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A joint investigation by Canadian and Dutch officials has determined that popular mobile messaging program WhatsApp violates privacy laws of both countries. The problem is that the application, which lets users text each other over the internet in order to circumvent carrier texting charges, requires users to grant it access to their entire address book and not just the contacts who use it.

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This morning we posted Nokia’s brief demonstration of Music+ for Windows Phone, HTML5 and Windows 8. We expect to hear a lot more on this and other Nokia news in the coming weeks at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (we’ll be there in force to cover it), so we forgive their brevity on the new music service. Consider it a tease.

What’s not said though is how significant it is that Nokia is making their first Windows 8 and RT app.

Granted, writing an RT app once you have a Windows Phone compile is supposed to be easier. But writing a native Windows desktop client? That's a little trickier. That raises some interesting questions including just how large is Nokia’s Windows desktop team? Is it a 3 man crew or a whole group including engineers?

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Lightning strikes twice, history repeats itself, and Microsoft will be giving out reservation cards for the Surface Pro like they did with the Surface RT. Back in October, if you visited a physical Microsoft Store or those pop-up holiday kiosks you could get a card guaranteeing you a Surface the day they went on sale. Microsoft is now doing the same with the Intel-based Surface for when it becomes available on February 9th.

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Nokia yesterday unveiled an upgrade to its Music service is on the horizon, which would bring more functionality and requested features to consumers who wish a slightly richer experience. What was missing were some screenshots on just how this will look when using an available client.

Nokia has now published a video that runs through some benefits of the new service upgrade, branded Nokia Music+ as well as a quick demo of native Windows and HTML5 clients. We'll be the first to say that it looks like it could go far, especially if the catalogue of music is solid.

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This Week: Pick up the Amzer Skin Case for Nokia Lumia 900 and save $14.99!

The Amzer Skin Case is made out of 100% premium silicone and is a great, lightweight option for protecting your Nokia Lumia 900. The durable silicone absorbs any shock your device may receive from any accidental drops or bumps, keeping it just like new. Color options include black, blue, red, purple, pink, grey, and white.

List Price: $19.99     This Week: $5.00

Learn More and Buy Now

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If there’s one thing we can count on from indie developer Karios Games, it’s frequent software updates. Karios’ standout jumping game MonsterUp Adventures has already received two substantial updates – one to ease the game’s difficulty and another that greatly improved its boss battles. One aspect of the game still needed tweaking though: its in-game purchases.  That’s just what the new version 1.4 update addresses – for Windows Phone 8 users.

Full update details and a slice of MonsterUp news after the break.

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The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running

We caught wind of this a little late, but the Windows 8 Xbox game The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running from Other Ocean and Microsoft is free through Monday. Dead Man Running normally costs $1.49 despite being designed and planned as a free-to-play game, with lots of in-game purchases on offer. So why not hurry up and get it free like it’s supposed to be?

Head past the break for our full impressions of the game itself.

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If you're not familiar with the UK service, TVCatchup is a free way to watch television shows when not sat in front of the big screen. Unfortunately, despite the naming, TVCatchup does not sport functionality to enable users to watch shows that have already been on air, but the available free streaming is a great feature for any device.

TVCatchup already has an app available for Windows 8, but there's also currently an app in development for Windows Phone 8. All About Windows Phone has taken a look at what we can expect.

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Beem Plus is a Windows Phone music app that allows users to tap into Digitally Imported music sites and stream various EDM radio stations to their Windows Phones. The DI.FM client was updated the other day to version 1.5 to address a handful of bugs, tweak performance and now supports Last.fm scrobbling.  

Scrobbling is basically the system building a profile based on the music you play regularly and makes recommendations based on that profile. With the update, you no longer need to have a specific track name written in your notebook, instead just have it listed in your "Recently Played" table. You can either perform manual scrobbling by tapping the sharing button above the heart (in the station player) or enable auto-scrobbling where, for each opened station, the current track details will be automatically sent to your Last.fm account.

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One of the many features on the Chase Mobile app for your Windows Phone 8 device is QuickDeposit. This is where you take a photo of your check to make the deposit.

Well... there was a bug in this feature that created a conflict and stored the check image in your Pictures Hub. Chase pulled the app and would eventually put the app back on the Windows Phone Store shelve with the QuickDeposit feature disabled.

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Nokia’s Monster Purity Pro ‘over the ear’ headphones have been a hot item as of late. Not for sales but for questions in regards to availability. The headset was announced way back in September and since then, we’ve seen many Nokia releases come and go just not that one.

Now at least Amazon.com is listing the super pricey wireless devices for a whopping $350. You can of course order them today but until Amazon gets that stock filled, you won’t receive them.

