Apps

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MyThings (Lite) - App Spotlight

Ahead Solutions is offering MyThings Lite over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. MyThings is a task manager designed to help simplify your everyday life. From the developer's description MyThings has been "developed to help you store, remember, share, localize and do your personal and professional tasks easily and with pleasure."

You can also create a MyThings account to store/sync/backup your tasks online. Additional features of MyThings Lite include:

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Simple Paper - App Spotlight

Looking for a simple, note taking/reminder app for your Windows Phone? Simple Paper is a post-it style app that is capable of synchronizing your notes with SimpleNote. The application user interface is simple and straight forward. Tap the "+" sign to create a note and when done, a colorful post-it will appear on the main page of the app.

Synchronization with SimpleNote gives you the ability to create and view your notes from the PC or have someone else send your a note. For example if your out and about, your wife needs to send you an emergency grocery list, problem solved. Need to jot down product information while your shopping to review later, problem solved.

The only thing that Simple Paper is lacking is a live tile that highlights any reminders or notes you've created. Regardless, if you like multi-colored post-it notes, Simple Paper might be worth a gander. There is a free, ad-supported version of Simple Paper that you can find here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. Not a fan of ads? An ad-free version will run you $1.99 and you can find that copy here at the Marketplace.

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Opera Link for WP7 - App Spotlight

Looking for a way to import your Opera desktop browser favorites to your Windows Phone? Look no further, Opera Link for WP7 is an app that will pull your Opera desktop favorites on to your Windows Phone for Internet Explorer to use. Opera Link won't import the bookmarks into IE but acts as a middle man of sorts.  From Opera Link, just tap on the link and IE launches.

The process is quick and painless to set up. From the Tools Menu on the Opera desktop browser, you set up an Opera Link account (Tools>Synchronize Opera>My Opera Link Page). You'll use this account information when you load the Opera Link for WP7 on your Windows Phone.  The app will then sync your Opera bookmarks, notes and speed dials.

Should you be using a mobile device that runs Opera Mobile or Mini, the Opera Link will keep all your devices in sync as well. Opera Link for WP7 is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

via: devicemag

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Admittedly, we here at WPCentral don't ride-share to our blogging job, nor to our "real" job (though we use a motorcycle when we can, aww yeah). But we do recognize the importance and convenience ride-sharing can bring to you daily commuters and leveraging technology to aid that is always a good thing.

Enter Avego Drive, an app to make it easy to oranize a ride-share in real time. From the app description, they begin with one of the oddest selling points and explain what the app does:

"With Avego Driver, you can turn your car into a bus! Avego will offer your empty seats to other people along your route in real time. Avego automatically shares the cost of the journey between the driver and the rider, saving everyone time and money!"

The app is cross-platform, having been on the iPhone since 2008 (so you won't be reliant on just WP7 users) and works globally. However, it was originally designed/intended for those in Seattle, especially those near a certain Redmond campus:

"...the app was built specifically to support the Seattle-area's go520 real-time ride-sharing project. Crucial to the success of go520 is the involvement of Microsoft's approximately 40,000 employees in the Puget Sound region, the majority of whom have Windows Phone, and many of whom commute along the heavily-congested SR 520 corridor."

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Samsung as an odd habit in their Marketplace aka the 'Samsung Zone': they tend to release things and then pull them, no reason given and then sometimes, they return.

Such was the case with Diodict (see review) awhile back, which was a pretty robust off-line dictionary app for any Samsung Windows Phone. About a month after our review, the app was suddenly yanked from the Marketplace without explanation and it has yet to return. Flash forward to today and at least in the U.K., some other offerings from Diodict appear to be listed, for free, specifically six Collins dictionaries:

  • English
  • Portuguese-English
  • Italian-English
  • French-English
  • Spanish-English
  • German-English

The apps are not yet listed in the Samsung Zone and that usually happens right when it something goes live to the Marketplace (it takes a few days for it to work over to the OEM app stores), so you'll have to search for 'Diodict' on your phone to find 'em. Now, when we tried this on our phone in the U.S., we found the dictionaries but they are all going for $22.99 or higher. However, reader Steve aka 'Tahiti Bob' supplied us with the above photos showing at least in his part of the world, there are two listings for the apps and clearly some are co-listed as Samsung Electronics and are completely free.

