Tips

By now, the notion that Windows Phone 8 can store its maps offline should be familiar to most of you. Instead of pulling data “from the cloud”, your phone can simply have whole swaths of areas already on board, leaving the CPU (and battery) for other tasks.

While supremely useful, it can be overkill too. Specifically we mean if you spend a majority of your time in one region (or state), it doesn’t make sense to fill up your phone with say the whole United States. Yet that is exactly how the Verizon Nokia Lumia 928 is set up, including maps for the Cayman Islands (21.8 MB) and the Bahamas (24.9 MB) and USA (2,518.8 MB, or about 2.4GB).

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We briefly mentioned the Windows Phone partnership with We Are JUXT, a community of mobile photography enthusiasts (www.wearejuxt.com). Recently, ten of the most influential members of the We Are JUXT community were challenged to shoot exclusively with a Nokia Lumia 920

The group were asked to shoot exclusively with the Windows Phone for an eight day period and share a few tips on how to take the best pictures. The end result: a respectable collection of tips on not only how to take better photos but how to approach mobile photography as a whole.

Read on for these great tricks on how to better hone your mobile photo skills!

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The gaming and tech world-at-large has made a stink about how the Xbox One is moving to a more PC like approach. Specifically Steam has been cited as a model that the new Xbox One is moving towards. Of course Steam has been cut some slack because of how often they have deals on games. Well, it looks like Microsoft is even getting ready to follow that practice because right now you can download Fable III for free onto your Xbox 360.

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This week Microsoft launched a new site, WindowsChipIn.com. The site aims to help students without adequate financial resources raise money for a new Windows 8 PC or tablet via their social networks.

The program is three step: First, select the Windows PC you would like. Next, create a profile and invite friends to contribute towards your new high-tech gadget. Finally, collect the profits and flee to Mexico buy your PC.

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This week, Gravilux for Windows 8 showed up free in the marketplace (but it will only be of no-cost for a limited time). The app is an “interactive musical star field visualizer”; simply touch the screen and simulated stars are whirled around and began to change color. You can even set the stars to react to music or other audio files in a custom playlist

Gravilux is a fun tool to amuse your friends with and show them what your fancy Windows 8/RT touch screen can do.

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Here at Windows Phone Central, we go out of our way to bring you the latest and greatest apps conveniently. For instance, if you use our official app, you get one-tap access to download whatever it is we’re writing about, instead of making you hop out of the app and searching in the Store. If you’re browsing via the web on a PC, you get a nice QR code to quickly scan at the bottom of each article.

Well, ThomasP from the website WP7App.de has written a killer extension for the Chrome browser that goes one step further. The extension simply auto-generates QR codes for any app in the Windows Phone web Store. So if you are just browsing or someone emails you a link, when you head to Microsoft's site you’ll get a nicely accessible QR code for quick scanning.

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Setting up and configuring your new Windows Phone

Got your new Windows Phone? Congratulations!

The first step you need to take is to actually set up the smartphone for the first time. We’ve continuously stated how user-friendly the experience is, so why do we need a tutorial on setting up a new smartphone running Microsoft’s mobile operating system? It’s a fair question, but truth be told that many aren’t as computer savvy as those who were born in this millennium.

That said, it really is super simple to get cracking from unboxing the new gem in your life to making calls, downloading apps and racking up the gamerscore on Xbox Live. What do you need to get started? Nothing really, just the new phone, ample enough charge to get through (it’s always recommended to zap some juice into the device before use) and our quick step-by-step guide. Shall we begin?

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Splashtop 2 is now available to download for Windows Phone 8 devices and is free though August 31st. The popular remote desktop application allows users to access their PCs directly from their mobile phone. View and edit files, stream HD movies, play games, and more using the Splashtop Streaming App for Windows and the new mobile app for Windows Phone 8. Splashtop 2 can transmit video content at up to 30 frames per second with low latency times which makes almost anything possible.

As a writer on the go, I can personally recommend that you check out this popular piece of software, as it has saved me a few times in the past when I have left articles on my machine.

