Apps

We last mentioned Beau Allison's (aka codeJoker) a few weeks back which involved creating a WiFi shortcut on Samsung phones--it basically allowed you to hop from your Today screen right to the WiFi settings to quickly toggle them on or off. It's actually one of the more simple homebrew hacks yet it's the one we use the most, for obvious reasons.

Now he's gone further creating three new shortcuts: Bluetooth, Airplane Mode and Connection Manager. The first two are self-explanatory but the last is really the best. Connection Manager brings you all the previous shortcuts under one screen. Huzzah! As you can see above, it has WiFi, Bluetooth, Mobile Network and flight mode all under one quick access panel. What's more, he's trying to incorporate the status-sliders below each setting for a direct toggle. Once again, this will only work with unlocked Samsung phones (sorry HTC, LG and Dell).

This app is so useful we don't know where to begin outside of saying Microsoft (and or OEMs)--you could do this too!

Source: codeJoker

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We mentioned about the Homebrew Device manager by Schapman which was suppose to be released this week. The application not only offers a new way to interact with the phone to load media but also unlocks the phone so one can sideload applications on it.

Since that time, Microsoft and ChevronWP7 have confirmed that the upcoming update will fix the programming error that the jailbreak exploited.

In turn, Schapman is not too keen on releasing his app only to have MS block it a few weeks later so  he's doing the "cat and mouse" thing--wait for Microsoft to patch, then make sure his Device Manager works around it.  He notes that his app works different than ChevronWP7 but regardless, we don't see any guarantees that he'll still be able to jailbreak the phone himself:

Windows Phone Device Manager release delayed until MS update, as I still haves a lot of cool stuffs to implementation, Also Want to make sure my code will not be broken and my unlock method will pass after the update.

This is all well and good but we're even starting to wonder if waiting for this Device Manager is really worth the hassle and if Schapman, who often promises a lot but tends to under deliver, can really beat Microsoft's new improved security by himself.

Source: TouchXperience Blog ; via Plaffo; Thanks, Antonino Ardizzone.,for the info

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SPB Brain Evolution 2 - Review

SPB Software isn't a stranger to Windows Phones. Offering a wide range of applications for Windows Mobile operating system, they have finally made the transition to Windows Phone 7. The software developers first venture with the new Windows Phone is to bring their bestselling game, SPB Brain Evolution 2 to WP7.

The popular puzzle, math, logic game offers 12 mini games that will test your concentration, speed and mental processing skills. It doesn't stray too far from the original SPB Brain Evolution we saw on Windows Mobile. If anything, the game seems to have become more challenging.

To read more on SPB's Brain Evolution, ease on past the break.

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SpeedGauge - Review

SpeedGauge is another Windows Mobile application that has made the transition to Windows Phone 7. The Windows Phone application is a speedometer that tracks your speed through your phone's location services.

You also have the ability to various travel statistics, change the color of the display and change the display to a heads up type. The only thing missing from the Windows Phone 7 version of SpeedGauge is an analog display.

To read more about SpeedGauge, zip on past the break.

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SoundEscape 7 - Review

Stressful day at work? Need some soothing sounds to ease the tension of the day? SoundEscape 7 is a Windows Phone 7 application that offers seven nature sounds to offer a relaxing atmosphere.

The seven sounds include: Ocean, Rain, Waterfall, Forest, River, Desert, City

I'm not sure if the sounds of the City qualify for relaxation sounds but it may work for some. The sound application has three timers (5, 15 and 30 minutes) and accompanying photos that reflect the mood. The timers come in handy if you need a little relaxation to go to sleep by.

It's an interesting application and while the photos are a nice touch, I would have liked to have seen a photo slide show used or the ability to use your own photos. Staring at the same old photo can get old.

SoundEscape 7 will run you $.99. There is not a trial version available. You can find your copy here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace.

Ease on past the break to see SoundEscape 7 in action.

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DioDict - Review

We've mentioned the Windows Phone application DioDict before. It is a dictionary application for Windows Phone 7 that is exclusive to the Samsung phones. The app taps into Collins Dictionary libary and includes multi-language support.

