Apps

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WizTiles Pro zips on to the Windows Phone Marketplace

Wiztiles Pro for Windows Phone

The other day we mentioned the Windows Phone app Wiztiles that allows you to create custom tiles and themes on your Windows Phone. It's a very good app for customizing your Windows Phone and a new version was recently released, Wiztiles Pro, that brings a slightly different user interface into play as well as these changes/features.

  • Faster launching of custom tiles
  • Easy access to 12 new themes
  • Theme versioning
  • Theme preview with screenshots
  • Create tiles without using a theme
  • Added mini icons to metro theme for use with wallpaper themes
  • Added backgrounds with gradients to metro theme
  • Added url parameters to browser task for theme designers
  • Added disabled back tile for theme designers

The free version required you to enter the URL where the Wiztile theme was being stored. With Wiztile Pro, you have a "download themes" button on the Theme Page that sends you to featured themes created by the Wiztile community of users. Wiztiles Pro still has the ability to download themes by entering a URL link but the more direct method is a nice touch.

Wiztiles

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21

InstaCam is a Windows Phone Instagram client

InstaCam is now in the Marketplace

InstaCam is a Windows Phone Instagram client that just hit the Marketplace yesterday.  It allows you to take pictures on your phone, add different effects, and then share them via Facebook, Twitter or email.  You can log into your Instagram account to check "likes" and comments on your uploaded content.  You can also view other people's photos and leave comments, or follow them if you're a fan of their work.  The search function can find photos based on key words in pictures' tags.  Not an Instagram user?  No worries, you can still use InstaCam to browse content anonymously.

This first iteration of InstaCam contains a lot of features, including a couple exclusive photo effects.  However, there are more features on the way.  The developers are already planning on adding geolocation search, view changes, and more.

InstaCam is free and can be downloaded here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, peestandingup, for the tip!

QR: InstaCam

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SJ7

The Sega Master System and Game Gear emulator for Windows Phone which allows you to load up ROMs is now live in the Marketplace! Going by the name of Sonic's Jewels (SJ7), the app fetches for a fair $1.29 with a free trial.

In our preview a few days ago (see video after the break) we gave the emulator high praise for being extremely well designed with fluid transitions and numerous options including:

  • Pinnable games to the Start screen with Live Tiles
  • Three save slots per game; instant resume
  • Skydrive support for importing games
  • Frame skips for 1st Gen devices
  • Portrait & Landscape support

Needless to say, we really like it. The one down side that as of right now, there is no sound emulation. But guess what? The developer has solved this problem and the next update brings full sound emulation to the mix. Don't believe us? Head past the break for a demonstration.

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WP Central

The official Vimeo app is now available in the Marketplace, which allows users to upload, manage and view content on the network. While there's already an unofficial app available by Ashtech Software (our review), it's good to see some more big brand love for the platform (plus the official offering is free). 

The app itself looks great, the development team really have used the Metro UI to create a unique experience for Windows Phone users. Some feature highlights:

  • Watch and manage all your existing Vimeo videos
  • Watch videos from your Vimeo inbox, Watch Later queue, or videos you have liked
  • Easily like, comment on, and add videos to your Watch Later queue
  • Discover new and fascinating featured videos
  • Quickly search for videos on Vimeo
  • Easily upload your footage in HD
  • Pause and resume uploads
  • Replace existing videos
  • Edit titles, descriptions, tags, privacy settings, and credits
  • Share via Facebook, Twitter, email, or SMS
  • Add videos to your Groups, Channels, and Albums
  • Get stats on plays, likes, and comments

You can download Vimeo from the Marketplace for free. 

Thanks everyone who tipped us on this!

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Windows Phone App Review: Cloud Music

Cloud Music for Windows Phone

Skydrive is a great resource for your Windows Phone for off-device storage and Cloud Music is a handy app to tap into any music files you may have stored in your Skydrive account. We first mentioned Cloud Music some time ago when the developer was looking for beta testers. Well, Cloud Music is now available over in the Windows Phone Marketplace and in giving the music app a try, it's not too shabby.

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Ask Ziggy Overhauled!

We covered Ask Ziggy last month and it sure gained a lot of attention. While the Siri-like app itself was a great first start, it certainly lacked the ability to do some basic functions like tell the weather or what time it is. Still, for being done by one guy it did do some neat tricks as our video pointed out (see after the break for a refresher).

Currently though, Ask Ziggy's Nuance engine is on the fritz. It's a temporary problem that has to do with basically too many people using it. The exceeded limits though should be restored soon, so sit tight. And it's fixed already!