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GPS Voice Navigation scheduled for major update

GPS Voice Navigation, one of the few voice navigation apps for your Windows Phone, is slated for a hefty update. Developers tell us that they have submitted v2 to Microsoft for certification. If all goes well, the updated version should be available in a few days and will improve upon or add to GPS Voice Navigation in the following manner.

  • Added multilanguage support for both UI and routing for all currently supported WP languages (EN, FR, DE, IT, SP)
  • Significantly improved voice guidance behavior on the road including small features such as roundabout support, composite directions such as Turn left then turn right, timing, etc
  • Improved numerous layout features including better landscape view, smoother animations, more stable behavior of the map
  • Improved searching and favorite destinations functionality
  • Significantly improved map loading performance
  • Addressed a common issue with not being able to find a route in situations when the GPS is not ready yet, or there is an internet connection issue
  • Improved overall stability of the app.

The developer shares that many of the tweaks and improvements are based on user reviews and responding to user feedback. We have been working on a voice navigation round up with GPS Voice Navigation, Turn by Turn Navigation and aSPass. In using v1 of GPS Voice Navigation, we found it to be a very good voice navigation app but with a few glitches. Glitches that should be addressed with v2 and we'll update the round-up before it goes to print.

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PlusPoints - App Spotlight

HopNet Software has an interesting Windows Phone app on the Marketplace design to help those looking to lose a little around the middle. PlusPoints is designed to track your diet by a point system, the same point system used by Weight Watchers in their PointsPlus Program. To complete the Weight Watchers tie in, if you use the Weight Watchers eTools, you can access Weight Watchers' mobile site (Weight Watchers account required) from within the app.

For those not enrolled in Weight Watchers, you can still take advantage of the PlusPoints app by tracking your dietary points. Points are based on the fat, carbs, fiber and protein content of food. There is a calculator within the app that can be used to determine a food's points. Daily recommended points are calculated from your sex (male or female), age, height, and weight. From there you simply keep track of your daily intake, trying to eat within the daily point allowance.

PlusPoints is a free application (ad supported) and you can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. If your dieting and need a way to track your calories, PlusPoints might be worth checking out.

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We've had thousands of downloads, putting the WPCental app in the top five of News & Weather in the Marketplace. So we're glad to announce that v1.2 is now ready for download (see our video preview here) making the app that much better.

We listened to a lot of your feedback and we think you'll be pleased with the entire changelog, which brings greater control over the app to you:

  • Adjusted the UI layout to have consistent margins and font styling
  • Article text font sizes can now be adjusted through pinch-to-zoom gestures
  • Live tile consistency improved and added option to enable or disable the live tile
  • Optimizations to the animations to improve app speed
  • Fixed crash in adverts when the UI moved too fast for AdMob
  • Fixed crashes relating to “Parameter is incorrect” and “Argument out of range” exceptions
  • Fixed rare crash relating to feed caching
  • Fixed bug where feed refresh would sometimes fail, causing the app to never pick up new feeds

In addition, we've added a nice, swanky 'Settings' button near the top, to give you greater control over how the app behaves, including:

  1. Feedback on refresh
  2. Haptic feedback
  3. Lock portrait view
  4. All black theme
  5. Simple text title

Over all, the experience should be much better now and hopefully it should address most of your concerns. You can grab the app right here in the Marketplace.  Remember, the app is free (using the unlimited "Trial") with ads or $0.99 with no ads and some bonus features e.g. Live Tile, videos, etc. Let us know in comments what you think!

Some video after the break.

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All in 1 Toolbox - App Spotlight

Looking for a swiss army styled app for your Windows Phone? No, not one that comes with tweezers and a nail file but one that has a healthy collection of tools? If so, you need to check out All in 1 Toolbox.

All in 1 has nine tools in the box that include:

  • Flashlight: 4 different themes
  • Unit Converter: length, area, volume, weight, temperature, angle and time
  • Secure Notes: protects your notes with a password and encryption. Organizes your notes to categories.
  • Date Calculator: adds days, time and subtracts dates
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator: calculates BMI and shows BMI category
  • Tip Calculator: calculates the tip and splits the check
  • Counter: +/- buttons for counting, with save and load
  • Password Generator: generates a customizable password and saves it to the secure notes
  • Product Comparison: compares 2 products with price, quantity and discount.

