Apps

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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WhatsApp updated to v1.6 with new features, fixes

WhatsappEveryone's favorite chat app, WhatsApp, has received what seems like its monthly update--gotta love their commitment. Version 1.6 just hit the Marketplace with a nice changelog of minor new features and a bunch of fixes that must have been introduced in v1.5 from December:

  • Unread message count in chats pivot
  • Improve behavior when receiving photos on EDGE networks
  • Able to add unrecognized users to device contacts
  • Able to forward messages
  • Update status in UI when successfully setting your own status
  • When creating a group, able to remove users from initial list of invitees
  • Confirmation prompt when inviting a user to a group
  • Fix sort order in group chat invite screen
  • Workaround for "no text" problem caused by Advanced Configuration tool
  • es-ES localization

Not bad but nothing too crazy either. But those minor additions go a long way for users who rely on this everyday, so its always good to see. You can pick up WhatsApp for free in the Marketplace here. Thanks, Israel I., for the tip!

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Ffffound

We covered the app Ffffound by our own RogueCode a few weeks ago. The app pulls down user created pop-art from the site of the same name, Ffffound.com, but in a really svelte manner--great transitions, minimalist design and the ability to save to your device for use as wallpaper or sharing with others.

The app was recently updated to fix issues with saving and some device memory problems, letting it work fully as it should. It's a nifty little app that even has a Live Tile that shows the latest image, giving your Start screen a little pizzazz.

Ffffound

For $0.99 the app was a great deal, in our opinion, but now for the next week you can pick it up for free--no strings attached. That's a great offer for a very well deigned app, so might as well take advantage while you can.

Check out the video review after the break and grab the app here in the Marketplace.

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Windows Phone App Review: Fhotoroom

Fhotoroom for Windows Phone

There are plenty of photo apps for our Windows Phones but few will has as many features as Fhotoroom. The application not only lets you edit and share photos via Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and Tumblr but it also has its own camera app.

Fhotoroom offers a wide variety of modifications, adjustments, filters and effects for your photos.  At first launch, you are prompted to sign up for a free membership to the Fhotoroom website. Once signed up you can establish your user profile, send other members messages and enter your Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or Tumblr account information for easy sharing of photos.  You can use Fhotoroom without signing up for a membership but in signing up you get access to the Fhotoroom network where you can message other members and view their photos.

Fhotoroom is appealing not only for it's vast amount of editing tools but also for the relative ease of use.  Navigation around the app does take a little getting used to but not to the point it detracts from the app.

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Sonic's Jewels

Game emulators are always popular and so long as they don't offer the ROMs on board, they seem to be okay in the Windows Phone Marketplace. So it's with great excitement that we're anticipating the first SEGA Gamegear-Master emulator to land within a few days for your purchase.

The emulator, seen above in below in some screenshots, will cost $1.29 and there will be a trial for you to take for a spin. Named Sonic's Jewels, the emulator seems to be a spin off of the popular homebrew app Wario's Jewels 7 (WJ7) and features URL importation for games as well as Skydrive integration. In addition, game saves and even GameGenie codes are supported meaning this should be a fairly solid emulator, assuming the frame-rate and controls are good.

Sonic's Jewels

We'll see about getting an early hands on. In the meantime, start looking for some games you may want to play as over 500 are supported.

Source: Facebook

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GasBuddy for Windows Phone gets updated

GasBuddy for Windows Phone

The Windows Phone app GasBuddy has been updated to version 2.0. GasBuddy helps find the best gas prices in your location and allows you to report gas prices for others to take advantage of.

The updated version brings:

  • Directions provided by BING Maps
  • Easier gas price posting
  • An auto completion feature for searches
  • User awards/achievements
  • Improved GPS performance

The update also includes the customary bug fixes/performance improvements.

GasBuddy Screens

GasBuddy has a free membership option that allows you report local gas prices. In doing so, you earn points that can be redeemed for chances to win free gas. If you don't want to sign up for a membership, you can still use the Windows Phone app to find the best gas prices in your area. You can search for gas prices by city, state, zip code or just tap the gas pump icon to pull up prices based on your current location.

We've only tinkered with GasBuddy for a short time but it looks like an easy way to help save gasoline costs.  GasBuddy currently covers the U.S. and Canadian markets and is a free, ad-supported app that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Extras!

We know a lot of you folks enjoy your "I'm a WP7!". The free Windows Phone enthusiast app has had constant updates not for bug fixes but for new features nearly every few weeks. The developer, Liquid Daffodil has done a knock out job with the program by developing one of the most unique and dedicated communities around (well, except for our forums, ahem!). He's done all of this, remarkably, for free as that app doesn't even have ads in it--just straight gorgeous content.

