Apps

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SiriusXM stream back online, Sat Rad Player returns

Remember when we reported that the SiriusXM stream had gone offline and that led to the Sat Rad Player being pulled from the Marketplace? Well, both have apparently made a miraculous return. Which is fantastic news for users. You can download Sat Rad Player (Zune link) from the Marketplace.

According to readers in our last article, Canada was still online, only the US went down. SiriusXM were reluctant to provide any information apart from "we aren't developing an app on WP7 nor supporting third parties". It's a good job everything is back to normal and hopefully a reliable service will resume.

Thanks for the tip Perry!

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Yup. Today is a huge day for Windows Phone indeed and, to top it off, the official Facebook app just hit 2.0 and finally (finally!) brings Push Notifications (Toast + Live Tile) to the game.

What's really great is just how much you can choose to be notified on: Message, Wall Post, Feed comment, Feed comment reply, Photo tag, Photo comment, Tagged photo comment, Photo comment reply...etc, etc. All of those are optional for notifications, which gives you the user some great control over how the app works.

Overall, the app feels smooth and now, dare we say, is complete? Go get it here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, @wp7ap, for the heads up!)

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Besides all of the other official apps released today and yesterday, Microsoft Research (that super cool group at Redmond), has just released a new beta app called 'Academic Search'. Title is pretty self explanatory as far as the topic. Here's the app description:

"Academic Search WP7 client is a free academic search application based on new technologies from Microsoft Research. It gives users access to more than 27 million publications on multiple academic domains."

Huzzah. Sounds pretty cool to us and seems like a great way to kill time, especially if you're into that type of work. As of right now, ours didn't populate, but imagine they still have to throw the switch. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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Keeping track of your travels around the U.S.

Fifty States and National Park Checklist, both developed by Tom Alphin, are two travel apps for your Windows Phone designed to keep track of the places you've been and document what you've seen.

Fifty States: This is a simple app that lists all fifty States. As you visit each State, you simply add a dated note summarizing your travels. For example, for Kentucky you may note that you visiting Mammoth Cave. Once visited, a flag will appear besides the State name and the number of visits listed beneath.

There is a free trial version available for Fifty States with the full version running $.99. You can download it here at the Marketplace.

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'4th & Mayor' gets bumped to v2.0, new features

For your Foursquare fiends out there, you'll be pleased to know that 4th & Mayor, pretty much the Foursquare app for Windows Phone, has been given a nice overhaul to v2.0. And lets just say there are some major changes and improvements to the app:

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Best Buy app joins the crowd

The one thing I like about shopping at Best Buy is the ability to check in-store availability. The Windows Phone Best Buy app was released today that will let you check Best Buy's product line-up and check in-store availability while on the go.

The Best Buy app, developed by Chaotic Moon Studios, gives you access to the Best Buy inventory, weekly sales ads, and in-store specials. You can pull up product listings, check out user reviews, and check in-store availability to save running all over the place trying to find what your looking for. The app also makes use of your Windows Phone's location services to make searching for stores easier.

In just tinkering with the Best Buy app for a short time, I can see it coming in handy. But it would have been nice to see Reward Zone integration or the ability to purchase items from the app. Maybe, just maybe, these are features in the works for the first update.

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AmazonFresh hits the Marketplace

Windows Phone users have already seen the Amazon.com app and now we see the AmazonFresh app hitting the Marketplace.

AmazonFresh is a grocery service from Amazon.com for select markets to let you avoid the check out lines of the grocery store by shopping online. The AmazonFresh Windows Phone app takes grocery shopping to a new level of convenience.

From the AmazonFresh App you can shop our complete grocery and selected Amazon.com aisles, choose home delivery times, access your account, view past purchases, and place your order quickly and easily from your Windows Phone.

The only downside to the app is that it appears, for now, that the AmazonFresh service is limited to the Seattle, Washington area. There's no telling if or when AmazonFresh will expand but if you're in the Seattle area, the AmazonFresh Windows Phone app should come in handy.

You can download the free, AmazonFresh app here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks Jeremy for the tip!

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Dinner Spinner from Allrecipes.com

The official Marketplace title is Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner and this Windows Phone app will not only help you decide what to cook, it will also make you hungry.

Dinner Spinner accesses over 40,000 user submitted recipes from Allrecipes.com. The app highlights a daily recipe, has a favorite recipe page for dishes you just can't get enough of and a spinning wheel of sorts to help you decide what's for dinner.

The Dinner Spinner has three categories, dish type, ingredients (key), and time (how long to cook). At first launch, the items in each category spin like a slot machine. If you like the results, hit the check mark to pull up the recommended recipes. If you don't like what you see, shake your Windows Phone for another spin. Or you can reduce the randomness by only spinning (by finger swipe) the category of your choosing.

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Livescape - App Spotlight

Looking for a Windows Phone app that will help you track the calories you burn during a workout as well as the calories sitting on your dinner plate? If so, Livescape might be worth a try.