The tools are launched from a "lazy susan" styled menu and are an interesting assortment of applications. I can see some coming in handy on a daily basis, while others may only be used once in a while.

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Pod Rods - App Spotlight

Jacksonville.com, the website of The Florida Times-Union has an interesting app for car lovers, Pod Rods. The app offers the latest automotive news, information on First Coast car events, plus photos, videos and podcasts from the automotive industry.

The Times-Union isn't new to the Windows Phone arena, having launched four apps for the Windows Mobile platform; the Jacksonville.com App, Ultimate Jaguars, the University of Florida Gators, and High School Sports.

The app also offers traffic and road construction updates to keep you informed as you travel from car show to car show. In touching base with the developers they felt that Pod Rods would be a good way to gauge interest for the Windows Phone 7 format and promote local car events.

Pod Rods is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Sat Rad Player - App Spotlight

Peronica LLC has developed what is being billed as the first satellite radio player for Windows Phone 7. Sat Rad Player is being offered over at the Marketplace for $.99 and allows you to listen to your Sirius/XM Satellite radio subscription from the convenience of your Windows Phone.

Key features include:

  • Sort Channels by name or number
  • Channels can be grouped by Genre
  • Channels can be navigated by Genre heading
  • Favorite Channel management.

The developer does make note of a few conditions. There is currently no support for playback through Bluetooth devices, your US based Sirius or XM subscription must include the option for internet play, and while Sat Rad Player will run under a lock screen there is a brief pause once the Windows Phone locks.

There is a free trial version available to let you try before you buy and the full version runs $.99. You can download both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Chris for the tip!

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While in the U.S., we're actually use to turn-by-turn being provided by our carriers, in Europe it's not so expected. In that sense, it's great news to hear that Orange France has release a full-fledged, custom, turn-by-turn GPS solution for their customers.

The app looks pretty snazzy from the screenshots and it has abundant, if not the usual, features on board:

  • The real-time traffic info;
  • Alerts fixed and mobile radars (database Wikango);
  • Service stations with fuel prices;
  • Parking in the Ile de France
  • Voice guided

The bad news is that it's not locally stored maps, so just like the U.S. counterparts, you have to have a data plan that can both be fast enough to download the data and allows you to have enough data so as to not get over-charged. (Europe tends to have higher data costs and less access to 3G than in the U.S.). Still, it's a nice start and something we're sure many will use. For more info, head to Professeur Thibault who has all the details.

Download Orange GPS here in the Marketplace.

via Professeur Thibault

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GooNews returns to the Marketplace, hits v3.0

Back a few months ago, we took a look at GooNews--a Google News reader for Windows Phone, which was one of the first (and in our opinion, nicest) apps around. Then, do to some Marketplace hijinks that caused the app to be rejected on something it was previously accepted for, developer Shawn Wildermuth pulled the app in frustration.

Luckily for us, the app is now back in the Marketplace with a few bonuses:

  • No ads
  • Completely free (and always will be)
  • New features

New in v3.0:

  1. Changed UI Colors to be easier to read
  2. Changed navigation to Story be the GoogleNews info (which shows sources)
  3. Changed Settings Page to use easier to use control

Check our video review to get an idea and grab the app for yourself in the marketplace, it's on our must-have list.

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F1 World - App Spotlight

Fan of Formula One racing? F1 World is a Windows Phone app that brings you a news and information on all the Formula One racing events. The app pulls from several RSS News feeds including ESPNF1.com, Crash.net, BBC f1, Formula1.com with more feeds coming soon.

Key features include:

  • Dedicated app for Windows Phone 7
  • View all the Latest News of F1 world from famous websites
  • News related to your favorite F1 teams [Driver based team coming soon]
  • Preview window for each News along with the picture
  • Easy Navigation for news
  • Facility to read each News in F1 World with integrated browser support
  • Scroll again to directly jump to next News story, without pressing the back key
  • UI changed like WP7
  • Team & driver details added
  • Race results

F1 World presents everything in a clean, sharp looking hub. Upcoming features should include the ability to sort news items by drivers, photo feeds, and multiple language support.

