Apps

Snotify

It's been awhile since we've seen some solid homebrew pop out from developers so it's with great interest for us to find Snotify version 1.0 floating around.

Billed as an "application that silences notification sounds based on a schedule" the concept should be very familiar to anyone who used the fabulous Windows Mobile app PhoneAlarm or PhoneWeaver. Anyone else just have a technology flashback?

In short, the app allows you to schedule your email and test/IM notification sounds so they won't disturb you in the middle of the night. For instance, you could have email on "silent" from 10pm to 6am or have SMS only with sound--your choice.

The free tool made by JMD Software needs to be "sideloaded" on to a fully interop unlocked phone meaning a lot of folks including developers won't be able to use it. That's a bummer but it's still a fascinating contribution to the homebrew scene.

Of course we know what many of you are thinking and even more of you will comment on -- why didn't Microsoft just include this in the OS? It's a good question as we'd kill to have this built into our Lumia 900 or Titan II, but alas even we have to sit this one out as our phones aren't capable of being fully unlocked just yet.

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WP Central

A Russian Windows Phone community has published some details regarding upcoming updates for both Nokia Drive and Transport. The manufacturer has been praised by Lumia smartphone owners for the inventory of apps available in the Nokia Collection. So what's new in version 3 of Nokia Drive?

  • The application "learns" based on the style of driving by
  • Time travel and the density of traffic movements are tracked in real time, displaying information on the "live" tile
  • Automatic determination of time of day, with the change of color scheme cards
  • Manual adjustment of routes
  • Off-line favourite lists with the possibility of fixing tiles on the desktop.

As for version 2 of Nokia Transport, which is dedicated to public transportation (including bus and train schedules for more than 500 cities):

  • Search for public transport user's location with respect to
  • Displaying a nearby transportation: buses, trains, trams, subways, taxis, marked stops
  • Show the route with transfers
  • Support Schedule in 87 countries around the world
  • Support for fast access to Favourites
  • Advanced Search
  • Saving query history
  • Change the query without a new route
  • Faster search and installation of the route
  • Optimised application performance

Unfortunately no dates have been revealed as to when the updates will be released.

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glƏƏk! for Windows Phone updated to version 1.5

WP Central

The popular (and rather unique) Twitter client for Windows Phone glƏƏk! (see our review) has been recently updated to version 1.5, which introduces a number of new features. The functionality that's included in this update includes user colour coding, which will please those who are arriving from other platforms and are heavy Twitter users. When browsing through tweets, users can now add colours to specific accounts they're following.  

That's not all as the developer has bundled a number of extras into the app, including custom ringtones. Ringtones for Carbon, glƏƏk!, Meadow and Rowi can be found in the extras section. Adjusting the font size is now available, and finally a number of performance improvements have been applied. Not a bad update, right?

As well as the above features, there is a public service announcement the developer asked us to publish. An issue has been located and subsequently fixed, but the update containing this solution is not going to be live for another handful of days. Should you encounter this issue, we ask that you simply ignore it for now until the patch is rolled out. The problem is when users attempt to save their accounts / settings while their Windows Phone is configured for a region that uses commas (",") for numerical separation / decimal marks.

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WP Central

MegaTile is a Windows Phone app by Linknode that enables users to customise their home screen with personalised live tiles. The app allows the user to create live tile grids using a single photo that can then be configured for action calling. Supported grids are 1x2, 2x2, 2x3 or 2x4 with multiple sets of images and each tile with its own function. 

MegaTile is perfect for those who wish to add more style to their home screen in favour of vanilla tiles (messaging, calls, etc.), while adding more convenient access to WiFi settings, aeroplane mode, and more. Pictures used for the live tiles can be centered, cropped or stretched to fit accordingly, and are selected from the on-device library.

WP Central

What actions are available to choose from? Over 15, including the usual wireless setting shortcuts found in other apps. But MegaTile goes further by offering actions to make a call, call a contact, individual or group SMS, take a photo, post a Social Network update, launch a browser, or even start a search. Should the user get carried away with updating multiple tiles within the app and forget to re-pin them to the home screen, MegaTile will show a small alert icon next to the tile that is reportedly out-of-date.

