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Achievement unlocked: Xbox LIVE upgrade enabled

Back in January 2011, we posted a rumor noting that the Scrabble-like game AlphaJax, one of our favorite indie games for Windows Phone, may be heading to Xbox LIVE.

Flash forward a mind-numbing 19 months later and we’re happy to report that indeed, AlphaJax will be coming to Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone in the near future.

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WP Central

While there is a lot to look forward to with Windows Phone 8, some of the changes may not be as noticeable but no less important. Windows Phone 8 will have a number of significant changes under the hood to bolster the security of the platform.

Windows Phone 8 will have device encryption throughout the entire device including the OS and its applications. Designed along the same lines as Windows 7 PCs, encryption kicks in as soon as you power up the device. This system, based off of Bitlocker (but adapted for Windows Phone) was something first reported on back in February as an early rumor.

BitLocker is a logical volume encryption system that is present in Windows 7 and will be present in Windows 8.  BitLocker is designed to protect data by providing encryption for entire volumes or drives within a computer to protect the integrity of a trusted boot path.  The main difference between the PC version of encryption and what we will see on Windows Phone 8 is that the encryption keys are not manageable on our Windows Phone as they are on desktops or laptops.

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WP Central

Windows Phone 8 and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 

We knew since the Windows Phone Summit back in June that Windows Phone 8 would offer greater accent color selection in lieu of an actual color selector. While that latter option would be more preferred by our uses, surely having a great choice is better than the current 10+1 choice in Windows Phone 7.

The issue though up until this point is exactly what those color choices would be for consumers. Now thanks to that leaked SDK from July, we have an answer.

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Viber beta for Windows Phone

Viber beta for Windows Phone has been available over in the Windows Phone Marketplace for some time but with some limitations. We are now getting indications that Viber is still working on the Windows Phone version and a full version is expected in the coming months.

For those not familiar with Viber, it is a cross platform app for messaging and voice calls. It is currently available for iOS and Android systems. The Windows Phone version, in beta, only supports the messaging portion of the equation.

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WP Central

Pre-order now, get it at the same time as everyone else

Preorders are kind of like the teaser preview in technology—they cost virtually nothing to produce but get a lot of people talking. Such is the case with Expansys now offering pre-orders for the ATIV S from Samsung.

The page is up both in Italy and even the US although there is no price listed nor ETA for a shipping date—in other words, they’re doing it for the links and headlines because let's be honest, this won't sellout early like the iPhone.

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Acer continues to be committed to Windows Phone 8

Acer Windows Phone

Don't hurt yourself to the rush, Acer

While Samsung, HTC and Nokia are all making headway to release Windows Phone 8 devices, Acer has announced (once again) that they are planning a Windows Phone 8 device.

Acer president Jim Wong announced the company will launch six new smartphones in 2013, five Android phones and one Windows Phone. According to Wong,

"One of the six models will be a Windows Phone 8 device and the rest will run on Android platforms, with high-end models to be built with Qualcomm's dual-core CPUs and entry-level models using chipset solutions from MediaTek."

We've heard from various sources over time that Acer remains committed to both Windows Phone and Android, offering options to consumers with different needs. Not sure if with one out of six new phones being a Windows Phone is offering options.

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How to create and use groups Windows Phone

Information overload is all too common in our busy, hectic lives these days. One of the central themes through the entire Windows Phone operating system is of deep social integration. From the very start we have had Twitter and Facebook woven into the very fabric of the system. Sometimes though, too much social activity can mean it is hard to see the updates from those that matter most.

When you get to the point where you have hundreds of contacts on Facebook and the same amount or more again on Twitter, things can get hectic. We’re going to show you how easy it is to setup and create your own custom Live Tiles to cut out the static and see the updates from those that matter most...

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WP Central

WP Central

By now it’s old news that the Zune Desktop as we know it will be phased out—in fact we’ve seen features already removed over the last few months.  What was to replace it though was always a bit of a mystery though there are only so many options available.

Now an image has leaked out of what appears to be the ‘companion app’ for Windows Phone and Windows 8—think of it as Zune Desktop the next generation. There's really not too much to the image though we suppose it is better than nothing.

