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Official Windows Phone Central v3.1 app now available

There aren't many things that I am certain of in this world. But something I know for a fact is that after a big app update, the public are amazing at finding bugs that a developer would miss.

With that simple fact I direct you here to find the v3.1 update to our official Windows Phone app. This is entirely a bug-fixing release which addresses several areas mostly within the forums, a few are listed below...

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While we all think the Nokia Lumia 920's camera is a quality camera, we also note that image quality from the Windows Phone camera can be slightly on the soft side. The softness isn't something to send you running from the room in a panic but evident.

Until Nokia updates the firmware on the Lumia 920 to bump the in-camera sharpening you can easily fix things with Nokia's Creative Studio or even the auto-fix in Windows Phone 8 can help.

There also may be another fix available. WPCentral Reader Atif sent in a tip where he's found changing the aspect ratio on the Lumia 920 from 16:9 to 4:3 produces sharper images from the get go.

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Nokia have firmly established themselves as a major player in the Windows Phone market. Their devices have been consistently regarded well and their marketing efforts have seen them establish ‘Lumia’ as a powerful and recognisable brand in its own right.

With the advent of Windows Phone 8 we saw Nokia strive to produce the definitive ‘hero’ device of this generation. The Lumia 920 packs some serious specs and for some it’s seen to be the best device of this current crop of phones. It isn’t all about the speeds and feeds, it’s about a cohesive package consisting of exclusive apps, hardware and of course Windows Phone 8.

We've previously reviewed the Lumia 920, which is well worth checking out for the in-depth analysis, but it is from this perspective I’m going to look at how successful it really is.

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Rum Run now available at the Windows Phone Store

The Windows Phone game Rum Run is now available in at the Windows Phone Store. We took an early look at the game a few weeks ago and found it to be a challenging time management/strategy game set on the high seas.

You play the role of a ship captain who is tasked to deliver food to a starving village. You buy/sell rum and food at various ports to finance the operation while dodging storms and pirate raids.  You need to feed 100% of the village before they run out of the food.  If they run out, the game's over.

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It looks like some users who have Gmail on their Windows Phone 8 devices are experiencing syncing issues that eventually cause the email app to crash. The problem seems independent of hardware (so 8X and 920 users are affected) and is tied to Gmail specifically.

The problem occurs with the People Hub and linked contacts constantly syncing. Likewise, when people head to their Gmail inbox, it too is stuck on a constant sync and may even crash when one attempts to scroll the message list. Over in our forums, user moc426 made the above video of the phenomenon occurring, a test which site WinSource has also validated as happening on their HTC 8X.

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AdDuplex, a cross-platform advertisement network for Windows Phone and Windows 8 developers, has released data in the form of charts that reveal OEM, platform version and even view mode trends. Sporting data for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, the published article hits two birds with one stone. So, what's interesting about the numbers?

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A presentation slide, reportedly from Nokia training material, has been leaked containing details of some features included in the upcoming Windows Phone 7.8 update. Microosft has promised to those who own Windows Phone 7.x handsets that more features are on the way to keep the experience current. While features highlighted are already known, it's good to see official confirmation through said material.

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At last, Sonic CD arrives for Xbox on Windows Phone

It’s been a long time coming. SEGA first announced Sonic CD for Windows Phone way back in August 2011. We then interviewed Ken Balough, Sonic’s brand manager, shortly before the Xbox 360 version launched on December 14 of that year. At the time, there was no indication that the WP7 port would arrive dramatically later than the XBLA one… But here we are in November 2012, and the game is finally available. Good news: it was worth the wait!

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We've been publishing a number of reports covering multiple retailers and carriers where initial stock of Lumia 920 Windows Phones has sold out. It appears this is a global issue right now, but who would have thought that Nokia would have a problem of getting enough Windows Phones into the market to meet demand?

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Huawei Ascend W1 to make an appearance at CES 2013

As one of the Microsoft's launch partners along with Nokia, Samsung and HTC, Huawei has been an awfully mysterious company in the Windows Phone ecosystem. First there was complete silence for a long time, then we had the whole situation in the US.

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Last week’s Xbox Deal of the Week was a repeat sale on the less-than-impressive Windows Phone port of Earthworm Jim from Gameloft. This week, I’ve got both some Aladeen news and some Aladeen news to share with you. First, the Aladeen news: we’re getting another repeat deal on another so-so Gameloft game – UNO HD. Now the Aladeen news: it’s going on sale for just 99 cents, down from $4.99, making this a much better deal than last time.

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The ESPN Fantasy Football 2012 app has vanished from the Windows Phone Store and those who have been using the app have seen their teams vanish as well. The app itself has disappeared from the Nokia Collection as well but if you follow this link, you can still find the app's listing.

