Windows Phone News

This morning we reported that AT&T should begin selling their version of the HTC One (M8) for Windows and the new Lumia 830 starting Friday November 7. For those on AT&T who have been longing for a new, high-end Windows Phone, either device offers some substantial benefits.

This raises the question: If you have to choose between the Lumia 830 and the HTC One, which would it be?

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A few weeks ago, Microsoft acquired Minecraft makers Mojang for a rather large sum of money. The next obvious question is when can we see Minecraft Pocket Edition for Windows Phone? After all, even BlackBerry 10 has it at this point. Microsoft's Phil Spencer did claim it would happen, even for Windows 8.1.

As it turns out, Mojang had begun development of a Minecraft port to Windows Phone before the acquisition. So says Tommaso Checchi in a series of recent tweets. Checchi is a developer on the Mojang team and even tweeted a photo of the game, seen below, listed in the app menu of the dual-SIM Lumia 635, which seemingly confirms it runs on 512 MB phones too.

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If you are on Verizon Wireless, you may well be thinking of dumping the carrier after their early retirement of the Lumia Icon. Blame poor sales and denounce their staff, but the fact is Verizon is a tough carrier to love when it comes to Windows Phone. Luckily, the blackout from getting your itchy fingers on the svelte, cold metal of the AT&T HTC One (M8) for Windows just got an end date, at least according to our sources.

I reported earlier that Friday November 7 was the planned launch date for the Nokia Lumia 830, which is shaping up to be a prevalent launch for that phone (example: all of Canada). Additionally, it looks like Microsoft is going to have some welcomed competition that day as we hear AT&T's version of the HTC One is also launching the same day.

If you have been waiting for a new Windows Phone, your choice now becomes a little more complicated.

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This morning, Microsoft UK published a teaser video under the #OfficeLove hashtag. There was a lot of speculation about what the announcement would be, with even some users focusing on the iPhone in the video. As it turns out, Microsoft was getting ready to tout new survey results in regards to using a Lumia for work and for pleasure.

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Back in April of this year, Microsoft surprised many of us who knew inner details of Windows Phone 8.1 prior to their announcement. The big revelation was the Live Lock Screen app, which was a closely guarded secret by those at the top of the Windows Phone Dev team.

Fast forward to July and the app was finally released to the community as a beta app with much fanfare. Betas are nothing new to Windows Phone users. Indeed, many of us suffer from beta-fatigue these days. However, since its initial release, Microsoft has updated the aesthetically innovative app exactly zero times. Doh!

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Kantar Worldpanel has released their latest smartphone sales numbers for the month August 2014. The report mostly focuses on the continued growth of the iPhone, especially the 5C in the UK, but the Windows Phone numbers are still thought provoking as well.

Kantar juxtaposes the numbers for August 2014 with the ones from August 2013, giving a sense of where things are going. In some cases, Windows Phone sees a decrease e.g. in Germany (6.9 percent, a -1.6 percent change) and France (9.9 percent, a -0.1 percent change). However, in comparing the Kantar sales data from last month, Germany increased slightly (0.8 percent), as did France (1.2 percent).

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Earlier this week I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite bands Rise Against. Not only did I have tickets, but also, I splurged for the pricey balcony seats to have an excellent view. For this show, I wanted to watch them unobstructed and just take it in, as opposed to the floor (you will see why).

Which phone to take to the show? Although the Lumia 1520 is still my top phone now, the Lumia 1020's 41 MP camera cannot be denied, especially for video. You see, with the PureView cameras, not only can you record excellent video, but also with your finger on the display, you can zoom in and out like a real video camera. Try that on the iPhone.

Curious as to the result? Here is a sample video.

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It looks like the Microsoft Cortana team is tweaking responses to some Halo-themed questions. Starting today, users began to notice that when asking Cortana about the famous first-person space adventure, she now responds with an image of the object in question in addition to her usual canned-audio response.

To initiate the results, users just have to ask Cortana 'What is Halo?' or 'Where is Master Chief'. Even asking about the Flood brings up an image of the baddie.

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To celebrate the launch of the Lumia 830 here in the UK, as well as the Star Trek convention this week in London, Microsoft has taught Cortana some new phrases in Klingon, possibly utilizing the translation functionality of Bing. The virtual assistant is now able to understand and respond to various phrases, providing some humorous themed replies for Star Trek fans.

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The status of phones running the Preview for Developers and receiving the Lumia Cyan update appears to be drastically improving. Over the last twenty-four hours, Windows Phone Central has been flooded with tips from Preview users who are now excitedly getting the new firmware after weeks of waiting.

From Australia to Ireland to Romania, there are evidently Lumia 1020s, Lumia 920s and Lumia 625s all getting the update.

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This afternoon, Flipboard finally released their long anticipated newsreader app for Windows Phone 8.1. The app was released previously in error and then later pulled from the Store. Now, the final version of the app is available, although it still has some rough patches, which is why it has only a 3.3 (out of 5) rating on the market.

One of the biggest disappointments with the Flipboard app is for those with-low-memory Windows Phones like the Lumia 520 and new Lumia 635. Due to the current coding in the app, it cannot run on those devices, cutting out a rather larger percentage of potential users of Flipboard. Luckily, Flipboard is addressing this shortcoming.

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