Recently updated to clean up some text formatting issues, DioDict offers more than definitions. It's a free application located in the Samsung App Zone and to read more about DioDict (plus see a video of it in action), just follow the break.

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We might not have Hulu Plus on our phones (yet) but perhaps the next best thing is here: Bitbop (Beta), who is run by Fox Mobile as a competitor to Hulu and is already on BlackBerry and Android (we beat iPhone).

The service costs $9.99 a month, which is not cheap, especially since you can only watch it on your phone--but you can't beat the selection of shows, all of which are commercial free. Bonus feature includes not only the ability to stream over WiFi or 3G but the option to download the show for later--great for those trips where a signal is scarce. There's also a queue for adding shows that you want to line-up for another day. (Side note: too bad WP7 doesn't have HDMI-out support yet).

The Windows Phone 7 version comes with a full 60-day trial, which is quite generous actually and from our brief test run, it's pretty awesome. The UI is done very tastefully and it's fairly easy to navigate--for instance, this is the first app we've seen to take advantage of the "letter square" system like in your contacts, but for finding shows.

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In what has to be the first, developer David Tepper has created a free app called simply enough iTunes Search and it's actually quite unique.

The app allows you to search both the iTunes Music and the iOS App Stores from your Windows Phone. Of course, you can't actually download anything from those stores but once found, you can then use it to search the Zune Marketplace for something similar--which is kind of crafty. Actually, this thing handles both stores better than either native app--it looks sharp, loads fairly quickly and overall wins points for an elegant UI.

Combined with the Windows Phone ability to sync with a Mac, control your iTunes and now search the Apple App store, we're wondering what other Apple-task could come next?

Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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It's that time of the week again for two more Xbox LIVE titles. This week we have iBlast Mokie, which is "a physics puzzle game where you to have to move cute little Mokis with the help of bombs, balloons, wheels and other crazy items". Its artwork looks inspired by "Loco Roko" from a few years back, so that's cool. Fetching for $2.99 it looks pretty good.

The other title is 3D Brick Breaker Revolution by DHOC also for $2.99--which is what it sounds like, a 3D Brick Breaker game with "24 insane power ups" (whoa there chief! 24? Not sure we can handle the insanity).

Initial impression? 3D Brick Breaker is a great concept and even fun to play, but the graphics are a bit blocky and choppy (it also gives you an Epilepsy warning, no joke). iBlast Moki is actually kind of fun, resumes games properly and looks good too. Of course, both games have trials, so give 'em a go for yourselves. Also, both games are available worldwide, which will make our UK based Rich Edmonds happy.

iBlast Moki is here and 3D Brick Breaker Revolution is here in the Marketplace.

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Although GoVoice just hit v2.5, its closest competitor, GVoice has been left in the dust for some time now mostly due to some "issues" (to put it lightly) in Microsoft's app approval process. We mentioned about the fiasco a couple of weeks ago here.

Well, good news for GVoice users and the developer: his app has finally been given the green light after being in limbo for nearly 2 months.

It should go live in the Marketplace anytime now. To see the full change-log, including new features, hit the jump for the list...

Update: V1.2 is now live in the Marketplace, grab it here.

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Confession: big word game fan here. Second confession: had no idea about this game until today, even though it came out October 21st.

AlphaJax is  a killer scrabble-type game that allows asynchronus multiplayer turn taking--which basically means you can play other people who also have a Windows Phone. We just took it for a quick spin (playing against our own Rob Alvarado) and left darn impressed with the feature set:

  • Facebook & Twitter integration (for sending out invite challenges)
  • Challenge anyone in your address book, Twitter, FB or random
  • Save screenshot of your game (seriously -->)
  • Push notifications + Live Tile (!)
  • Chat back and forth
  • Can play up to 20 simultaneous games with friends

The game costs $2.99 but we think it's totally worth it so far. Gameplay is smooth, the options are rich and the chat feature is just a bonus. The only downside, we suppose, is that your opponent has to be on a Windows Phone 7 device. We'll try to get a full review up but in the meantime...who wants to play me...

