Rumors

Build is right around the corner. It starts on April 2nd to be exact. Build is going to bring a flurry of news for the Windows Phone faithful, but there’s also going to be some cool info on Windows 8 and Xbox One. On the Windows front, here’s a new report to tide you over another few months. The next update for Windows 8.1, called Update 1, will boot straight to the desktop by default.

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We’ve heard from a few sources that Microsoft was poised to announce a new CEO ‘by the end of January’ and sure enough, we’re at that point with one day left. Bloomberg is reporting, with high confidence, that current executive VP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, Satya Nadella, is being prepped for that CEO position, replacing Steve Ballmer.

What’s more, the report goes on to claim that the company is replacing Bill Gates as chairman with Microsoft lead independent director, John Thompson.

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Microsoft has already unveiled the new name for SkyDrive – OneDrive. This rebranded cloud storage solution will continue to co-exist alongside the suite of Office Web Apps available for consumers to utilise without firing up local installations. The Office Web Apps as they're currently known is a selection of free tools for consumers to use within the web browser. Unfortunately, for the time being, it can prove to be confusing to get started with Office through SkyDrive.

According to oflivesino.net and The Verge, Microsoft may be looking to both rebrand and improve discoverability of its Office Web Apps.

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Two days ago, we reported on the Lumia 625 grabbing the double-tap to wake feature with its Lumia Black update. The new option allows people to literally double-tap the display, when off, to wake up the phone making one-handed usage easier.

Another phone that is lacking that feature is one of our favorites: the Lumia 720. Now, a Vietnamese user has received the Lumia Black update on their Lumia 720, claiming that the update has brought double-tap to wake, in addition to all of the other features. A video was also posted giving a ‘review’ of the revamped 720.

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Earlier this month reputable Microsoft news blogger, Paul Thurrott, claimed that Windows 9 (also known as “Threshold”) was to ship in April 2015. According to Thurrot, company would like to get out of the crazy fire fight of redesign that has become Windows 8 by supposedly distancing itself and brining the next rebranding of Windows to consumer hands as soon as possible, but a well known hacker says Windows 9 will be arriving a bit earlier.

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Nokia and Android have both been in the news recently. Earlier today we covered a leaked photo of the Nokia Normandy, the affordable Android smartphone reported to be in development, but another shot has been published on Chinese micro-blogging website Weibo. This time we're able to see the OS on-screen and the device itself looks similar to previous renders and leaks.

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Although the idea that Nokia – which is soon to be owned by Microsoft (transition teams are working day and night) – will release an Android phone seems farfetched, it’s clear that the Finnish company was serious about the device. Dubbed ‘Normandy’, the low-end hardware reportedly runs a forked-version of Android, meaning it can’t access core-Google services.

We’ve seen some renders and even a photo, but now a new image has appeared on the Sina Weibo site Palm Uncle (at least, that’s our Bing translation). The photo is interesting because it shows the device wrapped in its protective cover, which is often used to mask its full design. Indeed many Nokia execs carry their pre-production Lumias in such cases when traveling.

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The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the company's high-end "phablet" Windows Phone. The 16GB variant is currently available at numerous outlets within the US, as well as AT&T for direct purchasing. The mobile operator has yet to launch the 32GB version of the Windows Phone, but this could well change soon as we've learnt that January 10th is believed to be the day when AT&T opens up orders.

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Huawei and ZTE are rather hot in the news when it comes to Windows Phone. The two Chinese OEM partners are potentially looking to release new hardware, running Microsoft's Windows Phone OS and rumours pinned the former manufacturer to unveil its Ascend W3 at CES this week.

Now, WPDang reports that this may not be the case and both Huawei and ZTE may well be eyeing up Mobile World Congress for some Windows Phone action.

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While we are not expecting much Windows Phone news out of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, rumors are making the rounds that Huawei will unveil the Ascend W3 Windows Phone at this year’s show.

We have heard rumblings of a new Windows Phone in the works for Huawei with the Ascend W3 but very little specifics.  The major line of thought is that the Ascend W3 will have an aluminum body, a 780x1280 display and overall loosely resemble the Nokia Lumia 925.

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Nokia's Lumia Black update (rolling out alongside the Update 3 from Microsoft) is still being loaded on hardware in numerous markets post-Nokia World, but should you reside in China, you're more than likely still waiting for the update to hit your Windows Phone. Today, we've got some good news for you. WPDang has learnt through sources that China will see the Lumia Black update from next Wednesday.

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File this under wishful thinking, but The Information, a new tech website founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, is reporting that Sony and Microsoft are in talks for a new Windows Phone next year. The report cites an unnamed but trusted source on the matter, though they note that nothing is yet signed between the companies.

Should such a deal come forward, it will reportedly fall under Sony’s VAIO brand, which has seen modest success in the Windows 8 world. Sony used to make reasonably successful Windows Mobile devices, and they were on board with Windows Phone 7, back when Microsoft announced the OS in Barcelona in early 2010. In fact, Sony Ericsson had the ‘Jolie’ prototype circulating before backing out at the last minute.

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File this under wishful thinking, but the venerable Lumia 920 has allegedly been jailbroken. That’s the claim from hacker poandsou and Silen Tech, who have posted a video supposedly demonstrating a Lumia 920 with the jailbreak enabled. For owners of the Lumia 920, or potentially any other Windows Phone 8 device, jailbreaking could bring a new avenue of development and customization, should this claim prove to be viable for the average user.

We should caution that none of this information has been independently verified, so at this time we are taking them at their word. Even if it is true, there are a lot of details that need to be filled in before this can mean anything.

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The Nokia-Microsoft deal is marching steadily to a conclusion as being approved by the United States, the European Union, and of course, Nokia's shareholders. However, China is still reluctant to give its word. Recently China's Ministry of Commerce has started a second round of probes into Microsoft's acquisition case. This time the government has a new emphasis: antitrust.

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Nokia’s first dual SIM Windows Phone is rumored to be codenamed “Moneypenny”. Dual-SIM phones allow mobile devices to carry and support two SIM cards. This dual SIM operation lets users use two services at once without needing to carry two different phones. Dual SIM devices are very popular in emerging markets, which is probably where we’ll find Moneypenny (aka the Lumia 630 and 635) offered. Now we’ve got a rumored screenshot of the display.

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Specifics emerge on new features for Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft has successfully packaged and released Update 3 for Windows Phone 8, leaving only the 8.1 update, aka ‘Blue’, on the table for shipping. Expected to be reveled at Build 2014 in April, Windows Phone Central understands that 'M3' (Milestone 3), the escrow period and RTM dates have already been locked into place by Microsoft.

Today, The Verge has added to the story by detailing some new information to features already expected for the landmark release.

In an article published this morning, Tom Warren goes into more detail over the notification center and ‘Cortana’ the Siri-like personal assistant.

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The Twitter account @evleaks, which has proved to be a reliable source in the past, has today tweeted am alleged leaked screenshot of Windows Phone 8.1 "Blue." This screenshot shows virtual, on-screen capacitive buttons with the familiar back, Windows and search setup. Just like Android, you're looking at a black bar at the bottom of the screen with all three buttons present.

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