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Is Verizon having problems with Windows Phone 8?

Verizon

A story recently ran on the site Daily Mobile—a site which we are not familiar with—claiming that Windows Phone 8 devices on Verizon are running into problems, potentially causing a launch delay or even cancelation. We’ve been tipped on this by quite a few readers asking us to weigh in on the matter. After all the story does seem a bit sensational, bordering on hysteria.

First off, we know for a fact that the Nokia Lumia 822 aka Atlas is in active testing for the carrier with photos of the device having been leaked and even feedback from one of Verizon’s employees on the device. That should tell you something right there.

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AT&T is gearing up to launch the Nokia Lumia 920 very soon—in fact we expect an announcement on pricing and availability sometime on Sunday.

Word is that AT&T reps are also in the midst of training with the device, becoming familiar with its main features and selling points. Part of that training is being done with these videos that demonstrate the highlights of the Lumia 920.

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HTC 8X and 8S available for pre-order at Expansys UK

HTC 8S and 8X at Expansys

Expansys UK is has listed the HTC 8X and 8S as available for pre-order. The HTC 8X is listed for £399.99 and the HTC 8S is listed for £239.99.  It is our understanding that shipping dates for the 8X will be November 2, 2012 and the 8S will ship shortly thereafter on November 15, 2012.

In looking at other Expansys sites, both HTC Windows Phone 8 devices appear to be available for pre-order across the board.  On Expansys U.S. the HTC 8X (unlocked) will run $629.99 and the HTC 8S (unlocked) will run $349.99. 

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Surface

Although we know a lot about the Surface RT from Microsoft, there are still gaps in the finer details that you may want to know—either just for curiosity or because it factors into your decision on whether to buy one.

Luckily for you the Surface team to a Q&A session on Reddit yesterday and they answered quite a few question about the upcoming tablet. To help you sort through, we’ll summarize some of the main points…

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Amazon has Windows 8 Pro + $30 credit for $69.99

As if Amazon wasn't doing well enough with Windows 8 sales, seeing pre-orders dominate it's Best Sellers list, they have decided to sweeten the deal. Now you can pre-order Windows 8 Pro for $69.99 and get a $30 Amazon credit to boot. For those of you who aren't too good at subtraction, that brings the price down to $39.99, the same cost as the online upgrade price for current users of previous Windows versions.

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Windows Phone Central's Reader's Roundup Contest

WPCentral's Reader Roundup Contest

Windows Phone Central Reader's Roundup Contest

About once a week we sit down and roundup various apps and games for our Windows Phones. We've rounded up navigation apps, ninja styled games, spy apps and even London travel apps. While there's already a roundup in the works for this week, we want to do a game roundup based on your recommendations.

And to spice it up a little, we've got a few prizes to give away in the process.

All you need to do is head on over to this Windows Phone Central forum's discussion and share your top three Windows Phone games. We'll tally up the recommendations and next week roundup the top five WPCentral reader recommendations.

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Lumia 920 pre-orders performing well in France and Italy

Lumia 920

The Lumia 920 has gradually become available for pre-order through retailers and the like, but we've not yet been able to confirm globally what carriers will be stocking Windows Phones, except for those who have made the information publicly available. As for the number of pre-orders that have taken place, well ... that's another piece of information that we don't possess. 

Fortunately, NokiaPowerUser has noticed some positive signs on both the French Phone House and Italian NStore websites. According to Phone House's top 50 mobile phones chart the Lumia 920 is the champion, and at NStore the Windows Phone is no longer available (sold out).

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UsernamesGamertags—they can be fun but also quite ridiculous. Same with people’s first names but probably less so, which may be the reason why the Windows Phone Store has started to use them.

A few readers told us of the changes and sure enough, when you now look at reviews for apps you’re more likely to see “Pat”, “Sarah” and “Kyle” than “Moonstomper82”.  What’s more, you will no longer see those generic usernames that are left when someone doesn’t have a Gamertag yet, instead you just see “User”.

In our opinion it does make the Store look much more clean and is easier to read, it also doesn’t look quite as juvenile as before (don’t worry, we’re sure your username is the coolest).

What do you folks think? Thumbs up or down and what negatives are there, if any? Thanks, Garret C. and others for the tip

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Xbox on Windows Phone Review: Cracking Sands

Cracking Sands Lead

The Xbox on Windows Phone lineup is starting to amass a fair selection of racing games. We’ve got street racers, kart racers, and one awesome boat racer (Hydro Thunder GO). Now a new entry has come along: Cracking Sands - published by Microsoft and programmed by Swedish developer Polarbit, who also made Reckless Racing for Windows 8. If you’re looking for a racer that looks and plays differently from the others, Cracking Sands might just fit the bill.

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WP Central Russian Federation set to see launch of Lumia 920 and 820 on November

Looks like Nokia might be set to have a big announcement in early November for Russia, perhaps to showcase the Lumia 920 Windows Phone.  Or maybe the Lumia 820?

Not much is said about what’s to be expected but the invite does reveal some clues.

Nokia is rightly pushing photography as the big draw for the next generation of Lumia devices. The Lumia 920 has seen a barrage of OIS video and night photography tests. So it doesn’t leave much to the imagination when we get an invite with a girl taking a photo and a bat in the background. Not too subtle a reference really but we get it.

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Wheel of Wealth returns to the Windows Phone Store

Wheel of Wealth returns to Windows Phone

If you recall, the Windows Phone game Wheel of Wealth was recently pulled from the Windows Phone Store due to a intellectual property infringement complaint. The developer vowed to resolve the issues surrounding the complaint and today we received some good news.  Wheel of Wealth is  once again listed in the Windows Phone Store.