F1 World is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Pop It! - App Spotlight

Like popping bubble wrap? Did you know there's a Windows Phone app for that?

Pop It! takes popping bubble wrap to the next level, turning it into a competitive event. The goal of the game is simple, see how fast you can pop each bubble that appears on the screen.

The downside to Pop It! is that a) you can't roll up your Windows Phone and pop numerous bubbles at once and b) you can't slide your finger down the row of bubbles to pop them. You have to pop each bubble by tapping on them individually.

Sound effects are decent and trying to find the fastest pattern for popping the bubbles can be challenging. Pop It! is a free app and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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NBA Game Time 2011 available for the Finals

As the NBA Finals head into Game Two tonight, you can follow all the action from your Windows Phone. NBA Game Time 2011 is a free app over at the Marketplace that will give you access to scores, highlights and news surrounding the Playoffs.

Key features include:

  • Live Scores from every Playoff game
  • Highlight videos from every playoff game
  • Full Playoff Schedule
  • Playoff Bracket Box Score and Team Stats for every Playoff game
  • Series Views from Every Playoff Series
  • Deeper Player Stats

Okay... so it's a little late to the party but it's a clean looking, informative app. If your a fan of the Heat or the Mavs (or the NBA in general), NBA Game Time 2011 should help keep you informed during the Championship Series.

Again, NBA Game Time 2011 is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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ToMetric - App Spotlight

Can't stand to converting U.S. measurements to Metric? ToMetric, as the name implies, is a Windows Phone app that is designed to make it easier to covert U.S. units to its metric equivalents.

The interface is simple in that you type or paste the US units and the app will return the metric results. If a measurement could be either liquid or solid (as in ounces) the app will return both conversions. Should you stump the app and enter a U.S. measurement unit not recognized, it will help you look things up on the internet.

The only thing missing is relief for the other half of the equation, converting metrics to U.S. units.

ToMetric is a free application and can be found here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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It's been awhile since we covered SurfCube, the third part browser which we think we can safely say "won" the browser-wars. The browser is known for it's virtual 3D cube design, giving new life via an innovate UI to web browsing and interaction. It's unique and not just for Windows Phone 7, but for any platform.

The big addition in v3.0, besides some bug fixes and performance enhancements, is the addition of YouTube support within the browser. What this means is, if you come across a YouTube vid while surfing you should be able to play back the video without leaving the browser--certainly a nice feature. It's still limited by Mobile IE's YouTube limitations, so don't expect it to be Flash compatible, but it handles mobile sites with video quite well. We gave it a quick spin and while buffering was a little choppy (over 3g) it handled WiFi really well. The video quality was pretty darn high even over 3G and it was certainly much more convenient. (Skip to 1:34 in the video to see it in action.)

Finally, we should also mention that the browser has won a Microsoft Innovation Award in Smartphone Application category, An award we feel is much deserved.

Surfcube is available in two versions: paid, ad-free for $1.99 or free (ad supported). You can grab the paid version here (trial) and the free on here.

Source: DotNeteers

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Quick look: Tweet & Go [Video]

For those looking for a quick way to just Tweet, without loading their full Twitter client, waiting for all those tweets by their friends to show up, then 'Tweet & Go' is for you.

The app is by Adam Nathan, who brought us Metro Browser and numerous other apps to Windows Phone and it's quite useful, elegant and just right. You simply launch it, it logs in with your account and you can post away. You can even upload an image and use bit.ly (or your custom bit.ly). Plus, we just really dig the design (it uses your Twitter account's background image for that extra pizzaz).

The app fetches for $0.99 with no trial, which is a bit of a bummer. On the other hand, for those of you who need such an app, we feel pretty good about recommending it. Still, there is room for improvement: we'd like to see multiple Twitter account support, geo-location tagging and there looks to be a slight bug with the options not highlighting properly (see video). Hopefully we'll see those in later versions. Despite that, we really like it since nothing is faster for just posting a Tweet to the world.

Grab the app here in the Marketplace.

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British Airways app hits the Marketplace

We first had a glimpse of the British Airways app during Microsoft's Mango Preview Event. Well, it went live in the Marketplace today and looks like for those traveling British Airways, chasing your flights may have gotten a lot easier.