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GoVoice has had quite the ride lately. For us, the Google Voice client has not worked properly since about v2.0 as we had problems with it crashing and no push notifications. Since then, we've been talking with Nick Yu, GoVoice's developer and watching him work through these many problems, a lot related to how complicated Microsoft's v1.0 Push system can be for developers.

We're happy to finally report that v2.5 is now live in Marketplace and working for us: it's faster, push notifications work and no crashing, in other words: perfect. There is also a new feature: "If your phone didn't receive text for some reason (low battery, Q full), GoVoice will resend up to 10 times."

Our advice? Uninstall your current version, soft reset and then go and re-download from the Marketplace. It may also help to unregister your device with GVMax.com for notifications and then have it re-set up. Grab it here.

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With a few people reporting issues with excess data being sent by their Windows Phone 7 over 3G (see update) an interesting question came about how to monitor your data traffic coming from your device. The typical method is data sniffing but traditionally this has been beyond the reach of most non-techies.

Eric Law on his MSDN blog has detailed a method using Fiddler to watch your phone's data traffic over WiFi (so this won't help with that 3G issue). Primarily this is a great tool for developers to make sure their app is not using excess data in any way but it can also be useful for those who just want to know what's going on.

For the record, we had some initial trouble getting this to work on our PC but you may have better luck as the process is pretty simple and straightforward--maybe 15 minutes tops and that's including reading. So give it a shot if you're curious and let us know if you learn anything cool.

Source: Eric Law/Fiddler Web Debugger; via Techie-buzz

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One thing that Windows Phones currently lack is a common API for accessing the compass feature, even though all phones require the hardware. As it turns out, some phones have easier access than others. My LG Quantum has the augmented reality app 'ScanSearch' which has a compass in it and evidently the Samsung Focus has driver support for a compass too.

Dave Amenta, responsible for Send to WP7 (Desktop) and Accent Changer has come through again with a compass app, albeit rudimentary, that totally works on the Samsung Focus (and presumably the Omnia 7). As of now, no support for HTC, LG or Dell, but that's probably just a matter of time anyways. We'll keep you posted.

As before, you'll need a developer unlocked device. Source code is available for developers too.

Read more here and thanks Dave for the heads up!

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The Daily Show official app for WP7 video tour

Fetching for $1.99 with no trial, the official Daily Show app could be some awesome companion program for what is a great show. Or it could be kind of a rip off, too much money for what is basically beta software

Guess which camp the TDS app falls into? So watch the video, save yourself the $1.99 and let us do the testing for you.

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Hooray! One of our favorite "brain games" has made a triumphant return to Windows Phone 7: Brain Evolution 2 by SPB software. SPB said Windows Phone 7 was an option just a few weeks ago. Guess they weren't kiddin'.

It just went live in the Marketplace and fetches for $4.99, which is on the high end for a non-Xbox LIVE game these days. Still, we've always really liked this game so we're gonna give it a thorough trial.

You can grab it here in the Marketplace. Oh and SPB, nice to see your back and can we have Quads next?

Thanks, @paulwillen, for the tip!

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Truecaller - Review

Need to look up a phone number that's appeared on your Windows Phone caller ID? Truecaller is a Windows Phone 7 app that will let you not only search by keyword but also by phone numbers.

Results are returned listing the name and address (if available), a link to show the location on TrueCaller's map, a link to search the result through Bing, as well as the ability to call the number or add it to a spam listing. While I like the ability to add a number to a spam list, there doesn't appear to be any way to manage such a list.

TrueCaller also gives you access to International numbers.  Just tap the Choose Country at the bottom of the main page and select the Country you would like to search.  For the most part, TrueCaller ran smoothly but from time to time, the app crashed while conducting the search.  It's not enough to drive you crazy and hopefully the next update will fix things.

There isn't a trial version available for TrueCaller but the full version is only $.99. If you need to search phone numbers, TrueCaller is worth a look at.

You can find the Windows Phone 7 app here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace and follow the break to see a video of TrueCaller in action.

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Kill the Duck - Review

Kill the Duck has been in the Top Ten list of Windows Phone 7 downloads for some time now. It's a free game for your Windows Phone with a simple gaming objective; shoot down as many ducks as you can without taking out any doves.