But the big news, as you can peep from the screenshots, is the huge overhaul the app is getting for the next version. Ask Ziggy is getting all "Metrofied" as many of you had requested and boy, do we like the look. On top of that it handles a lot more functionality, including:

  • Weather
  • Time
  • Reminders
  • Maps/Geolocation

Ask Ziggy Overhauled!

And we hear there's a lot more in the works. In fact, the developer, Shai Leib, is now working full-time on this project meaning we can expect some serious changes in the coming months.

Ask Ziggy: maps

No word on ETA for the next version but we'll keep you posted with a hands on as soon as we can. Certainly though we're very excited about where this is going. Folks, take our word, you haven't seen anything yet.

You can pick up the current version here in the Marketplace for free, but until Nuance resets their limits, it may not work.

Updated: Added Map/Geolocation pics. Also, Nuance is working again!

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VSA

We mentioned Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone just over a month ago. The pet project by developer Den Delimarsky picks up where Microsoft's Channel 9 left off. In short, these are achievements...but for developers! And now you can track them easily on your Windows Phone, thanks to Den's app.

Nerd alert!

Having said that, the app itself is pretty awesome with the ability to track your achievements as well as sharing and comparing your scores to others for ultimate bragging rights.

Read more on Channel 9's Visual Studio Achievements here and read more at Den's blog over yonder.

Grab the free app here and now in the Marketplace.

QR: VSA

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ExtrasIt's been sometime since Samsung tweaked up their Extra Settings app for their Focus S and Flash devices. The mini-app found under Settings controls the auto-display intensity, key vibration feedback and echo cancelation.

But what really matters is Extra Settings are thought to control how much the screen dims/adjusts to ambient light. In the past, this app has slowly fixed what many us have perceived as a "too dim of a screen" on the Focus S resulting in a much more responsive changing of screen brightness.

Of course like usual, version 1.7 does not come with a changelog so your guess is as good as ours. We could mention how our Focus S looks a little brighter now but honestly, that's not very scientific and we're prone to placebo effects at times. Hit us up in comments if you noticed any improvements. Thanks, Jarrod J., for the heads up

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Bing Get Me There

The Microsoft "Bing Get Me There" app, a helpful tool for anyone who's considering to travel through or/and around London, has been updated to now be able to report live updates for the DLR (Docklands Light Railway), London Overground and London Buses. The app is useful should you also require quick assistance to get home (or to a rail terminal) with a pinned tile opening up directions from your current location to the configured "home" in the settings.

Note that the LiveSide article is incorrect by stating that this is the only service that bundles together London's transport networks with the DLR, Overground and London Buses, as London Travel also sports live updates across the board (and is a must-have good app for anyone residing in/traveling through the big smoke).

One can download Bing Get Me There from the Marketplace for free.

Via: LiveSide

QR: Bing Get Me There

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Windows Phone App Review: WizTiles

WizTiles for Windows Phone

WizTiles is a tile generator for your Windows Phone that will enable you to create tiles for ten Windows Phone tasks. You can create single or double sided tiles, add custom colors, pictures, create themes, or download themes from the developer.

The amount of customization available with WizTiles can be a little overwhelming but once you dig into the customization, it's easy to get the hang of things. WizTiles is a nice way to add a little flare to your Start Screen.

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Nextgen Reader

Sorry folks, the contest is now closed!

Here at WPCentral, we're pretty big fans of Nextgen Reader which is billed as "the fastest Google Reader client around" (we tend to agree). That's why we're excited to team up with the developer, NextGsoft, to give it away to all of you for $0 for the next 36 hours.

That's right, normally this highly rated app fetches for a $1.99, but for the next day and a half you can get it for nothing at all. The app hit v2.0 back in September with Mango support (see our video review) and since then it has received numerous updates, including version 2.4 which just went live in the Marketplace today. That version brings a bunch of new features and fixes to the table:

Nextgen Reader v2.4

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My Starbucks Card for Windows Phone

My Starbucks Card is a new app over at the Windows Phone Marketplace that lets you use your Starbucks card right from your Windows Phone. No need to fumble around for the card, just run My Starbucks Card and your card can be scanned straight from your Windows Phone.

My Starbucks Card

When you first launch My Starbucks Card you will be prompted to enter your card number and Starbucks.com credentials. A virtual card will be generated on My Starbucks Card's main screen and the app will even pull up your current balance.  

While My Starbucks Card isn't an "official" Starbucks app, it does looks like it would come in handy if you are a Starbuck's frequent flyer. The app will run you $.99 and you can grab it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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TripAdvisor

For those who travel a lot, the official TripAdvisor app seems like one of those things that you would want to have on your Windows Phone. Providing info on hotels, restaurants, reviews, detailed descriptions and the ability to dial directly, the app in theory is great. In reality, the previous version received many complaints and it maintained a low 2.5 stars out of 100 reviews.

