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We go hands on with AT&T's latest Windows Phone, the ATIV S Neo

This past weekend, AT&T released the Samsung ATIV S Neo, their first Windows Phone 8 Samsung device. Released earlier this year on Sprint, the ATIV S Neo is a version 1.1 of the original ATIV S—more slight refinements than an overhaul.

Samsung was once again not interested in promoting their device so we had to go out and buy the phone ourselves, instead of a standard review unit. The phone runs for $99 on contract or $420 off and while many Lumia fans won’t find much to gawk over, the phone is a solid entry into the Windows Phone category.

We’ll be following up with a full review in a bit, but here are our quick impressions of the latest Windows Phone 8 device for AT&T. Check out our video tour and high resolution photos after the break!

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While the spotlight is shining brightly on the news that the Nokia Lumia 1520 is available for pre-order, another Windows Phone has snuck in under the radar at AT&T.  The Samsung ATIV S Neo.

The ATIV S Neo sports a 4.77" HD display, 16GB of internal storage, expandable memory (microSD card), 1.4Ghz dual core processor with Adreno 305 GPU and a 8MP rear camera.

The ATIV S Neo will cost you $99.99 after contractual discounts or $419.99 off contract. The Neo is also available on the AT&T Next program for $21.00 per month for twenty months.

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The Samsung ATIV S Neo will be launching on AT&T on November 8th. Announced today, the Samsung Windows Phone will be available for $99.99 when taken out with a two-year contract. Already available over on Sprint, you'll soon be able to pick the first Samsung Windows Phone 8 device on AT&T. What's more is this device will enable you to take full advantage of LTE.

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Have you looked at your Samsung ATIV S and thought what it would be like if you could have a third column of Live tiles? We'll be getting more room for Live Tiles with the 1080p hardware that will arrive alongside GDR3, but if you own the Samsung Windows Phone 8 device (interop-unlocked), you'll be able to add more tiles to your Start screen with some handy homebrew tools.

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The Samsung ATIV S Windows Phone 8 smartphone is favoured among many, including ourselves. We rated the handset highly in our in-depth review and rightly so - it's a top notch device. If you've been wanting to hop on the custom ROM path with the ATIV S, now's your opportunity with a new solution released over on XDA Developers.

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Samsung continues to prove it's behind the platform by releasing app updates. The latest batch are for a selection of creative apps on the Samsung Zone. Artistic Effects, Color Effects and Fun Shot have each been bumped to a new version. So what's new? Unfortunately, we're not entirely sure, but we would love to see all three combined into a killer app (hint hint, Samsung).

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Just because Nokia owns about 80% of the OEM market for Windows Phone, that doesn’t mean other manufacturers can't get in on the action. There’s a Samsung device coming up around the corner called the SGH-i187, which recently spent some time at the FCC here in the United States. Now, that’s not the same consumers are going to call it, but instead they might refer to it as the Cronus.

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Latest market share numbers from Russia's largest retailer puts Nokia ahead of Samsung

There’s nothing but positive results for Nokia and Windows Phone lately. Today, we’re continuing the momentum with news from Russia where Nokia has surpassed Samsung for market share. The story was first published in Vedomosti, Russia’s premier business paper

The data itself comes from Russia’s largest mobile retailer, Euroset, who have more than 5,000 stores across the vast country. Their latest report puts Nokia at 29% of the mobile market in Russia this summer, up from 27% in the spring. Samsung meanwhile has dropped to 27% from a previous 30% just a few months ago. That bump gives Nokia back the edge since Samsung beat them earlier this year (the two often go back and forth in terms of market share in the country).

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In the United States there is one carrier that seems to get more Windows Phone devices than the others. And that’s because they do. AT&T has had more Windows Phone devices in the past three years that T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint. They’re rumored to be getting the upcoming Nokia Lumia 1520, but they might have another device on the horizon. But this one doesn’t come from Nokia, it comes from Samsung.

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Samsung has released two updates for its apps located in the Samsung Zone section of the Windows Phone store. Mini Diary and Photo Editor have both been bumped to new versions, though we're not entirely sure what's new. It's good to see the OEM continuing to support its Windows Phone customers with further updates, even with the Microsoft and Nokia deal in the air.

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Ben Thompson of stratēchery joins Rene to talk about Microsoft in a post-Ballmer mobile market, the IBM analogy, whether they need to be more like Apple, and why Google and Samsung were so damn smart. Also: Nokia sale!

Note: This was originally supposed to be next week's episode of Vector, but due to Microsoft buying Nokia, we decided to fast-track. (It's especially interesting given Thompson, until recently, worked at Microsoft on the Windows 8 apps team, and previously interned at Apple on the Apple University project.)

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The Samsung ATIV S is a premium smartphone running Windows Phone, but it's currently on sale at Expansys UK. Available for just £199, this is an absolute bargain for anyone who's looking for a new Windows Phone. It's the perfect time to get cracking with Samsung too as the manufacturer has started releasing regular updates for exclusive apps, as well as releasing new solutions.

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