Apps

While details are scarce, we're getting a lot of reports that the official SkyDrive app for Windows Phone received an update tonight.

Indeed, the app has a version 2.1 stamp on it now, shortly after going to version 2.0 just two weeks ago. We can't see any new features (no batch uploads, etc.) but presumably there are some under the hood fixes on board.

We're not sure if it's new or not but uploading photos directly via this app does preserve photo integrity, which is good news for those with 8 or 16MP cameras. We tried both our Titan II and Lumia 900 and both photos were completely untouched, meaning we're using this as our default photo upload service (more on that tomorrow).

Anyway, if you find any other changes, hit us up in comments as it's late here and our perusing skills are waning by the moment.

Pick up version 2.1 here in the Marketplace. Thanks, everyone, for the tips

QR: SkyDrive

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WP Central

An unofficial UK National Health Service (NHS) app has been released for Windows Phone. The app, in collaboration with NHS Choices, pulls down information and services for users to interact with. Integration with Microsoft HealthVault (see our review of the official app) is present should the user wish to connect to their account and retrieve / store personal details, local services and more.

Using NHS Choices, NHS services can be searched by name, location or by how close they are to your current GPS location. Within each service card are details including address, directions (opens Maps), contact numbers and website if available. Patient ratings are displayed, which can prove useful when choosing a nearby practice, especially with regards to waiting times and how patients rate resident doctors. As well as ratings, key indicators are displayed with how many patients recommend that service coupled with survey results.

Health A-Z uses content from NHS Choices to display condition symptoms and treatments within the app. A large number of conditions are listed, accompanied by detailed information, symptoms, diagnosis, causes and treatments for that specific condition. Using the app bar, users can locate NHS services that are able to treat the selected condition and compare them within the app. 

WP Central

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Online tech superstore Newegg has updated their official Windows Phone app to version 1.1 and added some pretty nice features. One major addition to v1.1 is live tile support.  Newegg "Shell Shocker" deal notifications can now be pushed right to your start screen. The ability to view your order history has also been added, as well as an update to the checkout process.  Version 1.1 also brings some minor bug fixes along with it.

Newegg app updated to v1.1

The official Newegg app sports a handsome, easy to use Metro-style interface and gives you full access to everything they have to offer.  If you are a geek, and you don't know about Newegg, do yourself a favor and check it out pronto!

You can get Newegg's official app here in the Marketplace for free.

QR: Newegg

Thanks for the heads up, Shipwreck!

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Sneak peek: Official WPCentral app v2.2

WPCentral App for Windows Phone

Before you rush to your phone, it's not in the marketplace just yet! However I'm pleased to announce that the official WPCentral app v2.2 has been finalised and was submitted for certification 2 days ago.

So what's new this time around? We've been focusing on three key improvements: user experience, error reporting, and 256mb device compatibility. Most of these changes are a direct result of feedback or suggestions that our amazing community has sent us, so read on to find out exactly what's changed.

 

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fRadio Controlled

Two weeks ago we mentioned how Pandora altered their APIs resulting in all the unofficial Pandora apps for Windows Phone not working. At the time we mentioned that devs should be able to fix the issue with an update to their apps.

Although it's taking a little longer than expected, we're streaming Pandora just fine on Radio Controlled (beta) and we expect the same for the other apps eventually too. The developer of Radio Controlled, Greg Wenograd, let us know about this latest fix:

"This one was a difficult and involved update.  I have a feeling this update will be less impacted by Pandora changes.  If they change anything it will be sooner rather than later and I should be able to get any kinks worked out....If all goes well I will be submitting the final version tomorrow"

So stand by Pandora users as your fix should be coming soon. You can grab Radio Controlled here in the Marketplace and wait for the new, working update to appear in the next few days.

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The Daily Beast gets official for Windows Phone

The Daily Beast for Windows Phone

For those of you who like Tina Brown (and now Newsweek) in mobile form, you'll want to check out the official The Daily Beast app based off of the popular news/opinion site www.thedailybeast.com. From the app description:

The Daily Beast for Windows Phone

"The Daily Beast app is the quickest way to get breaking news from across the Web on your phone. The Daily Beast offers instant summaries of the Web's must-read stories, plus original news reporting, opinion, and photos."

The app itself is laid out very nicely with high contrast and bold graphics, smooth loading and nice transitions. Though it features an ad in the articles themselves (near the bottom) it's not too intrusive.

It also has nice integration with the Windows Phone "sharing" options  including the Social option (Twitter, Facebook, Live, etc.) and a swanky Live Tile that flips to show the latest headline.

Overall, a nice free app and great to see another official app on the Windows Phone. If it sounds good, go pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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WP Central

HTC Locations, the GPS app from the manufacturer, has now got a price tag for the app's navigation services. After introducing offline turn-by-turn navigation to combat Nokia's offering with Lumia Windows Phones, it was seen as a smart move by consumers. Unfortunately, now it seems the manufacturer either has other ideas or simply can't afford to keep the "free" label.

When running the app, users will be greeted with an option to purchase a license for maps, which enable turn-by-turn navigation. The U.S. pricing is $4.99 for 30 days, $19.99 for a year, and $29.99 unlimited. All of North America will cost you $9.99 for the month, $39.99 for 365 days, and $49.99 unlimited. Europe will set you back €49.99 and €39.99 for Eastern Europe.

WP Central

Question being, what do you guys think of this move? 

Source: WinphoneBG; via: WMPU

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Nokia City Lens (Beta): A Closer Look

Nokia City Lens (Beta) for Lumia Windows Phones

Earlier today Nokia Beta Labs released the beta version of City Lens, a local search engine with augmented reality. We took the beta app out for a brief test drive and it's an impressive little app.  City Lens has some really nice features, a simple interface, but we could tell it was still in the beta stages with the augmented reality portion a little shaky on tagging businesses.  