Unfortunately, the Nokia exclusive is noted (for both Windows Phone 7 and 8) as not being available for your device from your Nokia Lumia Windows Phone.  From the online store, the app is simply listed as "not available online" likely due to the Nokia exclusivity.

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There's a discussion going on over at the Windows Phone Central forums that has us a little concerned about the Lumia 920's battery performance. Some are seeing their batteries being sucked dry in a few hours while some aren't seeing any issues.

Our Dan Rubino refers to his 920's battery life as fantastic and I would have agreed up until today when my 920 barely made it six hours on a full charge.  Oddly the back of my Lumia 920 became warm during throughout the morning.  Made for a great hand warmer but I'd trade cold hands for better battery life any day.

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While we think Microsoft’s Surface is a solid first attempt, there are some minor issues with the OS and hardware that still need to be worked on. One of those is performance as animations and app load times aren’t always the smoothest nor fastest. Still, being a version 1.0 product we know Microsoft will be tweaking things along the way.

Such is the case with today’s update that has gone out to the Surface RT. The update, part of “patch Tuesday” contains eight parts including a firmware update related to security. Over at the Verge they claim that the update also improves performance of apps starting up: “On average, apps launched around two seconds faster than before, a noticeable improvement.”

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The Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone has surfaced over at Amazon Wireless. All five colors are available and the cost? The Lumia 920 on a new accounts or eligible upgrades will cost you $99.99. The out of contract price is $499.99.

Black and White models of the Lumia 920 are listed as shipping within 24 hours. The Cyan, Yellow and Red models are listed with estimated shipping in one to two weeks.

You can find the Amazon Wireless Lumia 920 listings here and we've got a discussion on the Amazon Wireless listings going on here in the WPCentral forums.

Thanks, Bugrahan, for the tip!

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Nokia has announced a new partnership with Internet giant Mozilla, which includes the acquisition of 3D capture company earthmine. Introducing 'HERE', a cloud deployment that's planned to deliver "the world's best maps and location services and devices" to help make the mobile experience more personal while on the move.

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A Second Look - Windows RT and that Surface tablet

Ever since Microsoft first announced to the world their intentions to “re-imagine” Windows it has been a rather wild ride. Their new touch screen user interface, WinRT wasn't just radical for its looks, it ushered in a totally new apps eco system while simultaneously sending the Start Menu to the technology grave yard.

The changes to the OS ran deep and Microsoft had been busy readying Windows 8/RT to run on the highly power efficient ARM processors. Their plans for that became clearer when they shocked the technology world by announcing their own tablet computer, the Surface. With the changes to Windows came a new declaration that Microsoft re-position themselves as a Devices and Services company. They have built their eco system and the next logical step has been to control the hardware that uses it. The culmination of their efforts in re-imagining Windows and becoming a devices and services company can we seen best in one single product, their Surface tablet running Windows RT.

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Sprint has finally confirmed what we already kind of knew for a while now: They will be hopping on the the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon. In an emailed statement to PCMag, the company said that it's cold feet have warmed up and that they will bring Windows Phone 8 on board in 2013:

"Sprint and Microsoft are partnering to bring Windows Phone 8 to Sprint's customers - operating on its 4G LTE network - next year."

There had been inklings that this may happen, like Ting, a Sprint network reseller blogging that it would support the latest version of Windows Phone "sixty days after Sprint has it," but there was plenty of reason to wonder as well. Not only did Sprint kill off it's poorly-selling, yet highly-acclaimed HTC Arrive, but they also put out an internal document stating that there were no Windows Phone 8 devices slated to offered any time soon.

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The new Windows Phone 8 sync client has been received with mixed reviews. On the one hand, people like the new modern UI look and exceptionally minimalist feature set. But perhaps it was a bit too barren?

Luckily the Windows Phone 8 sync client (for Windows 8) has been updated today to version 1.1.2303 and indeed the syncing ability for music and media has been refined. You can see in our before and after shots that your music is now place into what look like Tile/Folders as opposed to just “slots”. Right click on the folder will give you the ability to add the UI common “check” allowing you to sync that whole folder. If we had to guess, we’d say Microsoft purposefully made it much more “touch friendly” for you Surface and touchscreen users.

Head past the break for some comparison shots...

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Samsung ATIV S gets pushed back to December


Samsung ATIV S - First to announce and last to market

Yesterday we commented how Samsung appears to be late to the Windows Phone 8 train with their ATIV S smartphone. While not as visually eye-catching as HTC or Nokia's offerings, the device has strong appeal to the smartphone traditionalists out there or just those who want every high spec tossed into a phone. Sporting a 4.8" display, 32GB of onboard storage (with an expansion card option), dual-core 1.5Ghz CPU, a massive 2300 mAh battery and a slick, metal finish, the phone has its fans.

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