For those not familiar, Wheel of Wealth is a Wheel of Fortune-styled game where you are given a hidden word or phrase puzzle. You spin a wheel to determine how much each correctly guessed letter is worth. With each successful guess, you get to spin again. Every letter of the alphabet is available except for vowels. Those you have to buy with your earnings.

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Surface Tablet Pre-orders appear to be going strong

Microsoft Surface

The Microsoft Surface tablet became available for pre-order earlier today and it appears interest is high. The original listing for all three versions of the Surface, 64GB and 32GB with Touch Cover and 32GB without cover, as "delivery by 10/26".

It appears that the first shipment inventory for the 32GB version without the cover has already sold out. If you check the listing now, you'll see that the option being listed as shipping within three weeks.

The other purchase options still show the October 26th delivery date but we're not sure how long that will last.  You can find the Surface pre-order page here at Microsoft's online store.

Thanks, Ryan, for the tip!

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With the day winding down, impulse buys having already taken place and even Microsoft stock even getting low (more on that in a bit), we want to know…did you pre-order the Surface RT?

(Personally speaking, I’m waiting to buy on in a Microsoft Store because of my lucky geographical location. But if there weren’t one near me, I certainly would have pre-ordered. One caveat though: I’m not too thrilled with the “just black” option for the 64GB, something for which I hope to avoid in-store. You?)

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Microsoft is still putting out its promotional material for the new Surface RT—a device that seems to be piquing much interest.

The latest video is more to the point, actually highlighting and discussing features of the new tablet as opposed to showing people dancing around. In our opinion, the video does a great job of showing why the Surface is a compelling device for those who are considering a new tablet. It certainly has the look so we’ll just have to wait till see if it catches on. Thanks, Jofre, for the link

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NAVIGON gets updated, celebrates by going on sale

NAVIGON USA for Windows Phone

The NAVIGON series of navigation apps for your Windows Phone was recently updated and to celebrate things, they are also on sale through October 31, 2012.

Along with the customary performance tweaks, the version 4.3 update brings route planning to both NAVIGON USA and NAVIGON Europe. It's a nice feature to allow you to plan a multi-stop trip ahead of time and avoid having to re-enter your destination after every stop.

Both versions of NAVIGON makes use of downloadable, offline maps to reduce the dependency on data while traveling. If you wander off into an area with poor reception, you won't have to worry about maps or routes being lost.  Adding route planning only enhances the navigation app's capabilities.

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Official Xbox 360 dashboard update starts rolling out

Official Xbox 360 dashboard update starts rolling out

For those of you who weren't lucky enough to land a spot in the public beta test of the new Xbox 360 dashboard, fear not. The official version has begun rolling out to about 3 million consoles around the world and will continue for the next week. Once that first batch is finished, more and more LIVE subscribers will be added to the rollout over the next couple of weeks. Much like Windows Phone updates, the deployment was spread out over time and across different regions to make it go as smoothly as possible.

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Surface RT Pre-order

Today has been a rather busy day with the unveiling of the Microsoft Surface RT tablet pricing and availability. Pre-ordering went live earlier in the US, while other markets followed behind. We've been bombarded with international Microsoft Store links from readers who are excited to get their orders in - so who can currently pre-order a Surface RT tablet?

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Cracking Sands erupts onto Xbox on Windows Phone

Cracking Sands

Ready for a little racing? This week’s Xbox Windows Phone release, Cracking Sands comes from Polarbit, the Swedish developers also responsible for Windows 8 launch game Reckless Racing.

Head past the break for our first impressions.

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Surface RT pre-orders are now live (US)

WP Central

Microsoft is now sending out emails alerting people to the pre-order time for the Surface RT, which was just announced this morning for pricing and details.

Starting at 9AM Pacific and 12PM Eastern time, if you head to the Surface.com you should be able to place your pre-order today for a guaranteed delivery on October 26th. [Edit: And we just checked, preorders are now live and happening]

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We told you that you have to get used to seeing these side-by-side videos of the Nokia Lumia 920’s video camera in action. That’s because optical image stabilization in a smartphone is kind of a big deal for camera technology—it’s really a big step forward and one of the first real innovations since BSI hit the scene.

The video above, hailing from Russia we presume, shows the Lumia 920 mounted to the inside windshield of a car as it drives over train tracks and some bumpy terrain. It’s compared to…well, we’re not sure, as our Cyrillic translator is a bit off today. But the point should be clear that when OIS is used for video, it actually makes a huge difference in terms of quality. Needless to say, we can’t wait to try it.

Source: YouTube; via Reddit

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PowerEver since the Microsoft Surface was announced there has been some discussion about its power adapter. That may seem like an topic to focus on but it is only because Microsoft appears to be borrowing a great feature from Apple: its magnetic power plug.

For those of you who don’t use Apple products, their laptops have a plug that “magically” sticks to the computer and charges via a tiny magnetic port. The benefit here is less wear and tear on the connector and if you accidently pull the plug or trip on the wire, it just pops off instead of dragging the laptop to the floor. It’s actually really nice.

With the Surface you’re going to have the same experience. In fact, the plug looks remarkably like Apple’s (they both have 5 prongs), which makes us wonder if Microsoft is licensing the technology from Cupertino [Edit: Turns out Microsoft has a patent on it]. Personally, we see this as a big selling point as once you go magnetic, you won’t ever want to fiddle with standard laptop power adapters again.

Source: Suning; via WPDang

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