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To celebrate the launch of the Surface RT tablets, Microsoft is giving away a twelve month Xbox Music Pass ($99 value) to the first 100 people in line at their local stores.

There is also the hint of additional Xbox prizes to be given away at the launch events.

Just follow this link to find a store near you and plan on arriving early. Curious is anyone will be camping out for the Surface RT.  If so, good luck!

Thanks, stmav, for the tip!

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Update: The Lumia 920 is still hidden from the Best Buy system but if you use this link, you can still find it and evidently pre-order it. Thanks, anujtwp, for the link

Just this morning we woke up gleefully to find that Best Buy was finally taking pre-orders for AT&T’s Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X. Even better was what seemed like a fair price for the Lumia 920: $150 on contract, coming in below the normal $200 mark for high-end smartphones.

But alas, something is awry and the Lumia 920 has gone missing from Best Buy’s site. Even more odd is how the HTC 8X is still listed for pre-order. Glitch? Error? Sold out? We really have no idea and hopefully tomorrow either we’ll wake to find it fixed or we’ll ask Nokia if they know what’s going on with the whole deal.

In addition, some people who have pre-ordered the Lumia 920 mentioned to us a ship date of October 23 or 24th. While we don’t have any knowledge if that is accurate, we’re leaning on this being an error from Best Buy. We’re not expecting that phone to ship until November 4th—but hey, we like surprises just like anyone else.

Thanks for everyone who sent this in!

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XNA is dead. Long live XNA!

So, as many of you have heard, Microsoft has killed off XNA and every game written in the framework is doomed.

Except that isn’t the whole story.

If you don’t know, XNA is a game development framework made by Microsoft to aid developers in rapidly creating cross platform games. The name stands for: XNA's Not Acronymed. Writing a game in XNA enables it to run on Windows, XBOX, Windows Phone, and the [now dead] Zune HD. The only real changes that need to be made are the controls and UI (different screen sizes). Even if you’ve never heard of XNA, chances are that you’ve played a game made in it if you’ve ever used a Windows Phone. One such game is ARMED! - which now has a Windows 8 version made in MonoGame.  XNA was loved by a lot of people, and gained popularity because it was an easy entry point into 2D and 3D game development, and it was a good way to reuse code across platforms.

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Looks like if you live near a Microsoft Store or even a pop-up holiday kiosk you can stop by and get a reservation card good for one Surface RT come October 26th.

The info comes via our forums where member jdevenberg was given a pass from a Microsoft pop-up Store employee at Washington Square in Beaverton, Oregon. The pass simply reads that a Surface has been reserved and all the shopper has to do is bring the pass at 12pm on October 26th. This sounds like a good deal for those of you who are wanting to go and get one in the Store that very day instead of pre-ordering online.

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AT&T is gearing up to launch the Nokia Lumia 920 very soon—in fact we expect an announcement on pricing and availability sometime on Sunday.

Word is that AT&T reps are also in the midst of training with the device, becoming familiar with its main features and selling points. Part of that training is being done with these videos that demonstrate the highlights of the Lumia 920.

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Windows Phone Central Reader's Roundup Contest

About once a week we sit down and roundup various apps and games for our Windows Phones. We've rounded up navigation apps, ninja styled games, spy apps and even London travel apps. While there's already a roundup in the works for this week, we want to do a game roundup based on your recommendations.

And to spice it up a little, we've got a few prizes to give away in the process.

All you need to do is head on over to this Windows Phone Central forum's discussion and share your top three Windows Phone games. We'll tally up the recommendations and next week roundup the top five WPCentral reader recommendations.

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Microsoft unveiled its plan to release a family of Windows tablets branded Surface. From that point onwards, we've waited patiently, speculating what the pricing could be. Today Microsoft has revealed the pricing for both of the available ARM-based Surface RT tablets on its online store. So, how much are we required to save before looking to make the purchase?

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It Don't Matter If you're Black Or White...or does it?

This photo of the HTC 8S has been generating a lot of comments on Reddit with most people throwing out the word “sexy” to describe it.

The question you may be wondering is what’s the deal with the black and white? Is that some HTC thing? The answer is ‘nope’ as it is part of Windows Phone 8’s “ease of access” settings, meaning you can do this on any new device you choose. (We erroneously reported this earlier as an added theme--that's close but not 100% accurate).

The “High Contrast” mode was first detailed by WPArea.de back in July when the first SDK initially leaked. In short, it allows you to go to an all “black and white” theme including white on black or vice versa. Obviously this is meant for people with visual impairments but evidently a lot of you are enthralled with its appearance—guess we can call it Metro extreme mode?