Extras

Now, he's released a companion app called appropriately "I'm a WP7 Extras!" which brings a lot of advanced features that many users have been demanding. Of course, there is a price for those "premium" items which is $2.99. While some may balk at such a price, many users are more than pleased as the app sits with 5 out of 5 stars in the Marketplace right now. So, what do you get for the cost of a cup of coffee?

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Your Shape 2012

We've covered Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and its companion app before but for those who don't remember, Your Shape is a Xbox 360 Kinect title that helps you exercise and get fit. The corresponding companion app allowed you to track your progress, see your rankings, get Your Shape news, etc and it was a pretty nifty thing to have.

With the new year, UBI Soft released Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 for Kinect. That game is a big overhaul of the 2011 version with a new UI, many more exercises and just overall a much better experience (we picked up ours for $29 on Amazon.com, which was a steal). So it's nice to see that the companion app too received a makeover and we really like the changes:

  • Brand new design and accessibility improved.
  • Guest mode for players without a Uplay account.
  • Live Tile to display your current level and calories burned.
  • You will now be able to interact into the application: create, join and abandon current competitions

Your Shape 2012

Nice changes indeed. The ability to create goals is quite useful and the Live Tile with calorie counter is a a great way to stay motivated. Look, we're not going to get all preachy about health, but if you have a Kinect you owe yourself to get this game (or any other Kinect fitness title) and really use your Xbox 360 to help better yourself as well as have fun. Having this Windows Phone tie-in makes it that much cooler and we hope we see more instances like this in 2012 (except for you, Dance Central 2--get back in the corner).

Pick up Your Shape here in the Marketplace for free. Check the official trailer for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 after the break...

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acceleromter

A good developer will add this option to their app: disable accelerometer. We've seen it in some Twitter apps and even our own WPCentral app has a "lock portrait view" option. Still, there are times when you want to do this globally because perhaps you can't sleep and want to use your phone while lying on your side in bed--hey, it's your world!

In that case, Windows Phone Hacker has provided a neat homebrew tool that disables the accelerometer on a global but temporary basis--great for those odd moments when you just don't want the phone rotating your apps.

That's the good news. The bad news is this is only for interop-unlocked Samsung and LG devices, meaning if you're on HTC or Nokia, you're left in the cold. Plus, you'll have to reboot your phone in order to gain back the accelerometer functionality, suggesting this isn't as elegant as we'd like it (but that's not the fault of WPH, who did what they could).

For those of you interested, you can grab the app here at Windows Phone Hacker to side load. Remember, only Gen 1 Samsung and LG devices can use this app. Finally, check our all the other homebrew Windows Phone apps here: wpcentral.com/tags/homebrew Thanks, Carlos, for the tip!

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HeyWire free texting app now on Windows Phone

HeyWire is now available for Windows Phone

HeyWire (see website) is a cross-platform app that enables users to text each other for free from the US and 45 other countries.  It sends SMS over any internet connection from iOS, Android, "dumb phones," and now, Windows Phone. 

"We are very excited to provide the only free texting app in the Microsoft Marketplace -- a platform that Gartner predicts will capture the number two smartphone spot by 2015," said HeyWire founder and CEO Meredith Flynn-Ripley. "This was an important service for our company to bring to consumers, which continues HeyWire's mission to facilitate free global communications amongst groups of friends. Now, WP7 users can send and receive text messages with friends on multiple devices, quickly and easily."

HeyWire not only lets you connect across mobile platforms, but Twitter as well.  It has a simple, straight-forward user interface and can be downloaded for free here. Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

QR: HeyWire

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Scam

We saw this before with a fake Spotify app that was being sold on the Windows Phone Marketplace and now we're seeing it again. Scam artist Manikandan S is selling for $1.99 (with no trial) "Chrome" which he flat out claims "is same as a google chrome web browser":

"Keep Chrome Browser handy on your device, especially for those unavoidable times you are on a slow crowded network, away from Wi-Fi. This app is same as a google chrome web browser. It has most stylish search button. Facebook, Google, Yahoo! -with Chrome Browser, all your favorite sites work great on your windows phone."

Clearly, this is not the same and both violates Google's copyright and is false advertising. Rather, it's just IE9 with a not-so-fancy wrapper around it. What's worse is the plethora of negative reviews which we could only take as an indication of numerous purchases.

Hopefully Microsoft will respond by yanking this app ASAP like the fake Spotify, but in the meantime, consider this a warning.

Source: Windows Phone Marketplace; Thanks, q21701, for the tip!

