Windows Central News

A few weeks ago, Windows Phone Central and Microsoft started a Hidden Gems campaign to highlight interesting and underappreciated apps for Windows and Windows Phone. The series also is also a chance to reward our community by letting users win prizes for their participation, namely giving constructive feedback about the game or app highlighted.

Today, we are announcing those winners and starting our second segment, which focuses on some new hardware and connected technologies. Once again, there is an opportunity for you to win if you leave a comment!

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ICYMI: July 19, 2014

A lot can happen in a week. New apps join the Windows Phone Store or Windows Store. Your favorite apps can get a big update with a new look or new features. Device rumors come and go. Seven days might not seem like much, but it can be an eternity in the tech news cycle. Every week we're going to compile the biggest stories into one post, so you never fall behind – In Case You Missed It.

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Today's a big day. Lumia Cyan is officially rolling out to consumers around the globe. Owners of the Lumia 625 and Lumia 925 are in the first batch of customers to get the update. Are you in that group? You'll want to hit up our forums to talk among fellow owners with the new Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Cyan firmware update.

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Hey. Did you know there's a major sporting event happening right now!? It's the 2014 World Cup final with Germany and Argentina battling for the prize. Cortana has made some stellar predictions during the World Cup tournament, but she did get yesterday's game between Brazil and Netherlands wrong. She predicted that Brazil would prevail. However, the Netherlands took that game 3-0. Someone on Twitter said that Cortana's match prediction algorithm didn't account for a team giving up. Anyways. Is she going to be right today? Will Germany beat Argentina? Sound off below.

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Microsoft is so far taking a slow approach to the roll-out of the Windows Phone 8.1 update with the Lumia Cyan firmware. Yesterday, we detailed what is new in Lumia Cyan, and we have already reviewed Windows Phone 8.1.

However, the question on most people's minds is When will they get it?

Currently, there are no publicly set timetables for the release, as it is dependent on the device manufacturer, model, region and carrier, if applicable. As such, like previous updates, this one is staggered over the next few weeks and months. For now, you are encouraged to bookmark the page below to track the progress on the Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Cyan update (for Nokia phones).

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ICYMI: July 12, 2014

A lot can happen in a week. New apps join the Windows Phone Store or Windows Store. Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella can release a memo to over 100,000 employees. Your favorite apps can get a big update with a new look or new features. Device rumors come and go. Seven days might not seem like much, but it can be an eternity in the tech news cycle. Which is why every week we're going to compile the biggest stories into one post – In Case You Missed It.

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The Nokia Lumia 930 is slowly appearing in users hands around the globe. It's the latest Windows Phone that money can buy and it's a solid choice if you've been looking to upgrade your Lumia 920. However, we do know that new hardware is just around the corner. So we're spending the weekend wondering if you're buying a new Windows Phone soon or holding out for newer gear. Take our poll and let us know!

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A few weeks ago we started our Hidden Gems series in conjunction with Microsoft. The goal of the series is to highlight apps and games of high quality but that slip under the radar. Sure it is easy to write about big official apps, but it is these burgeoning services and games that are the heart of mobile today.

Currently, we are on a brief hiatus as we catchup on device release news, reviews and our usual content. However, two things: one, you can still enter our contests to win a new phone or tablet, and two, the series returns in the coming weeks!

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This afternoon at 4:30 PM EST we're kicking off our first of (hopefully) many live game streams on Twitch.tv. We tested things out last night in Titanfall, and should be all warmed up to blow some stuff up later on today. You can subscribe to the Windows Phone Central Twitch channel here, where we'll also be archiving gameplay if you can't make the livestream.

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This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Friday. That means we are in for a long weekend of mini-explosions, poor fashion sense, alcohol-fueled debauchery, copious amounts of nitrate filled provisions and unfeigned nationalism. But hey, it doesn't have to be all bad!

The Windows Phone Central Store is having a 20% off sale starting now through July 7. If you need a new case for you Lumia 1520, you get 20% off. If you need a new car kit for your Lumia 520, you also get 20% off. Yup, 20% off everything. Just use coupon code J414 during check out and the discount is applied across the board.

FREE shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic US), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin! Shop at will. Save 20 percent off with coupon code J414 . It's as easy (and American) as Apple Pie.

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Reporting and reviewing apps and games is part of our job at Windows Phone Central. Some of it is easy, like when a major app finally makes its way to our ecosystem, but if there's one thing we especially love, it's discovering an exceptional and unknown app. Often, it's you, our audience that brings them to our attention. Today, we're changing the tables around.