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You have to give Nokia credit—not only do they appear to be getting to release some innovative and boundary pushing phones, they’re creating a great ecosystem to go with it.

Such is the case with the super-expensive Purity Pro Wireless headphones made in conjunction with Monster (the company behind Beats). The headset features NFC pairing, Bluetooth streaming, 24-hour battery life for calls and music and is made from polycarbonate plastic (like the Lumia) for sturdiness.

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Nokia Lumia 920 rendering

WP Central

Update: An image of the wireless charging stand has now leaked as well. Image after the break.

With the Nokia Windows Phone 8 event only two days away, we're seeing a few more rumors surface on the Lumia 920. We've already seen renderings of the rumored device along with speculation that the new Nokia Windows Phone will have Pureview camera technology.

The latest rumors have the 920 fitted with 32GB of storage and have wireless charging capability. Neither are too much of a stretch with many wishing existing Lumia Windows Phones had the 32GBs of storage.

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HTC Accord Windows Phone to be called 8X?

Is the HTC Accord the HTC 8X?

A leaked image of a Windows Phone Quick Guide that surfaced with drawings of the HTC Accord has some believing the new Windows Phone will be named 8X.

WPCentral Rumometer

Very little is known about the Accord but leaked specifications have the device fitted with a dual core snapdragon processor, 4.3" Super LCD2 screen, 8mp camera, NFC, and 1gb of memory. We're just not sure if too much is being read into the "Windows Phone 8X".

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WP Central Labor Day Sale

Don't forget to visit the Windows Phone Central Accessory Store

Just  a quick reminder as the Labor Day weekend draws to a close that in honor of all of the hard working people of America, Canada and the rest of the world we're celebrating with savings at Windows Phone Central Accessory Store.

You can save 15% on ALL Windows Phone accessories through Midnight PST on Monday, September 3rd.  Just use the coupon code LDAY12 at checkout and you'll be set. Oh... and don't forget, if you're outside of North America we're now offering low cost shipping globally.

Enjoy the holiday, and enjoy the savings!

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Nokia Lumia 800

If you're looking for a deal on the Nokia Lumia 800, Carphone Warehouse is featuring the Lumia 800 as this week's Smart Deal. The Windows Phone is available to new customers and as an upgrade for free until September 6th.

The Smart Deal does call for a 24 month contract and monthly service plans. Plans start at £12.50 that includes 250 minutes of talk time, 5000 texts and 500mb of data through Talkmobile.

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NewsSpot Reader Windows Phone

Reading news and articles on the go is a huge benefit to having a Windows Phone. These days there are a bewildering array of website specific apps, RSS readers, read it later clients and even tailored magazine apps to help sift through and read it all.

When mobile, being able to quickly check and access posts, articles and features from all your favourite websites can be tricky. One of the popular ways to pull all this content into one stream is by using the Google Reader service. NewsSpot is a slick Google Reader client for our Windows Phone that is due to receive an update towards the end of September that will bring some nice new features to the app. We had a chance to check out the latest beta of this popular client.

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Zombies, Run! on sale

If you are on the fence about pulling the trigger on the Windows Phone game Zombies, Run! because of the cost, you're in luck. To celebrate the launch of Zombies, Run! versions 1.1 on Android and version 1.4 on iOS, the developers have dropped the price from $7.99 to $2.99 across the board.

Zombies, Run! is a unique game (or is a exercise app?) for your Windows Phone where you listen to missions during your daily runs/walks that pits you against an angry hoard of zombies. As the mission progresses you earn or collect supplies. After your run, you use the supplies at your your base township. The town in turn uses the supplies to support growth and as your town grows, more missions become available.

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      Windows Phone in the Central Kingdom      

Till this day, how big exactly is the Windows Phone ecosystem is largely a myth. Microsoft is keeping crucial figures all to itself. Over time, many tried to measure the ecosystem with various ways, such as the active users of the Windows Phone Facebook client.