Once "MegaTiles" are created, they're persistent old chaps between app updates, ensuring customisation and time spent getting everything perfect are not lost in the process. Unfortunately, the "launch any app" feature that is frequently requested is protected by Microsoft in Windows Phone, but with developers making good use of live tiles for their own individual apps, this shouldn't prove to be much of a problem.

Check out the below video for a quick demonstration of the app in action.

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Amazon

One of the top apps for Windows Phone which we always enjoy seeing updates for is Amazon Mobile. The official app for Amazon.com has been a staple on Windows Phone since its initial release. And much like the eBay app, it gets better and better with each update.

Version 1.7 just went live in the Windows Phone Marketplace and it while it's not a major overhaul, we like the select changes in this update which include:

  • Sharing: Send and share links to products you find on Amazon via e-mail, SMS, Facebook or Twitter.
  • Recommendations: Manage your recommendations by tapping “I own it” or “Not interested”
  • We hate bugs as much as you do (so we fixed a bunch)

The social-sharing part is obviously the big seller here and we approve of its addition, after all it's always fun to share your latest purchases via your Twitter or Facebook, right?

If you haven't received the update just yet, hit this link to grab the free app in the Marketplace. So go forth you guilty, late night 1-click shoppers with your Prime accounts and go shopping!

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WP Central

We previously looked at the official SnapCrowd app heading to Windows Phone, with a planned March release. We're now happy to announce that the app is finally available on the Marketplace and has been since April 10th. The digital media sharing service enables users to upload, view and stream media and even add subusers to the account. Sporting robust security, including SSL / TLS and HTTPS protocol layers, SnapCrowd also keeps data relatively secure. 

The service supports video, music, contacts, photos, contacts and documents. As mentioned above, streaming is a feature that can be used for digital media, including videos. An interesting part of the service itself is the subuser functionality, allowing other users to connect and stream media and files under one account with a single paid plan.

WP Central

There are three plans that are fairly affordable compared to competitors, a free option boasts 10GB of storage (for a limited time) with one subuser, then the price goes up to $59 for 50GB of storage and finally $99 for 100GB of storage with increased subusers.

Check out the quick video below for more information.

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Ask WPCentral: Any PayPal apps out there?

HelpPayMe for Windows Phone

Are there any PayPal apps for your Windows Phone? One reader sent us this question and we took a look over at the Windows Phone Marketplace for the answer. There are two apps currently available that have PayPal connections, HelpPayMe and PayPhone Lite.

HelpPayMe

HelpPayMe allows you to send money, request money, view transactions and view your current PayPal balance.

PayPhone Lite

PayPhone Lite is similar with the ability to view your balance and transactions history but also throws in a Live Tile to show the balance and a PIN to secure the app.

Here's our reservations. Neither of these apps are official PayPal apps and you are basically allowing a third party access to your PayPal Account. With PayPHone Lite you log into your account and grant the app permission to access your account. With HelpPayMe, you have to set up API access with PayPal. While we haven't heard of anything nefarious occurring with either app, we'd prefer an app that provides a more secure, direct access to PayPal.

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Windows Phone App Review: Fantasia Painter

Fantasia Painter for Windows Phone

The other day we shared a list of the best photography apps for your Windows Phone. We knew that there were other worthy photo apps out there and one such app that was mentioned prominently in the comments was Fantasia Painter.

On the one hand the Fantasia Painter is a photo editing app. On the other hand Fantasia Painter is a creative suite to give your photos a serious splash of color.  On top of all that, if painting is more your cup of tea Fantasia Painter can handle that as well.

It's really hard to tell how many editing tools Fantasia Painter has (the Marketplace description says 45+ but that feels a little low) but it ranks amongst the top photography Windows Phone apps on the amount of control you have over editing your pictures.  Fantasia Painter is an impressive photography app for your Windows Phone and it can be a little intimidating.  Once you get the hang of the controls and all the editing possibilities, Fantasia Painter can really make your photos shine.

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ESPN app

Although Nokia's ESPN app available in the Nokia Collection gets some mixed reviews partially because it relies on Internet Explorer for some advanced stats, overall fans seem to like the co-branded offering.