Livescape is a journal of sorts that helps you keep track of activities and diet that effects your life. You can use your Windows Phone location services to track outdoor activities such as jogging, hiking or bicycling. Use your Windows Phone camera to help track nutritional facts about the foods you eat.

Other features of Livescape include:

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OverDrive modernizes Libraries on WP7

While we have access to Amazon Kindle and whatnot on Windows Phone 7, what about free access to local libraries and books from schools? Many public libraries are now offering downloadable eBooks and now you can take advantage of this growing service with OverDrive.

This free app helps you locate libraries, find books (including audio books) and download them, not to mention the ability to read through each and every page. You must note however that you may need a library card and the downloaded eBooks will expire within a set time and will automatically be deleted. You can download OverDrive from the Marketplace.

Source: OverDrive, via: ChipChick

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Good news everyone, Kik Messenger is finally live in the Marketplace (see website).

We've been playing around with it for the last few days and have been very impressed with the mobile instant messaging solution. To refresh, Kik messenger is a proprietary IM service designed for mobile use, is available on the iPhone and Android, boasts over 4 million users and is completely free.

So why use it over something like IM+ (see video tour)? In our mind it's simple: Kik is much faster to load, use and more importantly send/receive messages. It's the closest thing to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) with its Sent, Delivered and Received statuses. From our experience, it's the most reliable and fastest IM client we have used yet on a mobile device: with push notifications (Live Tile, Toast), messages are received in less than 10 seconds nearly every time--truly a great experience.  Sure, it's not a multi-client system like IM+ and means you would have to try and get your friends on it, but so far we think it's worth it for mobile use, especially for communicating with those internationally. It's also $10 cheaper i.e. free.

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Phew. Sure has been a busy day for "official" apps from our corporate media overlords. First was NBC News, then came MTV and now we have 'The Colbert Report's Word' and 'VH1 To Go' both from MTV Networks aka Viacom (who own Comedy Central).

Of the two, we're more keen on Colbert's app, which is not for the whole show, but does catalog and make available all of his "The Word" segments available for streaming by date or alphabetically. Though we enjoy his show tremendously, this segment is always one of the more poignant and well written aspects, so kind of neat having it all the at your fingertips. You can grab that app for free in the Marketplace here. [Bonus: It has a Live Tile]

The second, is for VH1, a channel much like MTV that used to actually show videos but now plays celebrity entertainment and other...stuff. To quote from the description:

"Get your VH1 fix wherever you are, with VH1 To Go! Watch video and browse photos from all the current VH1 shows, music events and hits from the past. And, get exclusive first looks at upcoming episodes and new series by checking out the Sneak Peeks category. The app is updated daily with fresh content."

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In the second part of our Windows Phone voice navigation round-up, we set our sites on aSpass and Silver Navigator. In part one of the round-up we took a look at GPS Voice Navigation and Turn by Turn Navigation. Both were very good navigation apps but we gave the edge to Turn by Turn Navigation.

aSpass and Silver Navigator aren't as feature heavy as GPS Voice or Turn by Turn nor are they as expensive. aSpass is running $3.99 while Silver Navigator runs $2.99.

Over the past week we took both voice navigation apps on the road to see how they performed. We hit neighborhood streets, highways and by-ways. Areas where signal strength was strong and where it was dismal. Does the lack of features hurt these apps or is simpler better? We'll break things down after the break.

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FoodSpotting app hits Marketplace

The official WP7 app for FoodSpotting has made its way to the Marketplace.  Just like the site itself, the new app helps users find nearby restaurants and review them, right down to the individual tasty tidbit.  Take photos of your favorite dish, upload it, and share it with others.  You can search by map or genre and even bookmark foods you want to try.  And all of this can be shared with other FoodSpotting users.

You can get it here.

Source: FoodSpotting Thanks goes out to Nicolas for the tip!

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Watermark helps you make your mark

The one danger of posting your photographs online, be it Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere, is the risk you run of having your pics hijacked. Watermarks are one way to help deter unauthorized use of your photos. The Windows Phone app, "Watermark" brings watermarking to photos captured and stored in your Pictures Hub and may just keep the pirates at bay.

The user interface is simple and straight forward. Choose your image, type your text and it's inserted on the photo. You can choose fonts, text colors, text size, and opacity. Positioning of your watermark is probably the weakest aspect of the app. You can tap on your photo to move the watermark around but this feature isn't the most responsive.

Watermark can be a useful tool to help tag your photos or even add captions. Watermark is a free app that you can find here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

via: mobilitydigest

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TVShow or PrimeTV... that is the question

We've reviewed PrimeTV and given away copies of TVShow. But which is the best television information app for your Windows Phone?

Tough call. Both offer detailed information on your favorites television shows as well as image galleries and videos on the shows. Both support Trakt.tv and Twitter (TVShow also supports Facebook). Both have live tiles and toast notifications on you favorite shows. Both have easy to navigate user interfaces.  TVShow does support subtitles but is that an across the board feature everyone uses?