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Nokia surprised a lot of people this morning by announcing Nokia Music+, an upgraded version of their current Nokia Music service available on Lumia Windows Phones. Music+ looks to compete directly with Microsoft's Xbox Music both in terms and features but with a lower price point: €3.99/$3.99 per month.

The service is expected to rollout “in a few weeks” and users can access their music via a web-app which “gives you the ability to play Mixes on your computer, smart TV or other connected screens”. What’s not clear at this point is whether this will be open to other Windows Phones or just Lumias. Also, the language about accessing Mixes suggests that individual tracks and albums may not be available across devices, though that remains to be seen.

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For those looking to pick up the Surface RT tablet your local Costco’s (Costco.com) may be the place to look. Yup, in addition to the Microsoft Store, Best Buy and Staples, the Surface is now listed in upcoming inventory for Costco’s (see image below) including the RT’s various options for purchases.

Users will have their choice of 32GB RT tablet without Touch cover ($499), which is the norm for that SKU but the real deal comes in the “packages” where the Touch cover is included.

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We’ve seen some fairly awesome ‘fan made’ Windows Phone commercials in the past. The most famous was Brandon Foy, whose college project ended up landing him a job at Microsoft.

Now we have another school assignment that has caught the attention of a few, including this site. Made by Phong Luong and friends for their school project (follow the progress on their site), the ad works for us due to the solid music, retro-artsy look and of course focusing on the main features of the phone (PureView camera, wireless charging, unibody design). Plus it just pops out at us.

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We’ve had lots of talk of the entry level Nokia Lumia 620 as of late and ours (from eBay) just happened to show up today. Unlocked and ready to rock we do a quick unboxing and give your first impressions—so make sure you watch the video below.

In short, we’re kind of in love with the 620. It looks awesome. It feels awesome. And it runs Windows Phone 8 (build 10211 aka 'Portico'). Sporting a nice and contrasty 5MP rear shooter, front-facing camera and expandable storage, the 3.8” 800x480 (ClearBlack) device may seem like a light weight compared to the 920 but thanks to the OS, you’d hardly know it.

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Gibbage Cases were supposed to be a new 3D printed cases for the HTC 8X Windows Phone and eventually for the Nokia Lumia 920. The cases were uniquely designed mainly to offer surface protection to the 8X and 920 from scratches. Plus they are kinda cool looking.

We were slated to receive a review unit here shortly but just got the news from the Gibbage Case creator that he's having to cancel any orders and halt production due to apparent quality control issues with his printing service, Shapeways.

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bright skies ahead for Windows Phone

No new Xbox games for Windows Phone appeared this week, not even a game from Nokia. This marks the fifth week without a new release – the longest in Windows Phone history. But Windows Phone 8 did gain a new playable title in the form of Shuffle Party (which was previously incompatible), and all Windows Phone users can look forward to the highly-anticipated Skulls of the Shogun next week.

It’s no secret that we consider the ball to have been dropped pretty far as Xbox games for Windows Phone go. You might even say the ball had rolled across the street and into the scary old neighbor’s yard. Throughout the release drought, Windows Phone Central has worked hard at getting an explanation from Microsoft themselves. At last we have official word and a bit of good news to go along with it.

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This week the two biggest components of the Windows Phone ecosystem reported financial results.  Microsoft and Nokia both printed decent numbers.

I won’t spend much time on Microsoft.  It was a fairly boring quarter. The Redmond giant came in with results that were in line with analyst results.  They’ve now sold a grand total of 60 million Windows 8 licenses, but this includes licenses sold to Dell and other manufacturers. So it’s hard to pin down exactly how many boxes consumers are actually buying with the latest and greatest Windows OS.

In the land of mobile, Microsoft won’t say how many Surface tablets they’ve sold.  I can’t say I blame them.  If they revealed numbers they’d just be compared to iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab sales. Why would Microsoft want to give people more reason to print negative headlines?

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We last touched on a map refresh in late December when users were able to download OTA updates to their offline locations.

Today, Nokia Maps have received yet another update and once again, this applies to all Windows Phone 8 devices, not just Nokia. If you have downloaded maps on your phone, you should have already been prompted to update them for the latest batch of improvements. If you haven’t already, go to settings > applications > maps > check for updates.

The question you may be wondering is, what changed? We have the details.

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There’s barely a day going by where Nokia isn't updating something on Windows Phone, so why should today be any different? We just got notifications for version 2.6 of their popular Cinemagraph Lens app for Windows Phone 8, which is now live in the Store, allowing you to continue making those hilarious animated GIFs. And the super creative PhotoBeamer has also been given a refresh.

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