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2 years ago

Microsoft working on passive-voice activation for Cortana

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While asking Cortana various questions on Windows Phone 8.1 is natural, the way in which one enables the personal voice assistant isn't quite as fluid. Users need to press down on the Search key or press the Live Tile and microphone before Cortana enables, and while it's not difficult there are better solutions available.

One of the solutions is passive-voice activation, which is something users of the Xbox One with Kinect should know. Passive-voice activation allows users to engage the AI or system simply by using their voice. Likewise, the Motorola Moto X with Android can also activated by explicitly stating 'Ok, Google Now.' The phone will then come awake, letting users make appointments, starting their music, or sending a text message without ever touching the phone.

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2 years ago

Facebook Beta for Windows Phone 8 overhauled with new design and features

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Facebook Beta has finally received the highly anticipated refresh that Microsoft's Joe Belfiore mentioned during his recent Reddit AMA. The update brings the popular app up to version 5.3.0.1 (8.3.0.1) for those on Windows Phone 8 and 8.1, respectively. In addition, a detailed changelog has been added, noting a range of improvements including a new, more Modern layout.

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2 years ago

1Password for Windows gets much needed 4.0 update

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1Password is a solid solution for those who require apps to store randomized passwords. Agile Bits, the development house behind the service and apps, have announced version 4.0 for Windows on their blog. Sporting rather old and basic apps for both Windows Phone and Windows, this is welcomed news as what's contained in the release is a bunch of revamped features.

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2 years ago

8.1 HD Tiles, delivering transparent Live Tiles to your Windows Phone

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8.1 HD Tiles is a Windows Phone 8.1 app that will let you add transparent Live Tiles to your Start Screen. The app not only offers transparent tiles for two hundred apps but 8.1 HD Tiles also offers tile options for settings, websites and blank tiles that can be used as spacers or to categorize groups of Windows Phone Live Tiles.

The app is compatible with Windows Phone 8 devices but some of the system settings will not be available and the tiles are not transparent. 8.1 HD Tiles is an easy way to add transparent Live Tiles and a nice addition to the Windows Phone 8.1 app library.

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2 years ago

Surface Pro 3 128 GB ship date pushed back by 10 days for new orders

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The Surface Pro 3 is slated for release later this Friday, but only for the Core i5 versions coming in 128 GB and 256 GB ranges. The more budget friendly Core i3 and wallet-busting Core i7 configurations, however, are not due until the end of August.

Microsoft may be dealing with somewhat high demand though, as the $999 Core i5 version with 128 GB now has a June 30 ship-by date, slipping by 10 days from June 20. The change in shipping appears only to apply to new purchases, and not early pre-orders. Accordingly, if you reserved your Surface Pro 3 128 GB prior to the last 24 hours, your new tablet/laptop hybrid should still be on track for delivery.

Presumably, Microsoft and Best Buy will also have the128 GB version on-hand in stores for immediate purchase starting Friday as well.

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2 years ago

Deal of the Day: Nokia 1A Micro-USB Car Charger DC-17

2 years ago

Lumia Cyan update said to improve low-light performace on Lumia Icon, 1520 and 930

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In an ongoing Q&A from Nokia's camera gurus, Juha Alakarhu and Eero Salmelin, who are now with Microsoft, information regarding what users should expect from the Lumia Cyan update has been revealed. The question answered dealt with photography, and specifically Nokia's latest high end Windows Phones, including the Verizon Lumia Icon, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520.

Juha Alakarhu took to the query and revealed precisely what would be improved with the forthcoming firmware refresh, bundled with the Windows Phone 8.1 update.

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2 years ago

Nokia Lumia 625 available at Carphone Warehouse for just £79.95

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2 years ago

Fly reportedly joining the Windows Phone 8.1 ranks in Russia with new baby blue smartphone

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Fly (www.fly-phone.com) is a smartphone company based out of London, who makes a range of phones, smartphones and tablets for various markets including Russia, Ukraine, India, Southern Europe and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States of the former Soviet Union). Those devices are almost always Android based, but with the recent loosening of restrictions around the Windows Phone hardware requirements and reference design, more manufacturers are supporting Windows Phone. Back in March, Microsoft added nine new hardware partners to its roster, and since that time the number has grown.

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2 years ago

Nokia Lumia 635 now available in Italy direct from Microsoft

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One of the convenient changes in Microsoft purchasing the mobile device division from Nokia is the ability for Microsoft to offer phones direct to consumers at a faster clip. The Nokia Lumia 635, the LTE big brother of the single-SIM Lumia 630, is now joining the ranks in Italy where it is priced for € 179 (free shipping included). To sweeten the deal, if you buy the phone before July 14, you can nab a € 25 gift card to the Windows Phone Store for some new apps.

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2 years ago

MobileFit Roundup: Top Rated Windows Phone Diet Apps

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As Fitness Month continues here at Windows Phone Central and all of the Mobile Nations sites, we turn our sites on apps to help with our diet. While exercise is a key element of staying fit, so is what we consume during the day. You defeat the purpose of exercise with poor eating habits.

This week's Fitness App Roundup will concentrate on a collection of top rated Windows Phone apps designed to help you count your calories and monitor what foods you take in during the week. There's also an app that will find you recipes based on the ingredients you prefer while avoiding those you are allergic to.

We'll close things out with a Reader's Poll to let you decide which of these diet apps are tops. If we've missed your favorite app, feel free to sound off below in the comments.

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2 years ago

Lumia 930 availability on Ireland's Meteor pushed back to mid-July

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It looks like Irish customers have to wait a while longer for the Lumia 930, as Ireland's Technology Blog states that the launch of the device has been pushed back by two weeks. Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Nokia's latest flagship device would be making its way to Ireland's Meteor network in addition to Vodafone and O2.

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2 years ago

Enjoy the latest fashion with official Next apps for Windows and Windows Phone

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Popular UK retailer Next has released official apps for Windows and Windows Phone, enabling consumers to enjoy the latest fashion at their fingertips. The main feature of both the apps is to shop while on the move for free, browsing ranges of quality clothes, shoes and homeware from Next. The universal apps themselves fit in nicely with the overall experience of Microsoft's ecosystem.

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2 years ago

Microsoft US cuts pricing of its Surface Pro 2 range of tablets by up to $200

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Microsoft has reduced its pricing for the Surface Pro 2 range of Windows 8 tablets in the US, knocking off $200 on each model. This price alteration follows a similar cut in the UK, where Microsoft slashed the price tags on the tablets by £150. While the move is due to the upcoming Surface Pro 3 launch, the previous generation hardware are still worth picking up when discounted.

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2 years ago

Here's what Microsoft's Cortana was almost called before you changed everything

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In hindsight, Microsoft naming its personal voice assistant after the famous AI character from the Halo game series seems like an obvious choice. The decision was not so easy partially due to an individual studio having initial objections and the usual corporate obstacles potentially thwarting its adoption.

But if not Cortana what would Microsoft have called their feature smart engine for Windows Phone?

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