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Office 2013

Oh, we certainly do love it, Microsoft.

Microsoft has announced today on its SkyDrive blog that the Office Web Apps Preview is finished, and the company has rolled out the latest updates across all SkyDrive and Outlook.com users. The preview programme, which saw more than 750,000 participants, has been running since July this year.

The updates that have been applied to the web apps include improvements that bring richer editing / format capabilities, co-authoring functionality for PowerPoint, and better support for touch-based devices - hello tablets / smartphones. So what do each of the improvements implemented mean for the consumer?

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NYC

With just days away before Microsoft opens its temporary holiday Stores we’re getting a first look at the big kahuna in mid-town Manhattan.

The Times Square Store looks to be one of the larger, more engaging of the retail outlets for the company and you can’t knock the location in the slightest. To say this is a high traffic area is an understatement, especially near the holiday season.

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Rogers Windows Phone Lineup

The three OEMs down together

Rogers has pledged strong support for Windows Phone 8 through the announcement of both exclusivities and hardware that makes use of Microsoft's latest mobile system. This mirrors the strong carrier support we've seen so far here in the UK. We managed to get some hands-on action with said devices, so be sure to pop on past the break for all the photos.

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Microsoft Surface Shipping Confirmation

Microsoft has begun shipping its Surface Windows RT tablets, according to confirmation emails that have been received by those who submitted orders. We've previously looked at delays and possible issues surrounding Microsoft's Surface pre-ordering process that left customers baffled not knowing when they'd receive their product.

We then covered the tweet that was published by the Surface Twitter account, which stated that original shipping and delivery dates will be upheld by Microsoft. No delays, always a confirmation consumers enjoy hearing. 

Could these emails be also sent in error? Only time will tell, but we highly doubt it.

Thanks, Rudy, for the image and tip!

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It’s always nice to hear chairman and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates share his thoughts on the company’s new strategy. And although he has left day-to-day operations of the company to Ballmer, there’s little doubt that he still has regular input on strategy, design and direction.

The video interview, conducted by Steve Clayton, shows Gates talking about how Windows 8 changes things for the company (he even calls it “Windows 8 Phone”, so yes, it’s a common mistake).

Nothing shocking is revealed but it’s still fun to watch the man talk about Microsoft and this bold, new direction in which they are heading.

Source: YouTube

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Microsoft Surface RT

To celebrate the launch of the Surface RT tablets, Microsoft is giving away a twelve month Xbox Music Pass ($99 value) to the first 100 people in line at their local stores.

There is also the hint of additional Xbox prizes to be given away at the launch events.

Just follow this link to find a store near you and plan on arriving early. Curious is anyone will be camping out for the Surface RT.  If so, good luck!

Thanks, stmav, for the tip!

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Rogers Microsoft

Rogers has published a blog post detailing what hardware the carrier will be sporting from Microsoft for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, as well as any exclusivities Rogers will hold on said devices. We're already aware of which Windows Phones the carrier will be taking, but the blog post also touches on carrier apps that will be pre-loaded.

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This week is going to be big news for Windows 8, today Skype have released a post about the coming metro style Windows 8 app.

Set to release at the same time as Windows 8 on the 26th the app looks set to seamlessly integrate with the OS in the People hub and provide “always on” connectivity. On top of that, this looks like one of the prettiest Windows 8 apps we have seen, showing that the metro style when done right is simply gorgeous.

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Surface street art hits Germany

WP Central

Looks like the first confirmed sighting of the Graffiti art Surface ads have been spotted, this time in Munich.

While we have seen them in the US and France this remains one of the first to be spotted in another country. With Windows 8 and Surface about to be unleashed could we be about to see them go out to all countries where Surface has been made available for pre-order?

Even though some variants of Surface have already sold out in the UK, we haven’t seen any ads at all. If you have seen ads in your country (apart from the US and France) please tell us!

Source: @phitsch via @MS_SurfaceEvang

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Windows 8 presents a totally new way of using the OS, from the new touch screen interface to buying stuff from a store. There will be much to learn for consumers and more importantly perhaps, retail store staff.

ExpertZone TV have posted up a video to help the folks who are going to sell these machines work up a nice demo. Unlike your granddads version of Windows, 8 presents more than its fair share of new concepts to get to grips with. Let’s see how well they present the hard sell!

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WP Central Microsoft launches Windows 8 this week – what to look out for

Yes folks it’s finally here, the week that will see Microsoft launch Windows 8, spearheading its massive 2012 product launch schedule. It’s keystone of the ‘Three Screens & Cloud’ play and this is where we see how it’s all going to shake out.