Key features include:

  • Instant access to the mobile boarding pass for your next flight from your Windows Phone
  • Information about your next flight, including check-in, live departure time and gate numbers (from Heathrow Terminal 5)
  • Review all your boarding passes and upcoming flight bookings
  • Track the live arrival or departure times for any British Airways flight
  • View terminal maps for airports across the world
  • You can also check in with your Windows Phone, see worldwide contact numbers and see the latest British Airways travel news.

The app doesn't appear to have the 3D seating view that we saw during the Preview Event and there's no mention of the live tiles (in the works for future updates?). Regardless, the app looks really nice and is likely to come in handy British Airways passengers.

The British Airways app is free and can be found here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Fact: I grew up in the 1980's, meaning Saturday morning cartoons was my religion when I was a child--Smurfs, Popeye, you name it, I watched it. So it was a blast to play with 'Cartoon TV', an app currently "on sale" for $1.99. While that price may seem a little high, if you're into cartoons, it's certainly worth it.

The app is split into two parts: live, streaming cartoons, which often presents random, vintage stuff that is sometimes very odd and the catalog, which features full episodes (usually 30 or more each) from Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, The Flintstones, Foghorn Leghorn, Mickey Mouse and more. The choice for entertainment is quite extensive and impressive. The quality when streaming, especially over WiFi was as good as it'll get for vintage cartoons i.e. non-HD, that is to say great quality with no hiccups.

What can we say outside of we highly recommend this app if you have children or, like me, you're just a fan of cartoons/reliving your youth. The app is $1.99, sitting at a 4.5 star rating and there is a free trial, so give it a go. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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Kik Messenger for WP7 due "within a month"

We first caught wind of Kik Messenger for Windows Phone 7 during MIX11. At the time, it wasn't too clear when the popular messaging service would be available on our platform i.e. pre-Mango or during Mango launch?

Now it looks like they've answered on their Facebook account--all it took was someone to ask:

Alejandro Aguilera Rivera: Are you guys (by any chance) working on a Windows phone 7 app? is it possible? :D?

Kik Interactive, Inc.: You will see it within a month :)

So that sounds good to us. In fact, the race between IM+ and Kik seems to be heating up as we're expecting releases from both companies relatively soon, giving Windows Phone users some new options. Not to mention, there's that whole Mango-Live Messenger/Facebook Chat integration coming too.

Source: Facebook; Thanks, Alejandro, for the tip!

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Mini-Review: Network Tools

Network Tools, developed by Flippant Entertainment, is a simple server connectivity monitor app for Windows Phone 7 with bags of potential. Allowing the user to ping a server, TCP port test and perform a HTTP request.

While the functionality is fairly limited to these three scans, the beauty of Network Tools is the ability to add websites and servers as “favorites” where you can easily check them all at once, using all three scans. The app uses a server hosted somewhere for the tests, which I think is a bonus, yet a slight drawback. Both for the reason should the server be unavailable is there a fail safe, or you wish to try ports outbound on your network?

I see a lot more being available in terms of features for future releases. For example, we could have the option to use the server provided, or use direct connection from our device. There should be live tile support where you can pin one or more (when Mango comes around) sites to your home screen which can alert you with regular scans when they go down – perfect for server administrators.

A step further would be to some how be able to include Nagios monitoring, should you have any installed for your boxes. But I can only dream. Network Tools however is a fantastic app for simply checking on the move if your website is still up or if you can connect to your mail server. While extra functionality is absent, the app has built strong foundations and has filled a gap in the Marketplace for an app of this quality for network tasks.

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WPCentral app v1.2 - Video Preview

Although the official WPCentral app has only been out for about 36 hours, we're hard at work bringing you v1.2 soon which will add a few new features and settings that many of you have requested. (Submitting comments and forum integration is coming, but those will be coming in later releases, as they're big projects)

Our developer Jay Bennett has already a working beta v1.2 and he made a video to show off what he has done so far. We gotta say, the "all black" option looks pretty slick too.

For those of you who added suggestions for the settings screen coming in v1.2, here’s a sneak peak at those options in action:

As I mention in the video, I’m looking into adding an option to increase the font size for the article viewing for this release as well.

As always, submit comments on Jay's blog, via the app or in comments below. And thanks everyone for the reviews in the Marketplace, it's much appreciated!

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