Now WPDang and OpenXLive have decided to do it a bit more scientifically: with consolidated server data of 112 apps and games. Sadly the report only covers the Chinese market, because the majority of these data source apps either make sense only to Chinese users, or are well ranked only in the Chinese Marketplace...

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From the Forums

It's a relaxing weekend holiday with Labour Day just around the corner, but Windows Phone Central is still full steam ahead with the run up to Nokia's announcement (as well as other OEM hardware). If you haven't already done so, we recommend checking out our community forums for the latest and greatest platform discussion.

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WP Central

Nokia City Lens - from beta to official

It was just over two weeks ago that Nokia’s City Lens app, which allows users to find “things to do” using their compass, camera phone and accelerometer, received an update and now the official release is out. The augmented reality app has proven to be quite popular with users, so it's nice to see it finally go official.

Billed as version 1.1, the app is neither listed in the Nokia Collection nor available by search—but we managed to get the link for you folks to use now (as soon as the app propagates to your Marketplace servers).

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Lumia 610

The Lumia 610 low-end Nokia Windows Phone

Rum'o'meter

As we closely approach Nokia's rave party, which is to be held this coming Wednesday in New York, reports of potential Nokia Windows Phones are surely to be coming in hot for the next few days. The Verge has learned from a source familiar with Nokia's Windows Phone plans that the manufacturer plans to release a Lumia 610 successor, powered by Windows Phone 7.8, codenamed "Glory".

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WP Central

The new wireless Purity Pro headset

Along with the new PlayUp mobile speaker from JBL-Nokia, it looks like those Purity headphones (over the ear) from Monster will also be getting a slight makeover.

The new version, which should be available later this year are not cheap: €299 or about $376. Last we checked, that’s a lot of money for some headphones.

The good news is you’re getting some neat technology this time around as Nokia has made these wireless with NFC pairing and Bluetooth streaming (you can also pair via BT).

The headphones come in four colors including black, red, yellow and white. Sadly, no cyan just yet but that yellow color seem to be the big new color for the Lumia line this year.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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ATIV S Review

Russian mobile website NOMOBILE.RU managed to get some hands-on action with the Samsung ATIV S, which was announced at IFA 2012 in Berlin this week. The Windows Phone was presented in its glory, and looked surprisingly elegant when put against its Android counterpart in the video.

What's interesting about this hands-on coverage was the few seconds the reviewer took to bend the plastic backplate. Now, if you saw the image above before reading the title, you'd immediately assume it's on the verge of snapping, but it seems the Samsung ATIV S (much like the Galaxy S III) can actually bend it like Beckham - refers to David Beckham curling the football around a defensive wall from set pieces.

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AppCampus

While we continue to impatiently approach Nokia's event this coming week where we'll hopefully see what the Finnish manufacturer has to offer in terms of Windows Phone Apollo hardware, news has unearthed today surrounding the AppCampus (www.apcampus.fi), which was set up earlier in the year.

The joint venture between Microsoft, Aalto University (Finland) and Nokia was established at a cost of $23 million to promote quality app development on Windows Phone. AppCampus has revealed that it has distributed the first $1 million of its budget on 36 developers out of a total of 900 submissions.

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Zune Features Change

If you've launched your Zune Desktop lately, you've probably seen the pop-up message alerting you that features have changed. When you re-launch Zune you will find that there is no longer a Zune HD marketplace listing.

The only options available under the Zune Desktop Marketplace listing are Picks, Music, Videos and Podcasts. The option to view Apps, both Zune and the resurgent Windows Phone 7 apps, have vanished. We know that Microsoft is in the process of renovating the Zune services over to Xbox Music and this change could be part of that process.

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ESPN FFL 2012 for Nokia Windows Phones

We mentioned the ESPN Fantasy Football App for Nokia Windows Phone being available shortly just the other day and today, ESPN FFL 2012 is available for download. The free app will let you manage multiple fantasy football teams, check in on player performance and view news and video highlights from ESPN.

ESPN FFL 2012 also taps into FantasyCast Live Scoring that will deliver real time player and matchup scoring to your Windows Phone.

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