Apps

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Pictures Lab on sale for $0.99 for one-year anniversary

Pictures Lab is one of the top photo editors for a reason on Windows Phone. It's also one of the oldest, now coming up on its first birthday. As a celebration of that milestone and for hitting v3.2 in the last 24 hours, the app is on sale for $0.99, down from its original $1.99. The app went all Mango on us with v3.0 and you can see it in action here.

If that seems like a good deal or you just want to try the trial, head here to the Marketplace.

via @rschu

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Board Express gets a major update to version 2.5

For those of you who use Board Express, the Tapatalk client (site) which enables you to effortlessly browse and post to forums, you'll be glad to know that after an eternity, they've finally released a major update with bug fixes galore. It's last major update was in February with 2.0.The bad news, as seems to be the theme today, is it is not Mango-ready.

Still, lets not knock all the major fixes that are on board, which will hopefully resolve most of the problems some folks have been having:

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IM+ v1.7 now available but still not Mango ready

The good news is an updated version of IM+, version 1.7, has just gone live in the Marketplace. The bad news is this is not the Mango-updated version, despite earlier reports from SHAPE Services themselves on the matter.

So what is new?

  • Fast start, scrolling and contact searching;
  • New Yahoo features: "Show address book contacts" and "Logout from all location".

"Fast start" sounds a bit promising and indeed, the app does start and load a tad faster, though we can't help but imagine a Mango version would, you know feel even better (plus that fast-app resume is desperately needed). The contact searching feature is also a great option and scrolling seems a bit smoother to us as well.

We'll reach out to SHAPE Services and see what they have to say about the missing-Mango version. Grab the Pro version here in the Marketplace.

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CleverPhoto - Review

Looking for a photo editor for your Windows Phone? CleverPhoto is a simple, yet comprehensive photo editor for your Windows Phone. The user interface is straight forward and the tools offer you plenty of options to fine tune your images.

When you first launch CleverPhoto you are given the choice of launching the camera app to capture your photo or select a picture to edit from you Pictures Library. Once you've captured or selected a photo, you're taken directly to the editing chamber.

To see what all you can do with CleverPhoto, snap on past the break.

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We've had quite a few updates to some major apps today, so lets recap on what we got, shall we?

First up is Netflix, gets bumped to version 1.5. Is this the big Mango update with tons of cool new features that we've been hoping for? Nope. Just a plain Jane "bug fixes" update with nothing new, as far as we can tell. Find something we missed? Let us know in comments. Pick up v1.5 here in the Marketplace.

Next is MSN Movies. A nice freebie app from Microsoft that for some reason has ads (how tacky for a MS app, sorry), this baby though got a nice Mango update today. Hooray! So you get some fast-app switching and the ability to pin movies (but not theaters?) to your start menu. This is actually a pretty nice, minimalist movie show times app with trailers and movie news on board too, so it's worth checking out. Give v1.3 a spin here in the Marketplace.

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NAVIGON - Review

NAVIGON hit the Windows Phone Marketplace a few days ago with mixed reactions. Some felt the navigational app was a really nice addition to the Marketplace while others were hesitant on the price. Some felt that having an option to download specific maps might help take the bite out of the hefty price tag.

Speaking of which, let me break the news to you right out of the gate in case you've missed it. The $29.99 price tag for the U.S. version of NAVIGON is an introductory price. After November 15, 2011 the price jumps up to $49.99. European introductory pricing is set at 59.49 Euros until November 15th and then the price jumps to 84.99 Euros.

With the price being amongst the highest for a Windows Phone app, it's natural to ask "Is it worth it?". Especially when lower priced alternatives are out there that can navigate you around town pretty darn well in their own right.

Over the past few days, we took NAVIGON out for a test drive and ease on past the break to see how things measured up. See if that $29.99 (soon to be $49.99) is a deal or a steal.

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Even though Navigon's Windows Phone app, NAVIGON, and the NAVIGON Traffic4all app are already available over at the Marketplace, we've received official notice from Navigon on the release of these two apps. Even though the release is dated yesterday and there's not much new in the press release, there is one little blurb about pricing we thought was important enough to follow up on.

