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Australia

Good news, Australian Windows Phone users! The official IceTV (icetv.com.au) app has just arrived at the Windows Phone Store. The IceTV TV Guide app lets you see what's on TV for the week ahead, search for shows, set keywords and favorites, create your own personalized TV guide, and much more. You can also enable recording features with a paid subscription.

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Earlier today, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 started trickling for users who are on Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers. As the Windows Phone team at Microsoft shared a few days ago, the latest update brings Cortana to China and UK in beta and to India, Australia, and Canada in India.

This early adopter program for the latter is opt-in, and gives people the option to try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK. Let's see how we can configure it for Windows Phone devices in these regions.

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Cortana heads to UK, China in beta, while India, Canada and Australia get opt-in alpha program

Tonight in Beijing, China, corporate vice president at Microsoft Joe Belfiore announced new Cortana rollout plans for Windows Phone 8.1 users, including a new 'alpha' program to speed up the deployment process. Furthermore, full details about Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 were also released, including early access starting next week.

As expected, China and the UK are now getting access to Cortana on a beta status, with substantial customization done for both countries, especially in China where some significant changes to the UI of Cortana have taken place. Additionally, India, Australia, and Canada are now part of an "early adopter program" where users can "opt-in and…try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK."

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Microsoft's flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 930, is making its way to multiple regions. We're sure you're sick and tired of reading about which countries will be able to purchase the Windows Phone soon, but we have just one more for you, targeting those Down Under. If you simply cannot wait to get one for yourself, Optus will be the first Australian carrier to stock and offer the Lumia 930 on July 11, while both Telstra and Vodafone will follow on the 15th and 16th respectively.

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Both the Nokia Lumia 930 and Lumia 630 have been priced for the Australian market and will be available sometime this month. Pricing for the Lumia 930 will set consumers back by AU$729 as an outright purchase, but can be picked up on all major carriers in the region. The more affordable Lumia 635 will be priced at AU$279 and will be stocked by Telstra and Optus.

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According to a local Windows Phone blogger, those who reside in Australia won't have long to wait for Windows Phone 8.1. In fact, should everything be accurate, Vodafone AU is set to roll out the update later this month with the Nokia Lumia 630 available from this week.

It's worth noting that we expect the Windows Phone 8.1 roll out to start soon enough.

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Microsoft and the government of Queensland, Australia have signed a deal to deploy Office 365 to 149,000 employees. It's a move set to enable the government to remain up-to-date with the latest versions of Office, making it much easier for administrators and employees to manage installations. We've previously looked at Microsoft comparing features in Office Apps to the likes of Google Docs.

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Australia's Commonwealth Bank (CommBank) has released a brand new official app for Windows Phone. The bank hasn't paid much attention to the platform with its sub-par app, but this update is certainly a notable upgrade -  version 2 is essentially a complete rewrite. If you've held off previously, you may wish to slide on past the break to see what's new.

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Although the Nokia Lumia 1520 just launched here in the US, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world can’t have it. This morning, the new massive device has been announced officially for Australia and Malaysia, arriving in the next few weeks. That's on top of general UK availability announced too.

First up is Australia. We first reported over the weekend that the device was headed to retail outlet Harvey Norman and sure enough they’re the exclusive launch partner. Expected to be available in early December, the Lumia 1520 with a 1080P 6-inch display will fetch for AUD$899 and includes a free $20 app voucher for the Windows Phone Store with every purchase until 15 January 2014. That’s a similar promo to what is offered here in the US for the same phone.

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Dell has launched the refreshed XPS 15 Windows 8 laptop in Australia. The laptop may look relatively similar, and so it should as it shares its looks with the Dell M3800. The new XPS 15 starts at $1,799 (AUD) and comes with a 1080p display and 8GB RAM. However, if you wish to go all out with the 3200x1800 QHD+ models, be prepared to part with at least $2,499. It's not a cheap investment.

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