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Live Apps, Microsoft's new marketing language

Yesterday we ran a story with some new marketing material for Best Buy that focused on Windows Phone 8. What caught our attention was the use of the term ‘Live Apps’ and even more so the description on how to view them (swipe up, down, left, right).

The idea as the time was that this might be some new feature—possibly related to multitasking e.g. mimicking how Windows 8 handles multiple apps. The other was that this was just Microsoft’s rebranding of Metro apps to Live Apps (due to that trademark issue).

This morning, we can share a lot more information on this that has come forward. Some good, some disappointing.

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If people thought that HTC took some liberties with design and colors with the 8X and 8S from Nokia, wait until you see these prototype images of the Huawei Ascend W1.

We first saw the bezel part leak last night and now full images of the device have appeared on the same social network. And maybe it’s because of that cyan color or the 2D curved glass, but the device looks quite sharp.

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If you head over to Nokia’s site on the Lumia 920, you may notice that the international version is reported as supporting Pentaband 3G/HSPA with T-Mobile’s 1700 AWS frequency. That contradicts when the phone was announced back in September with only four bands being supported. So, what’s the deal? Have Nokia added support?

Unfortunately, no.

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Don't adjust your monitor

We’re not to sure what to make of this image from @NokiaPureview that allegedly shows the Verizon Nokia Lumia 9xx’s (aka "922") rear camera.

The image is blurry as heck but one thing is clear—we’re looking at something that is different. That’s not the Lumia 920’s camera bezel, with the familiar Carl Zeiss metal plate. But it’s not quite the PureView 808 either, though there appears to be a bit of a bulge, raising the camera upwards a bit. If that is the case (and now we’re speculating about a supposed image), then that does hint that Verizon 9xx has an improved camera of some sort (or a thinner body as rumored).

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Windows Phone Central's Roundup of the top Shooter games

For this week's Windows Phone Central Roundup we're focusing on Shooter Games for your Windows Phone. More specifically, the top five, paid, non-Xbox Windows Phone Game shooter games for your Windows Phone.

Xbox Windows Phone games fill the top seven spots on the Windows Phone Store list so we thought we'd shine the light on the little guy. The independent developer that is giving the Xbox Windows Phone titles a run for their money.

While we're focusing on the top five titles on the list, we know there are other worthy titles in the Windows Phone Store. If you've got a favorite shooter game, feel free to share in the comments.

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Missing or just hiding?

We’ve continued to document the small issues plaguing the Windows Phone Store as of late and we want to clear up one that we’re getting a lot of tips on: missing apps.

The issue comes up when you try to search for certain apps, namely Facebook, Groupon and WhatsApp for some of you. In short, they’re missing from search results and therefore you can’t download them.

But we should point out that all of the direct-links to those apps still work and will allow you to download the program. In fact, we’ll list the direct links for you down below.

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We recently ran a few polls to help us gauge what you thought of the Lumia 810 v the 820 and what Lumia 920 colour you’d be going for.

We have all had much to digest in the last month or so, new models, specs, colours and even variations on a theme. If these polls are anything to go by it looks like your choices  aren’t easy to predict. Read on to see how it breaks down.

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Way back in February, Microsoft announced a handful of Xbox Windows Phone games. Only two of those games have yet to be released: Pinball FX2 and Carcassonne. The Windows Phone version of Pinball FX2 still needs more development time, but the good news is Carcassonne has gone gold at last. It even has an official release date: Wednesday, October 24.

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Revealed - The Verizon Nokia Lumia 822

Looks like there is not too much mystery left to discern from the Verizon Nokia Lumia 822. Images have now leaked out of the device showing a rounded 820 in black with a 800x480 display and an 8MP camera. Of course LTE is on board too, which should make users happy but should be expected.

The device certainly looks sharp but as we're sure we'll hear in comments, it's not the coveted Lumia 920. 

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We don't yet have a street date for the Nokia Lumia 810 on T-Mobile, but that's of no concern to us here at the CTIA MobileCON event in San Diego. We caught up with said "exclusive to T-Mobile" device tonight at the the Mobilefocus event for a little face time. That's the good news. The bad news is that Microsoft still very much has Windows Phone 8 under wraps, and this kid wasn't even powered up. 

But we still managed some heavy petting with the 810. This isn't quite in the league of the thinnest of the thin Windows Phone 8 devices. But it's Nokia, so that's not really that surprising, no? What we did get to play with is a pretty solid build, with buttons in the expected places, the 8MP Carl Zeiss lens out back -- it's, well, it's the Lumia 810.

We'll have to hold out final judgment until Microsoft unwraps Windows Phone 8 and actually lets us see it on all these phones that have been announced over the past couple of weeks.

If you're a glutton for punishment, we've got some more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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