One feature that was missing however was a Live Tile for sports score updates and now that has been addressed with version 2.1. The new update came out in the last 24-hours and users seem to be quite happy so far with the ability to just glance-and-go with the app on their Start screen.

No other tweaks or fixes are known with version 2.1 but needless to say, if you follow sports, like ESPN and love your Lumia than you'll want to grab this app ASAP. Pick it up here in the Windows Phone Marketplace but only if you're on Nokia.

Read our review of the Nokia ESPN app here.

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HTC Sound Enhancer for Windows Phone

HTC has pushed out an update for their Windows Phone Sound Enhancer. While no change log is available to let us know what all the update accomplishes, it appears to improve the graphics lag.

The graphics lag appears when the SRS Enhancements are turned on in the Sound Enhancer and can be a little on the annoying side. The graphics lag wasn't present in every app, mainly the games that had greater graphics animations (e.g. Fruit Ninja, Line Birds, etc.).  We've never received official confirmation that the two are related but after applying the recent update, the lag doesn't appear to be present.

The Sound Enhancer has been updated several times and with each update, the graphics lag issue seems to get a little better. Maybe this update did the trick.

For those who have installed the update, see any changes?

Thanks, Yodani, for the tip!

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Skype gets an update for the app and network

Skype for Windows Phone

First the Windows Phone news on Skype. The app has been updated to version 1.1.0. It is our understanding the updated is mostly "under the hood" stuff to improve performance and fix some bugs. If you haven't seen the update being pushed out, as is the case in my area, hopefully you'll see it soon.

The other news on Skype is that it appears the Skype network has received a slight overhaul. Microsoft is replacing some peer to peer client machines with Linux boxes to provide a more stable and secure network. These supernodes will handle a significantly larger traffic load.

According to Microsoft the network improvements are a part of their ongoing commitment to improve the Skype user experience.

This has not changed the underlying nature of Skype’s peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture, in which supernodes simply allow users to find one another (calls do not pass through supernodes). We believe this approach has immediate performance, scalability and availability benefits for the hundreds of millions of users that make up the Skype community.

It's nice to see Microsoft invest in Skype's infrastructure. If you haven't downloaded Skype for your Windows Phone, it is a free app that you can grab here at the Marketplace.

Source: ARS Technica; Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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Windows Phone App Review: SuperTimer

Supertimer for Windows Phone

Here's a nice timer app for your Windows Phone, Supertimer. Supertimer is a combination timer and stopwatch that takes advantage of the Windows Phone panoramic layout and metro style with up to four live tiles.  Supertimer has potential but there are still some hurdles to overcome with stability and the live tiles, while a nice touch, may not be living up to their potential.

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Seriously?

We get a lot of tips here at WPCentral, some amazing, some lame and some that confuse us as we actually don't know every silly app ever made (which is why we pay attention to you guys). So tonight when we got an email from a reader named Amiel stating "Talking Tom Cat finally made it to WP7" we were a little perplexed.

Fact is, we still are but yes, Talking Tom Cat is now on Windows Phone. What is Talking Tom Cat? It's one of those silly novelty apps that features a cartoon cat that you can pet, poke, prod and harass. Oh and he repeats everything you say back to him. In a funny voice.

With 150,000 ratings in the iTunes store and nearly 400,000 ratings on Android (seriously?) there is something about Tom that people just love. Or maybe it's the kids.

Either way, the app is now available on the Windows Phone Marketplace for the low, low price of $0. It's not our thing but hey, we're not here to judge so if you want it, you can pick it up here. Combined with the official Cleverbot app we guess Windows Phone is winning? Thanks, Amiel, for the tip!

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Windows Phone App Review: iClone

iClone for Windows Phone

The iClone app for your Windows Phone is an interesting novelty app. iClone pulls up a fake iPhone interface on your Windows Phone that doesn't look bad and has a little functionality to help sell things.