Starting tomorrow and running throughout the rest of June, we're partnering up with Microsoft to give away some great prizes and focusing on a select few apps and games that we think deserve some attention. They may for devices or services you are not aware of, they may be unique games, but they have all been handpicked.

The series is planned to run every day before noon Eastern Time, and they'll feature our cool little graphic (see below) so that you know it is part of the Hidden Gems program. We're also creating a main topic page, where you can view all the previous Hidden Gems articles in case you want to catch up. You can find that page here: www.wpcentral.com/hidden-gems, so make sure you bookmark it.

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Memorial Day Weekend is upon us here in the U.S., and it's time to remember and celebrate.

It's also the unofficial start of summer. And to celebrate after a long, long winter, we're kicking things in high-gear for a few days. You'll want to stock up on some toys for all your Windows Phone devices — and save 20% on ALL cases and accessories at the Windows Phone Central Store during our Memorial Day Sale (now through May 28).

To take advantage of the savings, all you need to do is enter in coupon code MEM14 during the checkout process. FREE shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic U.S./Canada), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin!

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Attention all Windows Phone fans! We've just passed the 1 million post marker on the Windows Phone Central community forum! The forum is the backend of the overall website experience, just like other Mobile Nations technology blogs. Not only do they provide a centralized location for folk with similar interests to band together and engage in conversations, but also receive support, share tips and more.

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Are you a massive fan of the new Surface Pro 3? Want to have somewhere new to discuss everything to do with the tablet from Microsoft? We've answered said calls with a brand new Surface Pro 3 forum over on the Windows Phone Central community. It's now easier than ever to join in discussions with other members about the new product (as well as everything else under the Windows umbrella).

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Mother's Day is this weekend. And we can't think of a better way to tell Mom you love her than by saving 20 percent on all Windows Phone accessories at the Windows Phone Central Store. So, through midnight May 12, that's exactly what we're giving you!

To celebrate Mom (or anyone else you want to celebrate, we suppose), we're giving you 20 percent off Windows Phone cases. And headsets. And chargers. And batteries. Basically anything and everything Mom might need to keep things up and running. (And as we all know, things wouldn't be up and running if it weren't for Mom.) Just be sure to use coupon code MOM14 at checkout!

We have tons of accessories in stock for the Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Samsung ATIV S, HTC 8X and more! Be sure to take advantage of the savings while they last.

And for those of you taking a spare device along for the ride, don't forget the MOM14 coupon also works at the iMore Store, ShopCrackBerry.com and ShopAndroid.com. Your shopping cart will follow you through all four stores, so you can buy from all four stores and checkout once.

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This week, Mobile Nations launched yet another site to our repertoire of mobile technology. Dubbed Connectedly, the site is all about wearables, connected technology and the internet of things. Make sure you read the Welcome Post to get a feel for what it’s all about.

With May 1st here and a few days of smooth running now behind it, Connectedly is kick-starting things today with their first community contest! The grand prize is a Sonos Playbar and two Sonos Play:1 speakers. Runner up prizes include Philips Hue and the amazingly-fun Sphero toy.

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It's patch day again for the official WPCentral app. After a slightly rushed fix we released last week to address problems some regions were experiencing when using Microsoft's pubcenter advertising controls, a new issue was introduced that affected users with the Iconic tile enabled when launching from toast notifications.

We're happy to say that said issue is fixed with today's release of version 4.4.20 for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8. You'll find the full change list after the break as always, but if you'd rather just go grab the update then see the Windows Phone Store here.

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Today Mobile Nations and I are thrilled to announce the rebranding (and refocus) of our sister site Smartwatch Fans to Connectedly!

Along with the great new name we are expanding the coverage to include the full scope of next-generation of smart devices and related products hitting the consumer market today — think connected lifestyle (health trackers, wearables), connected home, connected toys, connected automotive, and more! Be sure to visit the Connectedly is Open for Business welcome post for the full manifesto.

The site is hosted at Connectedly.com, and we also have Connected.ly which will be used as the URL shortener for story links that appear on social sharing sites like Twitter. 

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We're excited to announce another patch to our official Windows Phone app today, which you can download right now here in the marketplace (Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7). Whilst this version 4.4.18 is not the biggest update we've ever announced we suspect a fair few people will be quite happy.

Following a flood of e-mails and messages complaining about our live tile's compatibility with the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 we've made sure that tile transparency now works correctly for both of our live tiles. The other headline change is that we've now made all features of the app available to all users.

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