Windows Phone 8

I can finally recommend Windows Phone

I can finally recommend Windows Phone

It’s taken a while - two major generations and a couple of updates - but Windows Phone finally feels ready to take on Android and iOS with confidence. I’ve always had a soft-spot for the platform, and appreciated its minimalistic UI charms and quiet simplicity, even as I’ve been frustrated by its incomplete feature list and patchy third-party app support. Now, with Windows Phone 8.1, I feel like that quiet enthusiasm can spill over into actively recommending it Microsoft’s OS as a legitimate option.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Review (Developer Preview)

Windows Phone 8.1 Review (Developer Preview)

Windows Phone 8.1 is no point update. In fact, if it wasn’t so keen on keeping in naming step with Windows on the desktop, Microsoft could probably have called its new smartphone OS version something more impressive: what started out as an aim to bring the virtual assistant Cortana and the useful Action Center to the platform blossomed in the process to include a whole flurry of tweaks and additions. Question is, has Windows Phone kept its crisp, clean charms while still gaining abilities? We’ve been in deep with the Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview; read on for our impressions.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Highlights: Hands-on

Windows Phone 8.1 Highlights: Hands-on

Windows Phone 8.1's most memorable feature may be Cortana, its Halo-themed personal digital assistant, but the chatty Siri-rival isn’t the only change Microsoft has brought with the new version. Greater customization potential, better control over settings, and improved integration of Skype and third-party services are all incoming. We spent some hands-on time with Windows Phone 8.1 to find out what's special.

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Nokia Lumia 630 dual-SIM hands-on [Update: 635 too!]

Nokia Lumia 630 dual-SIM hands-on [Update: 635 too!]

Nokia has a track-record with affordable Windows Phones. The new Nokia Lumia 630 - and its Lumia 635 sibling - follow on from the best-selling Lumia 520, only running Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box and thus benefiting from new features like the Cortana virtual assistant. Best of all, unlike many affordable Nokia of old, they're actually headed to the US market. We grabbed some hands-on time post-launch at Build 2014.

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Cortana hands-on: Windows Phone 8.1′s smart assistant

Cortana hands-on: Windows Phone 8.1′s smart assistant

The iPhone has Siri, Android has Google Now, and now Windows Phone has Cortana, Microsoft's new digital assistant for smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1. Launching as a beta when WP8.1 hits devices over the next few months, Cortana blends the speech-first approach of Apple's system with the contextual backbone of Google's, throwing in some location-based cleverness and a little AI snark along the way. We introduced ourselves at Build 2014.

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