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Windows Phone Weekly Digest: July 5, 2015

There's a lot going on in the world of Windows Phone. So much, in fact, that it is sometimes tough to catch every important story. Device rumors come and go. New apps join the Windows Phone Store, and your favorite app can get a big update with a new look or new features.

Therefore, every week we will compile a list of the Windows Phone news that you just shouldn't miss. Welcome to the "Windows Phone Weekly Digest."

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One of our readers in India, @cliffordanup let us know us that Cortana now includes more categories of interests. Well, I checked, and it's true. At this stage though, I'm not sure when this update sneaked in and which are the specific markets where the new list of categories has been introduced.

The Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 brought Cortana to China and the UK in beta and to India, Australia, and Canada in alpha.

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Every day I get dozens of questions on Twitter, from emails and in comments here on Windows Central. I try to answer as many as I can but for efficacy reasons we had the great idea: Why not turn it into a mini-show for YouTube?

Welcome to 'Ask Dan' our new weekly segment where you give me a question, and I'll do my best to answer it!

Yesterday I asked you folks on Twitter to send in your questions using #AskDanWindows and we'd pick the most interesting and relevant to answer. So here are five of your questions that we picked!

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Over the last few days, bits of information have been leaking out over what may be the next build of Windows 10 Mobile for Insiders. Currently, Microsoft has all their focus on getting the desktop version of Windows 10 ready for the July 29 launch as evident from their three releases this week.

The site msmobile.pl allegedly got their hands on build 10158 of Windows 10 Mobile, up from the current Insider release of 10149. Although the changes are not massive from the posted screenshots, presumably the performance, reliability and battery life are all also better. Here are the items identified as new in 10158.

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AdDuplex is a fantastic resource for the cross-promotion of Windows Phone and Windows apps. Today, AdDuplex has launched a new program designed to help developers promote their apps even further with free access to various tools and resources from AdDuplex.

Additionally, AdDuplex is partnering with Windows Central, myAppFree, AppDeals and PluralSight to provide additional benefits to the top apps every month.

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Last week, Microsoft's "new" mission statement was leaked via an internal email from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The content of that letter was quite vague in terms of specific product names and services, but it did buttress Nadella's emphasis on a "mobile-first, cloud-first" world. The communiqué did mention "productivity services, cloud platform, our device platform and our family of devices" but that is about as precise as it got.

Nonetheless, what everyone in the media focused on was the line about "tough choices". Many in the blogosphere immediately harped on the idea that Nadella was indirectly referring to Windows Phone and its poor market performance. Yesterday, however, we saw two significant announcements by Microsoft (1) A partnership with AOL and Bing web advertising and (2) They are selling some mapping assets to Uber.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile for Insiders saw a substantial update late last week with the release of build 10149. I called it a "turning point" for the nascent OS as this is the first build I would consider for daily use (albeit with some quirks, it is in development after all).

There are four issues that are affecting some users and as usual, our forums tend to have the right answers. Let's take a look!

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Back at Mobile World Congress when Microsoft announced the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, along for the ride was a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal. That offer was never going to last forever and this is a friendly reminder that time is almost up in the UK.

If you don't buy a phone by the time June 30 is done, you can't get the freebie.

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The latest incarnation of Windows Camera on the Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview has with it a nifty addition for the selfie aficionado. It will now recognize your face when using the front facing camera.

The stock Lumia Camera app in Windows Phone 8.1 doesn't do this but when you fire it up in Windows Camera you'll see a big yellow box outlining your mug.

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Windows Phone Weekly Digest: June 28, 2015

There's a lot going on in the world of Windows Phone. So much, in fact, that it is sometimes tough to catch every important story. Device rumors come and go. New apps join the Windows Phone Store, and your favorite app can get a big update with a new look or new features.

Therefore, every week we will compile a list of the Windows Phone news that you just shouldn't miss. Welcome to the "Windows Phone Weekly Digest."

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Late on Thursday, Microsoft surprised Insiders with another release of Windows 10 Mobile, build 10149. This update comes after just one week from the last one, demonstrating their rapid ability to iterate on builds.

The bigger story here though is the quality of this build. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me singing the praises of this release. For the first time, Windows 10 Mobile feels like it has left that 'alpha' stage and is now a true beta. Sure there are quirks here and there but many of the core features are working and working well. Even better is the speed and responsiveness of the OS, which at times now feels faster than Windows Phone 8.1.

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Another highly requested feature looks like it could be coming to Windows 10 Mobile: Call Recording. For a long time, users have wanted the ability to record both conversations of a call but due to some hardware and software constraints it was not possible on Windows Phone 8.1.

In the last build of Windows 10 Mobile 10149, it was noticed that in the File Explorer app there is a new, default folder called Recorded Calls. The folder is found on the main device and listed along with Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Ringtones, and Videos.

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Last week, the Music app for Windows 10 desktop picked up an update. With it came the 'artists in circles' feature where images of bands shifted from the square design to a circle-based one. The change was first spotted back in May and it is now becoming a reality.For some, the move is unwelcome, but Microsoft has taken a strong line on this consistent approach in Windows 10: people will have circular images, 'things' get squares.

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The June numbers are out from AdDuplex, one of the largest advertising platforms for Windows Phone and developers. The figures are gathered from apps running on Windows Phone and are used to measure market share within the Windows Phone ecosystem.

Because there are fewer new phones hitting the market, there is even less movement this month over last. Instead, we see the continued trends of the Lumia 63x and Lumia 535 growing in many regions, including in the US, France, Italy, and Poland. However, these are modest shifts mostly at the cost of declining Lumia 520 users.

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If you are using Windows 10 Mobile build 10149 through the Insider program, there are plenty of improvements around. We have a hands-on video coming up this afternoon including whether or not you should install. For now, we want to highlight this new and exciting feature: private notifications.

Starting with build 10149 you can now optionally choose to hide the details of your notifications on your Lock Screen. For example, you can enable this option for text messages. Assuming your phone is PIN protected, when a user swipes down to the Notification Center all they see is 'Messaging' but the details will say 'Private.' Once the phone is unlocked, however, this now displays the message to the appropriate user.

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Despite last week's release it appears Microsoft is upping its game for Windows 10 Mobile. Today, build 10149 is now live for those on the Insider program enrolled in the Fast Ring.

Once again, this build is missing the 'post-upgrade migration' status, so you need to sit tight after the update for that to take place. Otherwise, here is the big list of what is new and improved!

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