TripAdvisor

But anyone can turn things around and TripAdvisor has done that with version 2.0--a major overhaul of the app itself in terms of functions and UI. The new UI is very Metro influenced and looks great in addition to being very smooth with transitions and data loading. We've been playing around with it for the last hour and we think it's a keeper. Kudos to the TripAdvisor devs for making a solid app update.

Pick up TripAdvisor for free here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Steve F., for the tip!

QR: TripAdvisor

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Timelapse Pro updated with Skydrive support

Timelapse Pro is a handy app for your Windows Phone for time lapse photography. We took a look at it a while ago and found it to be a very nice photography app for your Windows Phone. Timelapse Pro was recently updated to version 2.5 that adds Skydrive support and the ability to create animated .gif files from your time lapse footage.

You can still create videos from the time lapse photos through third party apps such as Windows Live Movie Maker. But if you need a quick way to generate an animated presentation from your pictures, the .gif creator comes in handy.

Timelapse Pro .GIF Export Tool

Once you finish capturing your photos, when you go to preview the footage you will still see the options to record more photos, save photos, or delete the picture set.  With version 2.5 the option to upload the video comes into play.

When you choose to upload the video you will be taken to an upload wizard where you choose the resolution size (up to 480x360).  Once the .gif is created you can choose where to upload the .gif file to. You can choose your Skydrive account or upload the file to Timelapse Pro's server (20mb size limit). Once uploaded you will be provided a link that you can share as you wish (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

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Speak to Play

The ability to play your music via voice command was something that Windows Mobile users were accustomed to back in 2006. To not have the ability to say "Play <insert artist>" on a Windows Phone in 2012 is a bit absurd but we'll assume that something had to be cut for those 500 new features in Mango.

However, an app is now available that fulfills this task: Speak To Play by developer Puno-Z. The app is a clean, minimalist design with a large microphone graphic that you "push to speak". From there you can tell it to play an artist, song, album, playlist or even genre.

Speak to Play

In our usage with it tonight, we'll agree with those multiple five-star reviews in the Marketplace--it works very well. We had no issues with it recognizing what we wanted to do and it gets the job done. It's of course still not as nice as being able to run TellMe via the Search button "from anywhere" in the OS--having to launch an app and then push the button is still more task-intensive than we'd like. But until Microsoft blesses us with this function, Speak To Play is the next best thing.

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Snapcrowd

SnapCrowd is a popular cloud-sharing/hosting service for digital media that was introduced late last year. What makes SnapCrowd different though from say Dropbox or even Skydrive is the ability to upload content unaltered/resized, support for 300 different photo formats (including RAW), resume of uploads, streaming of video and music and the best part in our opinion--subusers for your account. What that last part means of course is that you can have multiple users share and access the same account which is certainly unique feature for many. Finally, the service also has some of the best security around including SSL / TLS and HTTPS protocol layers, for you privacy gurus.

So we're quite excited to see an official app headed to Windows Phone with a planned release date of March. The app features all the main aspects of the cloud service including video, music, photos, contacts and document support in addition to streaming of media.

What makes SnapCrowd great, from our perspective, is how robust and feature-rich their service is--it's not just file storage, but the playback ability, the generation of album art, the option to stream whole movies, share with multiple users, etc. that seemingly makes it a good sell. The service is free for 10GB of storage (for a limited time) and one subuser account and then goes to $59 for 50GB of storage and $99 for 100GB of storage with increased subusers.

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Foursquare

We haven't seen the official Foursquare app get an update in quite some time. In fact, we've heard some isolated reports that the leaderboard tile stopped updating for some. So it's nice to see the official team update their app (and play catch-up to 4th & Mayor).

Version 2.9 is now live in the Marketplace and features the following changes:

  • Portugese, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese and Russian language support
  • Push notifications to get instant friend check-in updates on pinned tile
  • Leaderboard pinned tile backside to see where you stand compared to your friends

The extra language support is great, especially as Windows Phone expands globally to those new markets. The push notifications we've seen before in 4th & Mayor and quite fun to keep track of your friends's updates. Finally, hopefully this update will fix that stuck leaderboard for some of you. You can pick up the updated Foursquare app here for free in the Marketplace. Thanks, Rob and Aaron, for the tip!

QR: Foursquare

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WhatsApp gets hot fix for broken media with v1.7

WhatsAppWhatsApp hit v1.6 the other day and right away many of you noticed that you lost the inability to view media--specifically received photos and videos--within the app. That sure is a deal breaker. As we reported the next day, the developers had a mea culpa, confessing that an errant build of the app was submitted to the Marketplace causing the problem.