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Welcome to the world of Windows Phone

Are you new to Windows Phone, or just the realm of mobile when it comes to Microsoft? If so, then welcome aboard! You’re at the right place as Windows Phone Central is the number one online resource for all things Windows Phone. We’ll be diving into why you should choose Windows Phone, what makes the platform great for not only personal, but work life too and how you can get involved in the community. So grab a cup of tea and let’s dive in.

As this is a guide through the basics of the platform, we’re going to assume that everyone reading this will either be new to Windows Phone or smartphones in general. If you're already up on your knowledge, these guides may not be for you. Let’s start with some history about the platform itself.

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That's right, folks. We're firing up an article on user review etiquette. Why, you ask? We've had numerous developers complain that consumers simply don't pay attention to information provided on the Windows Phone Store. This is prior to downloading trials or purchasing apps and they then leave negative feedback, which is viewable by the general public. We've noted this ourselves when browsing the catalogue.

Our own Jay Bennett has had this issue with the official Windows Phone Central app, so we figured we'd talk about how you can help make the review system less skewed for others to rely on, as well as improving the overall store experience for everyone (including developers). If you're one to quickly jump the gun and add a one-star review on apps and games then this resource is for you.

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Google is set to cease supporting Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for its array of online services, including both GMail and Calendar. This will prevent consumers from setting up accounts on Windows Phones with both contact and calendar support (but will not affect those who already have email configured on Windows Phone). Consumers who make use of said features will have to go through workarounds to get connected, or switch across to Outlook.

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You're going to get behind the wheel? No, you want to catch the bus? Hold it, dear chap! Instead, since it's Mobile Nations Fitness Month, why don't you make use of the pedestrian functionality in the Windows Phone Maps app? Stretch those legs, turn up the beats and introduce your favourite swagger to the unexpected public.

There's nothing like a casual stroll on a Friday afternoon, right? Planning a walking route is an easy feature to overlook when not used on a regular basis but it is a simple feature to make use of.  A feature that will help you get to and from your destination and burn a few calories along the way.

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As we’re the largest Windows Phone site around, you could imagine we get asked a lot of questions. Some are bizarre, some are just rants asking us to fix the OS (we wish we could!) and some seem silly at first but do make you go “hmmm...”

Such is the case with this scenario: You toss your beautiful Nokia Lumia 920 onto the Fatboy wireless charger to get some juice. But you also have a USB AC adapter standing by...what happens if you plug that in? Will it charge off of both, making it “go faster”? Or does one take priority over the other—and if so, which way?

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With the Windows Phone 7.8 update finally starting to find its way on board user’s devices, bringing with it the cosmetic upgrades of Windows Phone 8, here at Windows Phone Central our readers are noticing that not all is well for their newly-sized live tiles.

Users over in our forums have spotted that since the 7.8 update, their live tiles (those updated by background tasks at least) do not seem to be refreshing correctly.

A lot of times these issues are device specific, but in this case we’re not convinced. I recently had a conversation with Lawrence Gripper (developer of BBC News Mobile) after he got in touch to ask if we had been receiving an abnormal number of support requests since 7.8, we have. Just like the reviews you'll see for BBC News Mobile, several users have been in touch complaining that their tile seems to have ceased updating now that they have installed the new OS update.

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We’ve lamented numerous times here at Windows Phone Central on the sorry state of Xbox Music on current Windows Phone 8 devices. When it comes to management, features or in one particular case, missing album art, it can be quite frustrating to use and it's quite the downgrade from the Zune days..

We touched on this topic recently on the last podcast where ripping a CD (via Zune) and transferring to our device using the Windows Phone App (RT) caused our album art to magically disappear, leaving a hideous gray box in its place.

Luckily for us we now have a solution. Best of all it’s simple, free and called MPAtool.

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The Windows Phone 7.8 update is here. Well, it will be once you're able to update your hardware should you not go down the manual route. We've all be eagerly awaiting the notification that there's a new build available, but what if you overlook a new feature or miss new functionality through excitement (with or without comforting alcohol), or simply not being aware that such magic exists? We'll quickly run you through on how to get started with the 7.8 update.

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