The pre-orders for Surface have started and even run dry in some regions, invites to the various launch events have gone out and now it’s time to put all the cards on the table. With such a wide ranging spruce-up of the entire product line from Xbox to Windows Phone, we’re in for a wild ride. Windows 8 will be at the centre of these launches, not just because it’s Windows but because with it we will see a whole host of services light up to enable the entire eco system.

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Deal of the WeekThis Week: Buy the Mobi Products Hard Shell Case for HTC Surround and save $15.00!

Made from a hard and durable plastic, the two-peice Mobi Hard Shell Case completely protects the HTC Surround against unforgiving drops. This case is extremely lightweight and thin in design while allowing access to all ports and functions of the Surround. Comes in black, blue, red, purple and pink.

List Price: $19.95     This Week: $4.95

Learn More and Buy Now

Never miss a deal. Sign up for Weekly Deal alerts!

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MetroSpec

MetroSpec, a ZX Spectrum emulator for Windows Phone, has been updated to version 1.4 (since we last looked at the app). We last covered MetroSpec when it was released to the Windows Phone Store, but soon encountered some issues with the submission process. The paid version was published, while the free, ad-supported version was left behind in the depths of app doom. 

The problem appeared to be on Microsoft's end, and while a solution or fix was worked on, MetroSpec lost potential users due to the lack of trial or free version available (we know how badly Windows Phone consumers love their app trials). Luckily things have been resolved finally and we're good to go with announcing both apps together.

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From the Forums

While we patiently move ever closer to Microsoft's Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 events, our readers will have better luck at the Windows Phone Central community forum with the Windows Phone news temporarily dried up. What has been happening over the weekend, discussion wise? It's time for another From the Forums - *cue badass theme tune*.

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MonsterUp Adventures

The original MonsterUp, an endless jumping game from Karios Games, received a ton of updates over its lifetime. Its sequel MonsterUp Adventures has long been due for an update, and now it’s finally gotten one. We’re pleased to have had a hand in the features list for this update, not unlike our contributions to the recent Gerbil Physics patch. That aside, this one in particular really tightens up MonsterUp Adventures and makes it a much more enjoyable game.

Check out our impressions and two scoops of MonsterUp Windows 8 news after the break.

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WP Central

Update: The Lumia 920 is still hidden from the Best Buy system but if you use this link, you can still find it and evidently pre-order it. Thanks, anujtwp, for the link

Just this morning we woke up gleefully to find that Best Buy was finally taking pre-orders for AT&T’s Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X. Even better was what seemed like a fair price for the Lumia 920: $150 on contract, coming in below the normal $200 mark for high-end smartphones.

But alas, something is awry and the Lumia 920 has gone missing from Best Buy’s site. Even more odd is how the HTC 8X is still listed for pre-order. Glitch? Error? Sold out? We really have no idea and hopefully tomorrow either we’ll wake to find it fixed or we’ll ask Nokia if they know what’s going on with the whole deal.

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Lumia 920

Negri Electronics, a retailer in the US, has opened up Lumia 920 pre-orders with a price tag of $698.59. The unlocked Windows Phone, available at the online store in yellow, will be available to consumers on supported networks. Unfortunately no shipping or release date estimations have been provided.

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Windows Phone 8 preorders at BestBuy

The AT&T Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC 8X Windows Phones are now available for pre-order at Best Buy.

The advertisement went up early this morning and lists the Lumia 920 as being available in yellow, red, white, cyan and black. The price... $149.99 with new activation and $599.99 unactivated.

The HTC 8X is being offered in purple for $99.99 with new activation and $599.99 unactivated.

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Surface

A lot of huff and theories have been laid out regarding those delayed shipping notices for those who pre-ordered the Surface RT. Customers have received an email noting that their order should not be expected to be fulfilled until November 2nd, obviously putting a damper on pre-ordering. Turns out of all the thought out reasons for the delay, none took into account the simplest: it was an error.

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Windows Phone App Short Take: TimerTools

Timer Tools for Windows Phone

TimerTools is a Windows Phone app that should take care of all your timer needs. The app includes three core timer tools; stopwatch, countdown timer and an interval timer. Everything is laid out nicely with TimerTools, taking advantage of the Modern UI of Windows Phone.

The stopwatch has a lap timer that will display the laps beneath the main time. The best and worst lap times will be displayed at the bottom of the screen.

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