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Windows Phone App Review: Dance Central 2 Dance*Cam

Dance Central 2 Dance*Cam Lead

The potential of connectivity between Windows Phone and the Xbox 360 console is vast. We’ve seen mobile Xbox Live games function as companions to their console counterparts (Full House Poker, Kinectimals, and Fusion: Sentient) and a couple of apps that connect with the console (Halo Waypoint, Xbox Companion App). The Dance Central 2 Dance*Cam, which WPCentral first discovered in December, falls in the latter category... Unfortunately, the app comes from a developer called AKQA rather than Harmonix, and they don't seem to understand what Dance Central fans would actually want from an app like this.

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Metrogram?

Last weekend we broke the news of an unofficial Instagram client coming to the Windows Phone Marketplace and it was to be called Metrogram. Developed by Bil Simser (@bsimser), the app would give users access to viewing and sharing Instagram photos. Simser was also working on trying to get permission from the Instagram folks to actually allow Windows Phone users to submit photos--if that permission was granted, he would have a client with a few weeks to enable that feature.

Now, we got word that a Metrogram app has indeed landed in the Marketplace but this is not by Simser but rather by Nazer Aminou, the same guy behind WP Shortcut Tiles. Still, it's an interesting app but no, don't expect any ability to take pics with your phone and submit them to the Instagram network--indeed, all you can do is browse their network and login into your account. It's not bad per se, but obviously quite limited and not the full-featured Instagram client that Windows Phone users want.

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4th & Mayor v3.2 now with menu support & QR checkin

4th & Mayor v3.2

We like app updates, especially when they come so quickly after previous app updates. Jeff Wilcox is on a rampage with his Foursquare app 4th & Mayor which is just going live in the Marketplace with v3.2.  We just had an update to this a few days ago and now v3.2 adds even more features. One of those is "Menu support" for local restaurants in your area, a new addition introduced by Foursquare on January 18th. It's so new, Windows Phone is the first second mobile OS to support it (Android users beat us, ever so slightly).

  • Powered by Foursquare and Single Platform, many places now have a menu available - you’ll find it right under the mayor information when looking at a place
  • Available in major US cities, over 13 million menu items at 250,00 restaurants - with more on the way!

In addition, you can now scan in at some venues by using a QR code. Evidently, some establishments are using QR codes at the front which you can scan to do the checkin, giving users yet another method for racking up those points:

4th & Mayor v3.2

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IMDb v1.3

Updates for the official IMDb app are few and far between, heck we're just hitting v1.3 now, but at least it's a significant improvement. The popular movie and film database has been out since day one on Windows Phone, but it's missed a lot of the cool new Mango things, including a Live Tile. Version 1.3, which just went up today, fixes this along with other reported issues:

  • Bug Fixes
  • Search integration via App Connect
  • Social sharing of Movies and People
  • Live Tile support

Not too shabby and it feels a bit zippier too. We still find ourselves swiping when we should be tapping and vice versa on occasion, but the ability to share on social networks, the Bing 'App Connect' feature and Live Tile go a long way. Speaking of, we're still waiting for our Live Tile to update so we're not entirely too sure what it does nor looks like, but we're sure to see in the next hour or so.

Pick up the official IMDb app here in the Marketplace for free. Thanks, Nicholas M., for the tip!

QR: IMDb

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SuperTube?

Good news for those of you who didn't bother to buy YouTube Pro--your SuperTube app just transitioned to the updated look and feel of the new app. That's right, if you go and re-download "SuperTube" it will turn into YouTube Pro on your device--same app, same icon, etc.

That's a pretty good deal for those of you who didn't want to layout the extra $0.99 for the "new" app. Of course, if you did pay the $0.99 then you're a bit out of luck as you now have two versions of the app. (We're in the latter camp).

You can download SuperTube right here in the Marketplace to get the new updated version.

Thanks to eveyrone who sent this in!

QR: SuperTube

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Windows Phone App Review: AutoPanorama

AutoPanorama for Windows Phone

AutoPanorama, as the name implies, is a panorama app for your Windows Phone. The app is very similar to Pano and will stitch two or more images together to create that wide panoramic look for landscapes, indoor shots or any other situation where you can't step back far enough to get everything captured in one shot.

AutoPanorama can do a decent job at merging the individual photographs to create panoramas.  But I found that the app struggles more times than not to create a seamless, level stitching or merging of the photographs.  AutoPanorama is a nice option for Windows Phone cameras that lack a native panorama feature but you need a bit of patience and a sturdy tripod.