Now, v1.7 (technically v1.6.2) is live in the Marketplace and it fixes (hopefully) that media-messaging issue and in addition, you get two new functions as well:

  • Able to read and change group icon
  • Improved scrolling behavior

Sure, the app still lacks some personality in regards to the UI in our opinion but at least the developers quickly fixed what could have been a disastrous release. Hopefully we'll see some more added functions in future updates.

Grab the updated version of WhatsApp here in the Marketplace for free. Thanks, Kirk, for the tip!

QR: WhatsApp

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116

Site Announcement: WPCentral app v2.1 now available

WP Central

It's been just over a week since we released WPCentral v2.0 into the world, pushing up the total number of app downloads to over 30,000. Honestly myself and everyone involved have been absolutely blown away by the incredible feedback we've received on the site, via e-mail and of course in marketplace reviews. We couldn't be more thrilled that you guys are enjoying the new app and I wanted to say thank you one more time for the continued investment our community shows.

With that said, v2.0 is already being replaced, proving that if you want to find any mistakes in your code, just release it to the public to test in their masses!

You'll be able to download it from the marketplace right now here, but I know you're keen to know what's changed so here we go:

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We mentioned Sonic's Jewels (SJ7) the other day as coming to Windows Phone. The SEGA Game Gear and Master System emulator has been submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace and should be made available to all in the next few days. Coming with a free trial, the emulator will ultimately fetch for $1.29 which we find to a great price for this well designed app.

Sonic Jewels

We've playing with it for a few days now and while there is currently no sound (the devs are hoping to get that working in the future) we found the emulation and presentation top notch. The app is fluid, intuitive to use and has built in Skydrive support for importation of your ROM collection. With the ability for three saved-states per game, pinnable Live Tiles for each game and the excellent progress indicators, we're very impressed with the effort here.

We'll keep you posted when Sonic's Jewels goes live in the Marketplace in the next few days. Until then, enjoy our video tour.

Update: This app is now known as Blue Tomato.

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WhatsApp

Last night we reported that WhatsApp hit v1.6 with a bunch of small fixes and new features. However, many of you noted right away something wasn't right--specifically you can't open up received images or videos sent by other WhatsApp users.

That's a pretty big drawback. So what's the deal? WPCentral reader Robby Light contacted the devs and they responded:

"The submission for 1.6 came from a "tainted" build machine and was not linked correctly.  This makes us fail to download media.  We regret the error and have sent an update to Microsoft.

Regards,
Andrew"

So there you go. We've seen this error from other apps before where an improper build was submitted to the Marketplace and we've even seen the submission process break an app (i.e. Supertube's video uploading). Hopefully a v1.7 "quick fix" will be pushed out ASAP and you'll get all those missing photos.

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Security Toolkit

Security Toolkit (our review) is an app that enables the user to turn their Windows Phone into a mobile security system. From motion sensor capabilities to an intrusion alarm, Security Toolkit certainly is a neat app to play with. The app has recently been updated to 1.6. A brief list of a hundful of improvements implemented in the latest version:

  • WebCam Viewer - view a PC (live) connected webcam over local WIFI (auto discovered Cam Broadcaster is available as a separate app.)
  • Voice Recorder - voice recorder with silence detection and skip, start/stop/pause/resume recording using phone camera button, remote listen/record from PC console via local WIFI
  • Image quality improved for Cam Broadcaster

You can download Security Toolkit from the Marketplace for $3.99.

QR: Security Toolkit

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We're always a fan of augmented reality apps even if we don't have a specific use for them. Augmented Colors by SimzzDev fits in that category as we're not designers or artists by any stretch. Still, that didn't prevent us from recognizing just how cool this is.

In short, the app uses your Windows Phone camera to dynamically label colors in the world by using their RGB values and HTML color codes (e.g. #FF0000 for red). When you find a color you like, you simply tap the on-screen color bar to "lock it" in. The app then hops to the share screen where you can post that color code to Twitter/Facebook/Live, email/SMS or pin-to-start for saving for later. You can even create solid wallpapers for your Lock screen based off the color for some added function.

Augmented Colors

We could see painters and graphic designers making great use of this app or even if you're just repainting a room and you're looking for that exact color for the paint store. The app works exceptionably well for what it is meant to do and for $0.99, we think it's a bargain. There's also a free-trial where you can test out the AR part (you just can't share results), so no reason to not give it a spin.

Pick up Augmented Colors here in the Marketplace.

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