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backgrounds

With the release of Windows Phone 8.1, under the Preview for Developers program, we have seen a number of apps surface in the Windows Phone Store focused on creating custom Start Screen backgrounds. Each app seems to follow the same pattern of having a simple interface and plenty of creative styles.

Theme+ is one of the more recent additions to this genre of apps and falls in line with those that have come before. Theme+ has a simple interface that allows you to create custom designs that can add a dash of color to your Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen.

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As we reported earlier, the leaks for Windows Phone 8.1 are coming in at a steady pace now. Following up on this morning’s video that showed off the new OS is one focusing on the new Start screen options.

Not much has happened with the Start screen since Windows Phone 8 was announced, but with 8.1 users will have at least two new features to help customize and personalize their phones: Start background and Show more Tiles.

As revealed in this admittedly poorly shot video, users can choose from a pre-selection of background images for their Start screens. Alternatively, users can select photos from their Facebook, OneDrive, or camera roll as well. Perhaps the neat thing is the parallax movement when the user scrolls, giving the Tiles a true “windows” feel to them, much like looking outside a window pane.

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WhatsApp is in many ways the go-to messaging app for many these days. Even more so after its momentous purchase by Facebook, who released their own highly-acclaimed messaging app this week.  

We’ve been covering the beta recently, showing you what’s in store for the upcoming public release. Since our last coverage, there have been a few updates, including one just this morning bringing it to build 390.

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More information from the Windows Phone 8.1 beta SDK leak hint at some forthcoming features for the OS update, due to be announced in April. The info comes from LiveSino, who found references to numerous unannounced references to features in the SDK, hinting that such customizations may be in the final build for customers.

The idea of giving customers more options to customize their Windows Phone has been a hot topic for customers for years. Currently on the Start screen, users are only allowed to select from a pre-selected range of hues, with no backgrounds, leading some to call the OS ‘boring’.

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Imagefusion is an interesting app, enabling you to create images for the lock screen background from local libraries. If you've used media players in the past where a collage of images are displayed from multiple artist albums, this is the same affect but with images you choose. The end result can be quite something and best of all: it's free and really simple to use.

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Nokia ran a poll on its blog last week, asking consumers which of the different lock screen features they valued most. Whether it's the notifications, the background images or locking the Windows Phone with a passcode, visitors had the selection of three to choose from. The team has now published the results, which aren't entirely surprising.

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