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NASA ringtones for WP7 free until the end of February

In space, no one can hear you scream...but thanks to Help Software, they can at least hear your phone ring.  Their NASA ringtones, which will normally run you $.99 are now free until the end of February.  The set includes sounds from Apollo and Mercury missions, Sputnik’s beeping, shuttle launches and more. 

“NASA has been making historic sounds for over 50 years,” said Jerry Colen, NASA App project manager at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.  "Now we’re making some of these memorable sounds easy to find and use.”

The app contains 24 different ringtones that you can preview and save to your phone. 

Get them here before they fly away.

QR:: NASA Ringtones

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Square App

We previously took a sneak peek at the app Square (with a quick video demo), developed by Lawrence Gripper (the developer behind the BBC News Mobile app), Chris Sienkiewicz and Dave Crawford. Square is a photo and contact sharing app which uses QR codes allowing for seamless transfers to be carried out between platforms.  

One can download Square from the Marketplace for free. Check out (and "like") the Facebook page for more information and updates.

QR: Square

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Torchbear for Windows Phone updated to version 1.4

Torchbear, the popular social location based game for your Windows Phone, has been updated. Version 1.4 allows users to exchange with at least three of the nearest torches with no distance limitations. For those not familiar with Torchbear, you create a torch that is passed around from player to player to see who's torch travels the furthest. A torch is a message with a mission and purpose. For example, your favorite dessert is chocolate cream pie and you want to have others share what their favorite dessert is.

Other changes that come along with version 1.4 include:

  • Total Distance now displayed in the player summary screen
  • Players receive one point for unique torch exchanges greater than 10 miles
  • Maps now autozoom to show all torch positions
  • A menu option has been added to "Tell a Friend" about torchbear

You also have the customary minor bug fixes and game flow changes to improve the experience. Torchbear is a free application and does require member registration (free) to participate in the game.

You can grab your copy of Torchbear here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Torchbear

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WP Central

BoxShot, a light Dropbox app for Windows Phone, has been updated to 2.2. In this update we now have pinnable folder functionality, allowing users to pin individual folders from their Dropbox account to the home screen for more convenient access. The app will also now be displayed in the Pictures Hub under the "Applications" pivot, and a few fixes were thrown into the mix.

You can download Boxshot from the Marketplace for just $.99 (79p), with a free (ad-supported) version available. Be sure to check out our full review of the app too.

QR: BoxShot

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If you're like us, you woke up this morning to an update for Version 2.0 our official WPCentral App. Developer (and podcast co-host) Jay Bennett has been hard at work these last few months incorporating all those changes and features that you've requested. In addition, new optimizations and layout changes have made the experience even better. So what's new? Let's cut to the chase...

WPCentral v2.0

  • Redesign of the app interface
  • Comments system with add, reply-to and delete (tap and hold to see more options)
  • Offline article reader
  • Brand new wallpapers section - more to come in v2.2
  • Customisable live tile
  • Articles with multiple Apps to download now provide a list for you to choose from
  • Added developers section
  • Multiple optimisations & speed improvements

As you can see, the BIG addition is the ability to finally comment on posts from within the app. Heck, you can reply to specific people and even delete your comment...hoorah! Plus with our new Live Tile system, the app will look even more pretty on your fancy Start screen. Not to be outdone though, Jay is already hard at work on v2.1 which will be some minor bug fixes, so expect that soon too. Then comes version 2.2 with our Wallpaper feed (previewed in the app now).

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WP7applist updated for Mango, still quite handy

WP7applist Dark theme

Our awesomely named fried Luigi Violin recently published a couple of updates for his WP7applist app. The first, version 1.3, added Mango support but had a few kinks which version 1.4 irons out.

WP7applist version 1.3 release notes:

  • Added Fast App Switching support
  • Graphical makeover
  • Improved UX
  • Infinite scrolling lists
  • Performance improvements

WP7applist version 1.4 release notes:

  • Revised graphics
  • Dark theme added
  • Various graphical improvements
  • Better ad placement
  • Fixed UI lagging introduced in v1.3

The new theme really does look much slicker and more in tune with the general Metro theme – just check out this comparison shot versus the original:

WP7applist Comparison

As for the ads, they appear at the top of the screen when browsing the app’s various subsections (Games, Price Drops, etc.) but not on the main menu. This keeps the main area attractive and clutter free – a nice compromise between the user experience and needs of the developer.

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Windows Phone App Review: BoxShot

BoxShot Review

BoxShot, if you haven't guessed already by the name, is a Dropbox client for Windows Phone, which can be found on the Marketplace for just 79p ($0.99) with a free version also available. Should you be a frequent "boxer" then this app will be perfect for your file synchronising needs. It's a simple, light app that gets the job done.

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