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Nokia has completed the acquisition of Nokia Siemens Networks, eliminating Siemens' stake in the then joint-venture. Nokia now owns the company and has altered the branding to Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN - www.nsn.com). As well as the name alteration, there have been a handful of changes on the board of directors, but NSN will continue to operate with and be consolidated by Nokia. The price? A previous Nokia statement reported it as 1.7 billion euros.

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Some good news today for Windows Phone as the latest numbers, based on device shipments from earlier this year, have revealed a steady increase for the third place operating system.

According to the IDC’s latest numbers, Windows Phone has seen a surge of 77% year over year for device shipments (8.7M in 2013 versus 4.9M for 2012). With those numbers, Windows Phone has increased from 3.1% market share to a modest 3.7%. While iOS and Android still dominate with 13.2% and 79.3% market share respectively, Windows Phone maintains the largest year over year increase.

This is the second report from the IDC this year that has shown strong YoY growth for Windows Phone and the second report from the IDC to claim its third place ranking, globally. However, while that 77% year over year change is impressive, it is down from the 150% year over year growth measuring back in February. Some of that though can probably be attributed to a downswing in general sales of technology as the global economy continues to stagnate.

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We've received multiple tips that ESPNcricinfo has been updated with a revamped interface. Instead of continuing to sport a rather dull and boring interface, the team behind the app has implemented a brand new design, better reflecting the modern UI that's utilised on Windows Phone and across the Microsoft ecosystem. What's more is the new look also brings the app up to speed with counterparts on iOS and Android.

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Flipkart (www.flipkart.com), one of the largest online retailers in India, has launched an eBook service on Windows Phone 8. Titled Flipkart eBook, the app will enable you to enjoy a large collection of books while out and about. Offline storage is supported for commuters who head through dead spots in signal coverage, as well as those who enjoy long-haul flights.

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Microsoft's Todd Brix announced yesterday new developer tools to further expand the opportunity for those who wish to produce content for Windows Phone. As well as new capabilities for developers, the official blog post also goes into detail about new payout markets, as well as expanded payment options and how the store is growing. If you're considering whether or not Windows Phone is worth it, these changes may sway your mind.

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Those with Nest Learning Thermostats (www.nest.com) don't have an official app to control the device with their Windows Phone (the story of our lives). A third-party app was available, but has been pulled from the store. Fear not as we've got some good news as Sharkfist Software has released wpnest, a compatible app that allows you to manage the thermostat. There's more to it as the developer has made everything open source, enabling others to get involved to help shape the app for the future.

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App Highlights has been Nokia's way to show customers which content is worth checking out on the Windows Phone Store. Showcasing the best apps and games, not only from the manufacturer but also third party developers, it was a superb way to keep up-to-date with latest trends. Today we've been informed that Nokia has merged App Highlights with App Social, with the former being removed from existence.

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WhatsApp enables voice-messaging for Windows Phone

Good news if you’re a fan of WhatsApp, the popular platform-agnostic messaging service that spans the world. The app, which has been receiving numerous updates in the last few months with the help of Nokia, has remotely enabled a new feature today: voice messages.

When users enter into a chat with a contact, to the left of the text window a microphone icon should now be present (see the photo above). Users can simply press and hold that icon to record a voice clip which is then sent instantly to the contact. The quality of the recording is excellent and it is certainly a welcome feature, especially with services like Voxer breathing down the necks of companies like WhatsApp.

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Are you a Windows Phone Developer looking to win a Nokia Lumia 1020? Nokia is sponsoring the August Developer Registration Drive where established developers can have a shot at a new Lumia 1020.

To qualify for the contest you must live in the U.S. or Canada, you must be an existing Windows Phone developer with at least one published app currently in the Windows Phone Store, and you must be an active Windows Phone developer as of August 31, 2013. This means you must have either published a new Windows Phone application or have published an update to an existing Windows Phone application within a 180 day period (from August 31st that would be March 5th).

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It was just yesterday that people in Canada on Bell, Telus or Rogers who also owned the under-rated (and underappreciated) Samsung ATIV S were greeted with a double OS and firmware update, bringing their phones up to the coveted GDR2 status (OS build 10327).

Of course it was later revealed that some features like FM Radio (which may not be supported by the hardware) and the ability to set a pre-defined camera app were missing. Still, the additional bug fixes in GDR2 are nothing to shy away from, including the reduction in the size of Other Storage or the .WAV file support in email.

