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If you use Windows Phone, 7 or 8, you probably know that holding down the Start button will bring up TellMe, the native voice command service from Microsoft. You can use it to launch app, write an SMS message, etc.

For Windows Phone 8 users though, you get the added bonus that apps optimized for the new OS can also take advantage of TellMe, allowing you quickly open an app and then go to a specific section, for instance.

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Microsoft has often been criticized for not making effective commercials—something we think that has changed recently with the Surface campaign (and back stepped with ‘Scroogled’). But what about Windows Phone? We’ve seen some interesting ones in the past but nothing that could potentially go viral (or not be cringe worthy).

That may have all just changed as a new YouTube ad has gone live on the Windows Phone channel and if this doesn’t raise consumer curiosity, we’re not sure what will.

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Ice Age Village from Gameloft is a free Xbox city building game for Windows Phone 8. As far as we know, any Windows Phone 8 device can run it and the game only takes up 79 MB of storage, so it should have a sizable player base already.

The city building genre is a time consuming one since many tasks involve returning to the game at a later time or date to reap their rewards.  Wouldn’t it be nice to speed up the process a bit and get your village making money faster right off the bat? Darn right it would.

Windows Phone Central has a bunch of codes for free Coins, animals, and items, plus a handy Achievement guide. Don’t spend a single Acorn until you’ve read it!

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Samsung has announced that its expanding the ATIV brand to include its Windows based PC products. Originally used for its Windows Phone 8 hardware, Samsung states it will use the brand to represent the convergence of PC and mobile technologies. This will essentially unite all Samsung Windows products under a single umbrella. If you're now looking at Samsung ATIV hardware, it's running a version of Windows.

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There's more than what's usually visible in the Windows Phone universe. When we talk about Windows Phones these days, we always talk about Samsung, HTC, Nokia, and sometimes Huawei. But if you remember, there was another name briefly manifested in our sight, only to disappear quietly later: Alcatel.

Back in last December we reported a low cost Windows Phone called Alcatel One. Since then there hasn't been much update about this very device. Until today, as it's suddenly available in China, through locally popular e-commerce website 360buy.com, and under the brand "TCL" (Alcatel's joint-venture partner in China).

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Huawei releasing Ascend W1 (CDMA) for China Telecom

Huawei's Ascend W1 has been out for a while, and is gaining market presence in more countries at the moment. Today, the OEM quietly rolled out the CDMA version of W1 in China, starting with the city of Chengdu. The CDMA phone is made for China Telecom, the third largest mobile carrier in China, and the only CDMA carrier out there. The Ascend W1 in CDMA reportedly costs CNY 1,290 (US$ 210), about 30% more expensive than the WCDMA version, which is currently priced CNY 998 on popular e-commerce website 360buy.com.

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Back a few weeks ago, we brought you the news on Chronos Calendar, a powerful and sharp looking Windows Phone calendar replacement that actually hooked into your Outlook.com account. While we rather enjoy that app a lot, many of you shrieked at the design noting it wasn’t “Metro” enough.

Well, we think we have something for you vocal bunch: True Calendar 8. Yes, it’s a rather powerful calendar replacement that also hooks into your Outlook/Hotmail account so that you can directly add appointments and sync your other imported calendars.

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Official Uber app for Windows Phone pulled from Store

If you’re the type of person who is constantly on the move, a jetsetter perhaps, you’ve probably used or heard of Uber sometime in the past few years. The service and its applications allow users to connect with private drivers in select cities around the world.

Simply select your location and when you want to be picked up and sleek vehicle will be there for you. Cars available range from Lincoln Town Cars to BMW 7 Series or a Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan. Bad news if you’re primarily a Windows Phone user and want to use the service since the app has been unpublished from the Store.

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The Home Shopping Network (or HSN - www.hsn.com) has released an official app for Windows Phone. It's a home shopping network in the US, if you haven't quite guessed from the name. Consumers will be able to check out products and watch the HSN live while on the go. If you're into the whole interactive shopping experience, you'll want to check out the official HSN app.

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IM is a popular instant messaging service that's relied on by many to provide a way to communicate with contacts, friends and family. With apps on numerous platforms, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it's certainly one we keep our eye on. We've received word that IM+ (the premium version of the app) for Windows 8 is currently on sale.

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Deal Alert: HTC 8X, unlocked with LTE for just $349

Is HTC having a fire sale? Maybe. All we know is their solid and dapper HTC 8X Windows Phone is being offered via Groupon for a very reasonable $349 with free shipping. That’s not for an AT&T version but a fully unlocked one with LTE bands (though those won’t work on AT&T).

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If you missed the ‘Red Stripe’ deal a few weeks ago for Runtastic Pro (it was on sale for $.99, down from its normal $4.99), well, you missed a great offer for an impressive service for fitness buffs. The app recently went full Windows Phone 8 on us, bringing a host of new features and a slight redesign. Personally, we’ve been using it with the physical heart rate monitor and have been having a blast.

Even if you don’t run, it has general fitness features too, including weights, skiing, swimming and more. If you use Fitbit and or MyFitnessPal, it can easily link up to both services, giving you a comprehensive overview of your activity level and calories expended.

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About a week ago Microsoft made your account more secure. If you use any Microsoft service or product you own a Microsoft Account. You use that account to sign into your Windows Phone to download apps and track the phone if you ever lose it. On Xbox it’s associated with your Gamertag and allows you to carry your profile from Xbox to Xbox and keep your Gamerscore and Achievements synced. On Windows 8 it allows your settings and wallpapers’ to sync across your laptop, desktop, and tablets.

If you’re in anyway shape or form using a Microsoft product you need to enable two-step verification to keep your account secure. Here’s how to set it up.

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Latest figures released by Kantar Worldpanel shows that Microsoft is actually starting to perform rather well in the US, one of the more important markets for the company. So much so that the platform is growing at a slightly faster rate than Google's Android. Microsoft still has a tough mountain to climb to tackle both Android and iOS, but it would seem as though the third position is firmly in its grasp.

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Using the Windows Phone 8X by HTC as a baby monitor

So what can one do with a pair of HTC 8X Windows Phones, a pan / tilt gimble, WiFi network and a block of wood? It's a superb question and one that HTC engineer Garrett Rysko can answer. A post over on the HTC blog walks us through how an advanced baby monitor was created for his lab partner, Derek Feri. While it's one expensive baby monitor kit, we always enjoy covering DIY projects.

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We've been informed that Liquid Daffodil has finally managed to get its Unification app listed on the Windows 8 Store, enabling consumers to download and utilise the notification centre across the Windows ecosystem. So what's Unification all about? If you're not familiar with the name, or have somehow missed our previous coverage, it's a notification centre that pulls in and stores alerts and notifications from third-party apps.

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