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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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Before the holidays, Philips brought a new technology to market for those with disposable incomes and a knackering for ambient lighting. The Hue concept is simple (and reminds us of Philip’s earlier attempts at lighting for TVs): the bulbs have variable range of color support via LEDs and they’re network enabled, allowing you control the light level and color via your iPhone.

Sure, a set of three bulbs will set you back $280 (Amazon.com) but the effect is quite impressive, especially with the iOS support coming native to the system. But that’s just the problem as those on other platforms were left in the cold.

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Nokia Lumia 620 hits Singapore, looks great in pink

The Lumia 620 is hitting the shores of Singapore, thanks to a tip from a mobile phone specialist store Adix82 located in the country. As one can see from the photos we've been sent in, the Lumia 620 is looking rather good in pink. The device is priced at SGD 310 ($250), which is a steal for Windows Phone 8 hardware.

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XIMAD's fun and games for your Windows Phone

There are a handful of Windows Phone developers out there that offer a diverse portfolio of apps and games. XIMAD, Inc qualifies as such with offerings ranging from children's books to bible apps to games.

XIMAD has had a presence in the Windows Phone Store from early on (back when we called it a Marketplace) and for this week's roundup, we'll concentrate on the gaming aspects of their collection. Most of XIMAD's games are free but for those who want to drop the ad banners, there's often a paid premium version available.

The XIMAD collection of games are often on the simple side as far as game play is concerned but challenging and entertaining nonetheless and nice ways to pass the time with. There's even a few that will get you hooked into playing a little longer.  We picked a handful that we think you might like and if we've missed your favorite XIMAD title, feel free to share in the comments.

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Nokia opens up pre-orders on Lumia hardware in Egypt

Nokia is taking pre-orders online for the Lumia 920, Lumia 820 and Lumia 620 in Egypt. Announcing that there's only a limited number of units available, the manufacturer is providing consumers the opportunity to get in quick and snatch one of the Windows Phones before they go. The devices have proven to be popular in other markets, which the company is planning to look closely at in Egypt.

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AT&T has said it's exploring the possibility on whether or not to support Microsoft's Data Sense service for Windows Phone 8 devices on the network. The service, unveiled by Microsoft last year helps consumers control and manage their data allowances to ensure limits aren't breached and high costs added to the account. Data Sense compresses users' data transmissions in order to reduce data consumption.

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Microsoft has revealed that during Q2 of its 2013 financial year it has broken revenue records with a taking of $21.5 billion. $6.38 billion of that grand total was actual profit, providing shareholder's with $0.76 per-share. While EPS was down year-over-year, net income is reported to be up from $5.87 billion a year ago. It's looking good for the company.

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Here in the US, the only way to get a top notch Nokia device has always been with AT&T. That’s about to change with Verizon rumored to be getting two killer devices from Nokia. We’ve already covered some rumors in the past regarding Big Red and Espoo, but here’s another to get you stoked for the coming year.

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AT&T's previous Nokia flagship, the Lumia 900, will be one of the first to sport the 7.8 OS upgrade

Nokia Lumia 900 users on AT&T can look forward to receiving the Windows Phone 7.8 OS update on Wednesday, January 30th—one day earlier than what we were anticipating. Windows Phone Central has learned (via an internal AT&T email) details of the update including that it was approved on January 7th by the carrier.

We’ve written extensively on the 7.8 update recently including giving a full video-tour of what the update will look like. That was accomplished by flashing our Lumia 900 with the Nokia-approved ROM files that  were posted to Nokia’s servers. While this method works, it also wipes the phone and can be risky (in addition to frustrating if you don’t have the right drivers).

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Nokia India launched an initiative in collaboration with NDTV, which saw consumers provided with the unique opportunity to submit their mobile app ideas that have potential to be developed for Windows Phone, so other owners can enjoy the experience. A reality TV show, "Nokia Lumia Your Wish Is My App" is set to be produced where app ideas will be pitched and judged by a panel of well-known faces in India.

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We just got our hands on the new Verizon Samsung ATIV Odyssey and it makes a nice first impression. The Windows Phone has a familiar feel to it that reminds us of the Samsung Focus 2 or maybe a thicker version of the original Samsung Focus.  The ATIV Odyssey joins the HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia 822 on Verizon's Windows Phone lineup.

The 4" Super AMOLED Screen looks nice and the Odyssey feels comfortable in the hand. The Windows Phone is powered by a 2100Mah battery and driven by a 1.5Ghz Dual Core CPU. Add NFC support and a 5MP rear camera and the ATIV Odyssey comes across as a decent mid-level Windows Phone.  The only downside that jumps off the paper is the Odyssey only has 8GB of storage. However it does have a microSD expansion slot and while 8GB may not sound too great, memory shouldn't be an issue.

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Nothing puts a smile on our faces faster than seeing notifications that there are app updates in the Windows Phone Store. So you can imagine how stoked we were when we saw that 15 apps had an update ready. One of them was MetroTalk, which just got the pump to version 3.1. What’s new and improved? Quite a bit actually.

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A rag-tag group of privacy advocates, internet activists, journalists and organizations have banded together and have written an open letter to Skype, calling on the communications giant to "publicly document Skype’s security and privacy practices."

The letter, which is addressed to Skype Division President Tony Bates, Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer Brendon Lynch, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, says that the members of the group who authored it rely on Skype to communicate under circumstances where privacy and security are imperative and that it would be doing them a great service to know just what they can expect.

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