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We just reported on three emulators being removed from the Windows Phone Store, but now we're pleased to relay news that the apps are once again available. Developed by M.k, Snes8x (Super Nintendo), VBA8 (GameBoy Advance), and VGBC8 (GameBoy Color) were spotted to be M.I.A and immediate reaction led to speculation that Microsoft had started cracking down on emulator apps. 

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Last week we showed you guys and gals Scoopt. It’s a fashion app that has launched on Windows Phone first with Android and iOS apps on the way. It allows users to browse some of the latest in fashion (clothes, accessories, etc) and buy purchase items through the apps. Scoopt has also picked up a pretty fast update based on feedback from all of you. Let’s see what’s new and improved.

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Today, Microsoft is making another effort to woo developers to Windows Phone, especially for those who are novices or who are located in emerging markets.

The latest change is two-fold and involves new online software for developers and a more lenient unlocking policy to sideload apps.The effort is to make it easier for developers to jump on board Windows Phone by lowering the cost and barrier to entry.

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Summer is in full swing up here in the northern hemisphere. Depending on your location, this might be the only time of the year where you can really get outdoors and enjoy activities (I’m looking at you Seattle). We have a handful of great apps to track your workouts on Windows Phone (like Runtastic), but Active Fitness is a new one that has some pretty cool features that you’ll want to check out.

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It’s been a few days since we’ve mentioned anything about Instagram and Windows Phone, so we figured we would update you on one of the most anticipated projects: 6tagram from developer Rudy Huyn.

Starting last Friday, the app went into private beta with a few thousand lucky users getting early access to hunt down and find bugs. Since then, the app has had a steady stream of updates (sometimes two a day) as Rudy has added new features and refined any usability issues.

The app is planned, roughly, for a release next week though that’s not a guarantee. Still, at the rate at which the app is progressing and the positive feedback so far, we’re confident that the app will be making a lot of people happy.

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In the Windows Phone and Windows 8 emulation scene, a developer named M.k has largely been the star of the show. Starting in January of this year, he produced no less than three awesome emulators for mobile Microsoft platforms: Snes8x (Super Nintendo), VBA8 (GameBoy Advance), and VGBC8 (GameBoy Color). M.k updated his emulators regularly, and had promised to bring MOGA Pro Controller support to the Windows Phone 8 versions in a future update.

Yesterday our hopes for a controller-fied emulation future came to an abrupt halt when all three of M.k’s emulators disappeared from the Windows Phone Store. This prompted speculation that Microsoft had finally started cracking down on emulators, a somewhat controversial type of app.

Many gamers love playing classic games via emulation, but others lump the practice in with piracy. Microsoft has historically allowed emulators to be sold on the Store, which means there is no debate as far as we’re concerned. Could Microsoft have changed its policy towards emulation apps though?

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Years ago on the Zune HD we had a popular game called AudioSurf. It was at the time one of the first mobile music/rhythm games that allowed you to interact with your Zune’s music in no other way. Fast forward to 2013 and while we don’t have that game, we may have something even better coming: SongArc.

SongArc is a forthcoming, brand new title from two well-known developers: Turtle Games, who make the popular game Rum Run and András Velvárt, who is the mind behind SurfCube 3D Browser. It’s yet another genius creation from the AppCampus Project (a joint venture between Microsoft, Aalto University and Nokia) and it should be coming out in the next month.

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While Skype on Windows Phone 8 still falls short of the more seamless experience on Android, the chaps at Microsoft and Skype are at least working their tails off to improve the Windows Phone experience. Such is the case with the steady stream of monthly updates to the popular VOIP service, with the last occurring on July 9th.

Version 2.9.0.129 should be going live in the Store right now for users, meaning if you follow the link below you can force update the app instead of waiting 12 hours for your Store tile to refresh. More interestingly, Skype actually included a changelog with the update and it’s more than the usual “bug fixes”.

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According to Microsoft’s support forums, a user complained that his Surface RT running the latest version of the company’s Windows 8.1 Consumer Preview was seeing an extreme power decrease while in standby mode. The user also noted that a driver known as “Microsoft UART V2” seemed to be causing the issue.

Microsoft’s support team contacted the user and requested he try switching his Bluetooth to on to save battery life. Right away, this seems to be an odd solution; turning on your Bluetooth radio should decrease your device’s battery life – not improve it. That being said, as soon as said user turned on his Bluetooth radio, his issue disappeared.

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