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Ask Ziggy

While we don't have Siri (and Woz misses it) we do have Ask Ziggy which is getting closer and closer to Apple's AI. Some of the last few updates were interesting for Ziggy but the one for today comes across as stabilizing in addition to adding a few new features:

  • Live Calendar integration
  • Fixed annoying pop-ups ("query canceled", etc...)
  • New toggle to add/remove secondary Reminders tile
  • Yelp integration local and remote with multiple tappable areas on results
  • Improved splash screen animation
  • Fixed greeting issue + mic states
  • Improved overall performance
  • Search Tweets by topic "Tweets for NFL Combine"

We've been throwing lots of questions at it and the results seem more accurate (and quicker too) than in previous versions.  The Live Calendar integration looks to be a huge bonus for many of you who need to make appointments and the search Tweets feature is certainly a new twist.  Using Yelp for search results should also help you find that local bar or coffee shop too.

Overall, we're impressed with the update and seeing as the app is still free (and ad free) we so no reason for you to not try it. And if you have tried it in the past, you may want to re-download it and give version 2.3 a spin.

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Amazing Weather v3

In the race for the coolest weather app for Windows Phone, you're the winner. Which is why we love to bring the news of app updates in this area for Windows Phone, since so many of you have your favorites and lets be honest, everyone needs a weather app.

We reported earlier that Amazing Weather (review) was going to get some major new themes in version 3.0 and sure enough, that update has just gone live in the Marketplace. Here are the changes:

  • 3 beautiful themes
  • 3 distinct live tiles
  • weather alerts
  • offline mode
  • auto location using GPS
  • 5 different cities,
  • refined UI with charts
  • support for new languages

The auto-location using GPS is great as you can pin that tile to your Start screen and it auto-updates your location when the weather is refreshed -- perfect for those of you on the go.  The new themes are great and a clear shot at Weather Flow (who went after the "realistic weather" model that Amazing Weather had originally brought).

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Editor's Choice: remembeReel for Windows Phone

If you listened to this week's podcast, you may have heard me mention my new favorite app, remembeReel for Windows Phone.

I'm a big fan of movies and tend to watch between 3-5 a week, even while working two jobs. One of my problems though is remembering all the things I've watched, especially since I often take forays into international, independent and odd little motion pictures, hence my need for this app. (By the way, check out a film called 'PontyPool' on Netflix, really interesting). remembeReel is free, has no ads is fast and fluid and well thought out.

remembeReel simply allows you to type in the movie you're watching (or watched), it checks it against Rotten Tomatoes (site) and pulls down the info for you. With one tap, you save it to your list. A few more taps and you can add it to your 'favorites', add notes, punch in the date and share it via Twitter, Facebook, Live, etc. Not only can you share it but it'll provide the URL for the listing on Rotten Tomatoes so others can quickly read-up on what you've just watched. Brilliant. You can also sort by title or date-viewed which is convenient.

remembeReel

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Take me to your leader!

We're not huge fans of Cleverbot aka the witty artificial intelligence program out there that engages in a back and forth conversation (www.cleverbot.com), but we do recognize that a lot of people are fascinated by the technology.

Luckily you can now bring the fiendish AI bot with you on your Windows Phone. Yes, the official Cleverbot app for Windows Phone is now in the Marketplace and fetches for $0.99 with no trial.

That's a shame about no trial but the app is well done. It has some neat little sound effects, allows you to share your conversations to Facebook, Live, Twitter and even email. That's a requirement because sharing those conversations with the 'bot is one of the favorite pastimes for folks on the inets these days. From the app description:

"Talk to an app with Actual Intelligence! Say anything you like and it will reply. Make a friend! Roleplay, lyrics, jokes, memes - all sorts!

Cleverbot is Artificial Intelligence. It learns what people say, in context, and imitates.

Cleverbot says many things - claiming to be human, role-playing and much more. It may even say things you find inappropriate. Use with discretion and at your own risk.

Cleverbot is conversational entertainment - no more, no less. It is not made to be logical, give advice, or be useful. Parents must decide whether they wish young people to have access. Be sure of this, however: it is a bot. It is software. You will never talk to a human."

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Windows Phone App Review: Next Browser

Next Browser for Windows Phone

If you're looking for an alternative to Internet Explorer you may want to take a look at Next Browser. It is a fast, feature rich alternative that makes a nice first impression. But does that first impression fade any?  For the most part, no.  But there is one thing that holds a very nice browser back.