But which is the best? While you can search and add favorite television series to track by keyword, Prime TV also gives you recommendations from your Trakt.tv account and from those shows that are trending upwards on Trakt.tv.

I'd love to say there's a smoking gun that would put one of these apps ahead of the other but they are so close, it's truly a dead tie. Both apps have similar features that are at times only distinguishable by how your access them. For example, TVShow has a YouTube button that sends you to a video page. PrimeTV incorporates a YouTube page into the Television Series hub.

Fortunately, both have free trials so you can judge for yourself. The full versions of both run $.99. You can find the Marketplace links and a side by side video comparison after the break.  If you find one of these two apps better than the other, feel free to share in our comments section.

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Drynks - App Spotlight

Binary Red has released Drynks over at the Windows Phone Marketplace to help you catalog your adult beverages. The app lets you create a record of all your favorite wines, beers and liquors on your Windows Phone.

Does your girlfriend have a favorite wine or mixed drink that you don't always remember? Drynks will let your photograph the beverages label and enter the particulars about the beverage. On top of that, you can share your favorite beverages with your Facebook friends.

Wine tasters, keep a catalog of your favorite wines or to share your experiencs with friends. Regardless of the reasons, if you need to document your adult beverage experiences, Drynks is worth checking out. Drynks is a free, ad support application that you can find here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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MyQuiz Master - App Spotlight

Trivia nut? MyQuiz Master will help you pass the time with 1,000 questions covering every day topics such as Cinema, Songs, TV Shows and Sports. The Windows Phone app also offers trivia questions on Landmarks, Literature, Canada, France, Inventions and War.

You have a one player and two player mode and questions range from the easy,

"Who hosted Alfred Hitchcock presents?"

To the more difficult questions such as,

"When was infant formula invented?"

Each round of play consists of ten questions and the quicker you answer, the more points you earn. Questions do repeat but not frequently enough to become boring and it is our understanding the app will be updated in the future to add more questions into the mix.

There is a free trial available for MyQuiz Master with the full version running $2.99. If you like trivia games, MyQuiz Master is one to check out. You can find MyQuiz Master here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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To say "Mango" for Windows Phone 7 is a large update is a bit of an understatement. It's massive. Although we have had two updates to our fledgling OS, both have been relatively minor. "Mango", however, is Microsoft's attempt to fill in all the gaps left from the v1.0 release last fall. Can it succeed?

We've been able to handle a preview release of "Mango" for the last few days and have put it through various tests, comparisons and the all important "just using it like a normal phone". Our device was the venerable Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7.661.WP7_5_Trial (mojobld).20110607-1957, which means this is a relatively late build (June 7th) and as you can see, Microsoft seems to be going with "7.5" for this release.

How did it fair? What did we learn? Lets just say you won't be disappointed and yes, it's basically everything Microsoft has been touting it to be since February--no smoke and mirrors here. So hit on past the break for our hands on review, four videos, photos and more. Then you can hit us up in comments and we'll try our best to answer.

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IM+ hits the Marketplace with a bang

We mentioned the other day that ShapeServices had submitted the popular messaging app, IM+, for Marketplace certification. Apparently the certification has gone smoothly and IM+ for Windows Phone 7 is now available.

Now before you gasp at the price, if memory serves me correctly IM+ for Windows Mobile pushed $20. Knowing that may make the $9.99 price tag for the Windows Phone 7 app easier to swallow.

Still, at $9.99 one can argue it is still one heck of a deal to get AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MySpace, Skype and Yahoo! messaging support all under one roof. While there's not a trial version available, you can get a feel for IM+ without our video tour.

You can find IM+ in the Marketplace by searching for "im plus all in one messenger" from your Marketplace App or hit this link (opens Zune) for the Marketplace.

Our thanks to siggystyle for the tip!

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Hipstar - Review

There are plenty of photo effect apps for your Windows Phone but Hipstar adds a nostalgic feel to things. The app brings an old, fixed lens camera into the mix and designs the user interface around the camera.

Hipstar adds a vintage look to things by adding light leaks and vignetted corners to your photos. It gives the images a 60's Kodachrome feel. We like the concept and while Hipstar has potential, it falls a little short of the mark.

Snap on past the break to read more on Hipstar.

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LazyTube v2.4 in the works

An update is in the works for the Windows Phone app, LazyTube. Version 2.4 has been submitted to the Marketplace for certification and should be available in the next few days.

v2.4 brings Live Tile support to the YouTube application that will alert you on updates to your YouTube subscriptions. The Tile will keep it's chameleon traits, mimicking your Windows Phone theme color.

LazyTube is a great application for your Windows Phone if you are a YouTube fanatic. Having a Live Tile to show you when new videos are added to your subscriptions will only add to an already fine app.

There is a free trial available for LazyTube with the full version running $.99. You can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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