for Windows Phone, despite //BUILD/ having nothing major in regards to Windows Phone news. We’ve seen the Discovery Network release three apps, ABC News join the fray, ING Group, Voxer, and more! Crazy right? Well it’s not over because Redbox now has an official app in the Windows Phone Store. Details after the break.

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Zeiss is a well known brand name from the company named after it's founder, Carl Zeiss AG. According to the Ziess.com blog the company is changing its name to Zeiss to create consistency across its brand communications.

What does this have to do with Windows Phone? Well, Nokia uses Zeiss lenses in several of their Lumia Windows Phones, including the upcoming Lumia 1020/EOS. We've seen leaked images of the camera plate on the EOS that were branded with both "Zeiss" and "Carl Zeiss". Some have thought the images with the Zeiss label were fake.

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The Lumia 521 is T-Mobile's exclusive low-end Nokia Windows Phone. It's essentially the Lumia 520, which is available elsewhere, but sports a unique and interesting design. We've recently looked at how Walmart has limited stock of this rather elusive smartphone, but we've just been made aware of two awesome deals available online at GameStop and FRYS.

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If you follow our Xbox Windows Phone editorial coverage, then you know I’ve often been critical of the Xbox certification process. Microsoft created a set of certification policies back in the Xbox 360’s early years that were intended to ensure the highest quality game releases and discourage the release of buggy games. These same policies were then extended wholesale to subsequent Xbox platforms, including Games for Windows Live (PC), Windows 8, and Windows Phone.

Problem is the aging and restrictive policies weren’t designed to reflect the changing nature of the games industry, and certainly not to account for the differences in development between consoles and platforms like Windows Phone. Modern game development isn’t about shipping a game and then trying not to ever update it. No, games these days (whether they have In-App Purchases or not) are updated continuously throughout their life spans.

Indie hits like Minecraft and top smartphone games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope would never have remained as relevant as they are without the constant stream of updates and support from their developers. And the Xbox certification policies dating back to 2005 have been nothing but an impediment towards that kind of support. BUT it turns out that Microsoft discreetly relaxed their policies towards updating games earlier this year – on the Xbox 360, at least.

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NewsSpot was an impressive Google Reader app for our Windows Phone. In a few days though, Google Reader will be no more and changes were needed. Enter the version 3.1 update for NewsSpot which brings support for NewsBlur.

NewsBlur has gained in popularity since Google tanked its Reader and has a free account or a paid subscription that will run $24 annually.

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Amazon is currently launching its AutoRip service in Europe, which will join the already established US version. Music purchased through the cloud player and those bought on the Amazon websites are stored in the online music storage to be played on multiple devices, including the Kindle Fire family, iPhone and iPad, Android hardware and through a web browser. Native Windows and Windows Phone apps are yet to be developed but are said to be on the table.

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Sometimes when the Xbox Windows Phone title updates rain, they pour. Today is one of those days, as three games from three different publishers just received the update treatment: Ubisoft’s Monster Burner, Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride, and Rovio’s Angry Birds Space (Windows Phone 8 version).

Title updates are almost always good news. But in the case of the Monster Burner update, some will consider it a mixed bag. Depending on how far along you are in the game, you might want to avoid it! Find out why after the break.

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Unity, developers of the wildly popular gaming engine of the same name, announced yesterday at Build 2013 that they have struck up a "strategic partnership" with Microsoft to develop for Xbox One and Windows Phone 8. This collaboration with Microsoft means the development of new development tools geared specifically for both platforms, "including support for many next-generation features like enhanced Kinect gestures and recognition, multiplayer matchmaking, SmartGlass and cloud stuff."

In addition to opening up the development floodgates to both platforms, the new partnership will also benefit those who choose to develop games using the Unity engine.

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While everyone was celebrating yesterday about Mint.com jumping on Windows Phone I was still anxiously awaiting for MyFitnessPal to get bumped to Windows phone 8. For those of you who don’t know, MyFitnessPal is a free service for monitoring what you eat (calories, exercise, and planning). It also syncs nicely with FitBit which is why I primarily use it.

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Polyhegrams is another Windows Phone gaming title in the works that is a product of the AppCampus. AppCampus is a joint venture between Microsoft, Aalto University in Finland and Nokia to promote quality Windows Phone app development such as Dark Lands, Project Tripod and now Polyhegrams.

Polyhegrams, pronounced Pol-EE-HE-grams, is from LateNight Apps (named for the hours spent on development) and the game is a unique twist on traditional word games. The game is a combination of boggle-styled games, word search, word riddles and fill-in the blank word puzzles all in a 3D environment.

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Not too long ago paid version of the Windows Phone game Ruzzle was unleashed on the Windows Phone Store. With the release, there was promises from the developer that a free version was in the works.

That promise was met today with the release of Ruzzle Free.

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The Nokia Lumia 925 is set to become T-Mobile’s flagship Windows Phone 8 device very soon. In fact, all signs point to July 17 as the device’s American release date. That’s great news for T-Mobile customers who require a little more hardware power than the value-priced Lumia 521 can provide.

Nokia and T-Mobile know just how much potential the Lumia 925 has to be a hit on this side of the ocean, and so they’re engaging in an advertising blitz in several popular magazines. We’ve spotted a two-page spread in the latest Rolling Stone as well as two separate advertisements in the July issue of Wired (one shown above).

To top it off, the QR code in the Rolling Stone ad leads to Nokia’s web portal for the Lumia 925. T-Mobile customers will want to head there and sign up to be notified by email when the phone shows up in stores. The page also features a number of new images and at least one new video that shows off the 925 camera’s low light abilities. Check the video and print ads out after the break!

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