There is a little more to this hunting game. Each level is timed and you have scoring objectives to meet in order to advance to the next level.

Graphics have a classic gaming appearance and to take out a duck, simply tap the screen on the duck. For effect, cross-hairs appear on the screen. The doves are sneaky in that they often fly across the screen in between ducks making the shots more challenging.

The game ran smoothly with no glitches, bugs, or crashes experienced.  There is an addictive quality to the game and after playing if for a while, I'm not surprised Kill the Duck has stayed in the Top Ten Downloads for so long. 

You can find your free copy of Kill the Duck here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace and just past the break you can see a video of the gaming app in action.

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Liquor Run is a surprisingly neat little app, ported from the iPhone and Android, with a specific purpose: find liquor stores anywhere around you. The thing is, it does it well in a very fast and slick little package. By simply using your location, typing in address or zip code, the app shows all the known liquor stores in your immediate area. On top of that, it gives you turn by turn directions, maps, ability to call and local liquor laws for selling (hours, days, etc.).

Extended features include over 1000 drink recipes separated by category and a list of beers by alcohol content and calories. Did we mention it was free too?  Check out the vid above and if you think you'll want it, grab it here in the Marketplace.

Bonus trivia fact: In Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut (where I'm from), liquor stores are called package stores and we go on "packy runs". No joke.

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We already demonstrated that you can change the accent color or theme on HTC (but complicated) and Samsung phones, but now Dave Amenta has also added LG and HTC support to his simple app Accent Changer..

It's the same deal as before, you need to have a developer unlocked phone to sideload the XAP file, but once you do so you  can simply drag your finger to manipulate the color gradient. Heck, you can even restore the original value with a touch of a button.

And now that LG and HTC devices can join in, the circle is complete (Oh right, no Dell, sorry). Read more and grab the XAP here.

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Whoa, where did this come from? Even though the Daily Show is openly pro-iPhone, looks like they are showing some Windows Phone 7 love as MTV Networks (Viacom) just released an official app for the show.

From the description:

"Get the Quote of the Day and video clip for the most recent episodes. Share them on Facebook and Twitter. Search the entire archive of videos by category or topic. Drag topics together to narrow results to an interesting combination."

That's the good news. The bad news is it costs $1.99 and there's no trial available. Oh Viacom, you greedy devil you. And you just know you won't be able to watch the whole episode. Torn between our love of Jon and dislike of corporate media giant.

Grab it now, right here.


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Zombie Defense - Review

While Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst (see full review) has mutant freaks, Zombie Defense from Rush Forward has plain old zombies. The Windows Phone 7 game has you defending your neighborhood from a parade of the living dead.

The multi-level tower defense game offers ten types of zombies to defend against and three different tower weapons. Zombie Defense is an entertaining game for the Windows Phone but to see if it's worth the $.99 price tag, you'll have to follow the break.

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Wordish - Review

Like word games? Wordish is available for Windows Phone 7 that is a blend between scrabble and solitaire. It's an entertaining app for your Windows Phone that has you finding four words from stacks of letters.

Each letter is assigned a point value and the game ends when no more words can be created. No Springs Studios, the developer, has put together a nice package with Wordish and to find out more, hop on past the break.

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Apict - Review

Nostalgic over Polaroid styled pictures? If so, Olivier Payen has developed Apict for your Windows Phone that gives ordinary pictures that instant camera effect.

Apict can be applied to new photos, saved photos, and is accessible from your Windows Phone camera app through the "Extras" menu.

To read more on this $.99 Windows Phone 7 application, click on past the break.

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Panoramic, who just released the stellar BlackJack for WP7, is aiming to have their flagship app moTweets ready by February.

While Seesmic received a nice update, the official Twitter client still at 1.0 and Beezz doing alright, we're pretty excited about having ol' moTweets around again. Considered one of the top Windows Mobile Twitter apps (save Twikini, RIP), moTweets should be a pretty stellar app from this experienced company.

Fingers crossed.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, A--, for the tip!

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