Head on past the break to read our first impressions on City Lens.

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TalkBox is coming

We've mentioned that popular messaging app TalkBox a few times here at WPCentral. The service is not only a way to send messages and photos to your contacts on the go but it also allows you to send those popular voice-clips, you know for those too lazy to type.

That'd be us, actually.

Speaking into your phone and sending the message, especially if you're like us and bathing in AT&T 4G LTE speeds, seems like the next logical step in instant messaging. TalkBox has that service down pat and what's more, it's cross-platform meaning you stand a good chance of your non-Windows Phone friends being able to use the service (it's available on iPhone and Android).

The app went into a public beta a few weeks ago and the developers behind it are putting on the final touches as we speak. Tonight they've released this teaser vid which shows you what to expect.

So should you be excited? Yeah, you should. We've been using it off and on for weeks now (going back to the alpha days) and the app is fast and sharp looking. It's just pretty. Plus it works well.

We'll keep you posted when the app is finally available on the Windows Phone Marketplace for all, which should only be a few weeks at most. Or if you wish, sign up at the TalkBox site to register your interest.

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The Caddie +

Looks like it's a big week for Nokia. First they release the beta for City Lens and now The Caddie + (aka Executive Caddie) is available for download, exclusively for Nokia users. And it too features some augmented reality functionality on board.

We've covered the popular Vertisan app extensively here at WPCentral earlier showing the first screenshots as well as a demonstration of the built-in Augmented Reality function called GolfScope.

The Caddie +

The app is an amazing win for serious golfers out there as it features some really great tools all wrapped up in a souped up, elegant little package:

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Wikitude

With all the hype Nokia devices get especially with their onslaught of custom software, we figured we'd throw a bone to the rest of you who aren't on the Lumia train.

In case you missed it, Nokia launched the beta of City Lens today. A nifty little app that uses the camera, gyroscope, compass, GPS and internet to show you in real-time where shops, coffee houses and restaurants can be found. It's certainly well done but not particularly original (see LG's ScanSearch app from 2011).

But in case you own an HTC or Samsung phone and want to have the same functionality there's a great free option already out there: Wikitude.

Wikitude

Actually, Wikitude does even more than City Lens since it's more robust with search features. It's been around for awhile and is found on competing platforms making it more widely supported. It hooks into Yelp, Twitter, Flickr, Starbucks and more. Heck, their system even has APIs so dev's can integrate Wikitude's services into their own apps.

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Rabobank for Windows Phone

Rabobank, one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, has released a mobile banking app for Windows Phone. Like its counterparts for Android, Blackberry and iOS, the Rabo Banking App lets users take care of their banking needs, be it checking their balance, viewing account history or making transfers, wherever they may be.

Rabobank

In order to use the app, you must already have a Rabobank account and have your Random Reader and debit card handy. You can click here for more information about the Rabo Banking App, or here to download the mobile banking app from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Rabo Banking

Thanks for the tip, Lobbie 1978!

 

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Windows Phone App Review: Star Wars

Star Wars for Windows Phone

If you are a Star Wars fan, here's a Windows Phone app that will make you smile. Star Wars by Jaxified is a collection of sound bites, songs and background images from the complete Star Wars saga.  From Chewbacca's roar to R2D2's beeps to Vader's ugly mug, this app is all about Star Wars.

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Viber for Windows Phone

Viber has finally pulled the sheet off of its long awaited VOIP and messaging app for Windows Phone (and Blackberry too) today, allowing users to download and try out the service for free on their device.

One major caveat though: there is no VOIP phone calls just yet.

According to the press release, the current version only allows Viber Messaging aka "allowing users to exchange text and high-quality photo messages and share locations with other Viber users."  Have no fear though, that VOIP service for making free phone calls is on the way:  "Viber’s signature HD-quality free voice calling, will be released as soon as it meets Viber’s quality standards."

Viber

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WP Central

Readers alerted us to the disappearance of Pinsation, a third-party Windows Phone Pinterest app, from the Marketplace. While it has almost become the norm for apps to mysteriously vanish from public view without explanation, it was odd to see such a well received app disappear when apps with familiar functionality remain.

We contacted the developer of Pinsation, Daniel Gary, for any details surrounding the disappearance and were told something that sounded awfully similar to issues we've covered previously. According to Gary, Pinterest has locked down their API to prevent access from third-party apps on any platform other than iOS.

There problem occurs when you try to login to the service using Facebook or Twitter. In short, you'll receive and authentication error telling that there was an issue logging you in. The app spits you back to browsing the Pinterest site but you are unable to do so logged into an account (we imagine authenticated accounts, done by invite only, may still work).

Gary also mentioned that developers are working together to try and find a solution to this issue. For the time being you may encounter problems when attempting to use Pinterest apps on Windows Phone (or other platforms).

We'll keep you guys up-to-date with any further information we receive / find out.

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A few weeks ago we broke the news that Executive Caddie, the premier and highly rated golfing assistance app for Windows Phone, was getting a makeover and an upgrade for the Nokia Collection. That means that if you own a Lumia 610, 700, 800 or the big 900 you're entitled to a custom version of the app made for your phone for free.

WP Central

At the time we reported on those "exclusive" features for Executive Caddie +:

  • Tournament scoring
  • Real-time leaderboards
  • Group heckling with toast notifications
  • Additional social features
  • Themes to match the Lumias, including Cyan, Magenta, White and Nokia Blue

But the biggy was an augmented reality tool called Golfscope described as

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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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