Oh... if Next Browser is something that looks appealing, it's on sale through the end of the day for $.99 (regular price is two bucks). 

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Best Photography Apps for your Windows Phone

Best Windows Phone Photography Apps from WPCentral

Best Photo Apps for your Windows Phone

We've taken a look at the best free apps, the must have games, the must have apps and the best weather apps for your Windows Phone. We now turn our attention to the best photography apps for your Windows Phone.

Now that you have some insight on how your Windows Phone camera works, these apps will help you edit and add a creative touch to your photographs. Some of these apps will even have an in-house camera function to keep everything under one roof.

As with all our "best of" lists, this list contains the apps that stand out in our opinions. If we've missed an app that you think should be included, please sound off in the comments.

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Crunchyroll for Windows Phone

Good news for you diehard anime fans, your official Crunchyroll app (www.crunchyroll.com) has arrived for Windows Phone and word from the ratings is it's damn fine. In fact, one comment has it pegged as better than the iPhone and Android version.

From the app description, sounds like it has everything you could want:

"Download the app to watch the latest anime from Japan in English and legally! Now you can watch new episodes 1 hour after airing in Japan on your Windows Phone device!

Watch the latest anime shows like Naruto Shippuden, Bleach, Shugo Chara!, Blue Exorcist, Gintama, The World God Only Knows, Bodacious Space Pirates, Nisemonogatari, Eyeshield 21, Skip Beat!, Beelzebub, Gosick, and more."

Crunchroll

Only downside? You have to have a premium account to even launch into it the app, making this no good unless like we said, you're a diehard fan. But if you are, it seems like you can't go wrong with this app. If this is something you want, head here to the Marketplace and pick 'er up. Thanks, Avid R., for the tip

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Palringo going solo and dropping 3rd party IM services

Palringo

Due to feedback on how users are actually taking advantage of their app, chat app Palringo is retiring support for 3rd party IM services like MSN, AIM, Google Talk and more. The company sent out a notification to users just a little while ago directing them to the website to read the full announcement:

"Further in our move to focus on the features our users love - our community of groups - we have decided to pull support for 3rd party instant messaging services. We've noticed that the vast majority of you no longer use this feature and instead prefer to invite your existing friends to signup to Palringo, which is now easier than ever."

That's obviously bad news for those who used the app only to connect to other networks but it sounds like the Palringo team were spreading themselves thin trying to support everybody. In addition, with competition like IM+ out on the market, it seems like Palringo would rather focus on their own IM service.

For those who haven't tried it, Palringo is currently in open-beta on the Windows Phone Marketplace since February and is now at version 0.7. Palringo has been around for years and has quite the fan base built up, including many from the Windows Mobile heyday. The service is unique in allowing users to create chat rooms and send voice clips

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Viddy

While we're still waiting on Instagram to show up on Windows Phone (it hasn't even started development yet) another popular niche app may be heading to our Metro devices sooner than later.

VIddy, available on iOS and Android soon, has been called by many to be the "Instagram of video" allowing users to apply filters to their 15-second video clips, giving them an artsy feel. In addition, videos are featured on the site's feed which are then viewable within the app and videos can be uploaded and shared to Facebook.

What's interesting though is if you go to Viddy's site page (http://viddy.com/) next to the Apple and Android links we see a clear Windows flag, strongly indicating a Windows Phone client is just around the corner. Seeing as Viddy is strictly a video-making app for mobile devices, we don't see this as a Windows 8 move either.

We've reached out to the company for comment but so far have not heard back from them. If Viddy is coming to Windows Phone (and we believe it is) that's a strong vote of confidence for the OS and will be one more feather in its cap.

Thanks, Amir, for the tip

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Baconit

For those of you who use Reddit.com, the social news aggregation site, you may have heard us pimping the Windows Phone client Baconit in the past. It's one of a few clients available for Windows Phone and while the others are certainly solid we've been fond of this one partly due to the frequency of updates.

A mere four months after its premier we're getting v2.0 with new options, aspects of it re-written for optimization and other new tweaks. Here are the main changes:

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