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Nokia World 2013 – We’re here in Abu Dhabi

Good evening folks, at least for those of you who are on Abu Dhabi time! The Windows Phone Central team is assembling in this fascinating part of the world, with myself and Sam Sabri arriving today and iMore’s Richard Devine lending a hand as well. What for? Why Nokia World 2013, of course.

You read that right, we’ll have no less than three pairs of boots on the ground for this triumphant occasion, starting on Tuesday, October 22nd. On top of that, we’ll have our usual crack team of Rich Edmonds and George Ponder manning the backend for all day coverage.

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Have you looked at your Samsung ATIV S and thought what it would be like if you could have a third column of Live tiles? We'll be getting more room for Live Tiles with the 1080p hardware that will arrive alongside GDR3, but if you own the Samsung Windows Phone 8 device (interop-unlocked), you'll be able to add more tiles to your Start screen with some handy homebrew tools.

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Nokia World will soon be upon us (in fact, we're already on our way out there), but that's not halting leaks and more from being published. Evleaks, a Twitter profile which has been fairly accurate in the past, has posted what are reported to be specifications of the Lumia 1520 - aka. "Nokia Bandit." While we'll be able to bring you the announcements, hands-on and more from the event floor, what are we looking at here?

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Street Outlaws has arrived in the Windows Phone 8 store with fantastic graphics, challenging game play and MOGA Pro support.

Drift Mania: Street Outlaws, the official gaming title, is a racing game focused on the art of drifting. You race across a wide variety of venues ranging from the Swiss Alps to the streets of San Francisco.  Thirteen tracks in all to master, sixty achievements to conquer, and forty performance upgrades to unlock gives Street Outlaws plenty of gaming to keep you busy.

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Those of you running Windows RT (on a Surface RT or similar tablet) will notice that the RT 8.1 update has been pulled from the Windows Store and is no longer available. The reason behind Microsoft pulling the update? There's an issue that's affecting some consumers who are upgrading their tablets. lf you've already started to upgrade your tablet and have encountered issues, read on as there's a solution while Microsoft investigates.

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The other day we reviewed the Windows Phone 8 game Cartoon Ball. It's an entertaining, casual game where you blast a blue ball into a basket. To keep things challenging you'll have to navigate around various obstacles along the way.

The game has potential but is held back by a few performance bugs and the lack of a trial version. The latest update takes Cartoon Ball addresses the bugs but the game still lacks a trial version.

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Phonly is a gorgeous Feedly client for Windows Phone, which was released to the store last month. The app also sports lockscreen integration, InstaPaper and Pocket support. While the app has only been out for a short while, already we're looking at a rather nice update, bumping the app to version 1.2. If you use the Feedly service, we strongly urge you to check out Phonly, and best of all it's free to download. So, what's new in 1.2?

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Back at Casual Connect in August, we interviewed German developer Handy Games about some of their upcoming Windows Phone and Windows 8 titles: 1941: Frozen Front and Townsmen. Those two fine-looking titles are still in development, but the game maker has something else to tide us over right now.

Handy Games has just updated both mobile Windows versions of their 2D shoot-em-up Aces of the Luftwaffe, right alongside their Android counterpart. One of our favorite shmups on Windows Phone 8, Aces of the Luftwaffe is free to play. This update adds a bunch of new content that will keep shooting game fans busy for hours.

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Locking the screen rotation on Windows Phone 8 is simply wonderful. Before Update 3 (aka GDR3), if you were preparing to lay in bed with the Kindle app at the ready, you'd have to watch out for the pesky gyroscope which would switch the screen orientation. It was a minor nuisance. Now with rotation lock, you're able to hop into the phone settings and lock the display to portrait or landscape. That said, it can be a pain to navigate through the settings area. Cue Rotation Lock, an app to solve this problem.

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Last night, there was evidently no Facebook Beta update. We suppose the beta team is on vacation, taking a week off. Instead, we managed to pick up an update for the official app, bringing it to version 3.1.2.0/5.1.2.0 for Windows Phone 7.x and 8, respectively.

That’s all well and good though if you were looking for some new features or something vastly different, you may have to keep waiting. Although we have received exactly one million, five hundred and one thousand tips, not one of those detailed any noticeable changes. Sure there’s the usual “it feels faster” but at this point, that has become nothing but a running joke.

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AppoinTile is a Windows Phone 8 calendar app that lets you replace the native Windows Phone calendar app tile with a customizable Live Tile. A tile that is designed to place more information on your daily agenda on your Start Screen.

AppoinTile was recently updated to version 2.2.2 that adds the customary performance tweaks as well as adding a search function and Facebook integration. The app has also gone on sale with the price dropping to $1.99.

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The out-of-box experience for Windows Phone is by far one of the best around compared to other mobile platforms. That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, which is exactly what some third party apps do on the platform. We’ve got a handful of calendar apps that run circles in features compared to the default calendar app.

Compass Deluxe is a fairly new app the platform that adds some functionality to your Windows Phone that otherwise isn’t built in. Let’s check it out.

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Windows Phone gets a popular cloud-based web browser to reduce data and make things faster

Internet Explorer isn't necessarily a slow web browser on Windows Phone, but there are alternative web browsers from third parties.

Maxthon (www.maxthon.com) is one of these alternatives, and what a second choice it is. If you're looking at a free way to improve your web browsing experience and boost your Windows Phone into space, download this app right now. 

Head past the break to see our hands on video and tour of this fantastic browser alternative!

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The Windows Phone community may be small, but we stick together. Tile Me! is an app that’s helped to unify the community on various social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. Tile Me can be useful on basically any social network where you have a profile image.  The app allows you to create a “Me tile” for your social networks.

There are two versions of Tile Me!, one free and the other that costs $0.99. For the next day, it’s free.

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A little over a month ago, Dell surprised a few of us in the tech community by reviving the Venue branding for a product. It’s not a Windows Phone or Android smartphone, but instead a new family of tablets. There's the Dell Venue 8 Pro, an 8-inch tablet running Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 operating system. Dell now has full pricing and pre-orders up on their website. Details below.

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Update 1PM ET: We now have the full list of stores with this limited offer, listed below

Here’s a special deal for you folks who live near an official Microsoft Store: you can pick up the AT&T Nokia Lumia 1020 for $0 with a new two year contract. How’s that for an offer you can’t refuse?

The offer is only good through November 3rd and as we said, in-store only, so don’t bother looking for this online anywhere as you won’t find it. Evidently, Microsoft is sending out emails to notify people of the deal and a few of you are snatching it up. Forum member ‘dkp23’ even posted a screenshot to verify its authenticity and indeed, we’ve heard from a few of you separately that this deal is legit.

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In the future, Nokia will be a services company instead of making phones. Of course, that’s glossing over the fact that their hardware division will live on, just under the Microsoft banner. It’s also important because their HERE mapping technology is quite impressive.

Nokia has now released three videos highlighting some of the core HERE technologies, many of which you Lumia owners will be familiar with. LiveSight, My Commute and Transit are all standard apps on Lumia Windows Phones, though we bet that the company will be extending them to other platforms in the future.

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6tag, the unofficial Instagram client for Windows Phone, has now far exceeded the official app on iOS and Android

What better way to start the weekend than with a huge update for 6tag, the popular Instagram client for Windows Phone? Version 2.0 went live in the Store this morning and we have all the details for you.

At this point, 6tag is no longer playing catch up to the official Instagram app found on iOS and Android, it’s surpassing it. That’s especially the case with version 2.0 as it adds features that are not found in the official offering, making the app even more special. Here’s what’s new...

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