According to the press release, the $29.99 price tag on the U.S. version of NAVIGON is an introductory price. The introductory price will run until 11/15/2011 when the price will jump to $49.99. We are trying to get clarification from Navigon if the $69.99 price for the European version is discounted as well.

As we mentioned earlier, the Traffic4All is a free, ad-supported app or you can pay $1.49 to remove the ads.

We're still working on a full review of NAVIGON and should have that posted in the next day or so. We'll try to give you a better picture on how good or bad NAVIGON performs plus how it compares to a few other navigation apps that are available for your Windows Phone.

In the meantime, you can find the U.S. version of NAVIGON here in the Windows Phone Marketplace, the European version of NAVIGON here and NAVIGON Traffic4all here in the Marketplace.  You can read the full presser from Navigon after the break.

Update: Just got tipped by Antonino over at Plaffo.com that the European pricing is an introductory offer as well.  Up until 11/15/2011 the price for the European version will be 59.49 Euros.  After the 15th, the price jumps to 84.99 Euros. 

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Although we have Navigon, INRIX, Garmin and a host of other navigation/traffic apps out there, Waze is still one of those that many are waiting for to hit Windows Phone. For those who forgot, Waze is a combo GPS, social-network and traffic app that relies on use-interaction for live, up to date traffic data. With 4.5 million users, especially on the iPhone, it's become quite the app to have for those who do the daily commute.

The bad news is, don't expect an official client anytime soon, an odd omission considering that Microsoft has invested in the company. But as least way back in December, Waze was not on board with WP7 (perhpas they've changed their mind though).The good news is there is an unofficial version built off of their public APIs, meaning you can basically enjoy the benefits of Waze without their support.

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Navigon lands in the U.S. and European Marketplaces

NAVIGON has landed in the Marketplace and boasts to transform your Windows Phone into a fully functional mobile navigation system. A system every bit as good as a personal navigation device.

We'll be taking NAVIGON out for a test drive over the next few days but here's what we know. It's a HUGE download. 1.6GB for the US version and 2.3GB for the Europe version.

When you buy the $29.99 app ($69.99 for Europe) from the Marketplace you only install the shell of the app. When you first launch NAVIGON, you are prompted that additional files are required and due to the size you'll need to connect to a Wifi Network or your computer. Once you hit the download confirmation, sit back, relax, have a snack and watch the progress meter move along ever so slowly.

Hit the break for more information on the latest Windows Phone navigation app and a video short take on NAVIGON.

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Yes, NAVIGON is having a big day today. They've released their famous GPS mapping software to the masses and we'll have our video/hands on up in a few. Until then, you can grab their ad-supported Traffic4All app in the Marketplace (or pay $1.49 for no ads).

The app is powered by INRIX, of which we already have a free version in the Marketplace. So why use Traffic4All? Dare we say it's much better than INRIX's attempt--you're getting NAVIGON's maps, INRIX's traffic info and the layout is much more smooth and easier to manage.

We really dig the forecast option, or more specifically, how it's implemented. Scrolling is also nice and smooth and the options seem top notch. Full feature list:

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We're kind of big fans of the app "...I'm a WP7!" as it's elegantly designed, feature rich and well, it's free. We mentioned v3.2 a few weeks ago, including some new features that were on the way and today, you can grab that update.

Here are the new additions:

  • Download Wallpapers & Ringtones
  • Task “Extras” like Wi-Fi and Airplane Mode access, even a fun little WP7 Flashlight
  • The GamerHub™ (this is a BIG COOL FEATURE) with Gamer “MeetUps”
  • Tons of Live Tile integration, essentially all areas can now be pinned: Messaging, Forums, GamerHub™, Tips & Tricks

The gamer meetups are pretty awesome--basically if you're a Gears of War fan, or enjoy online multiplayers, it's a quick way to call up a bunch of folks from the community for a match up. You also get gamer news integrated right into the app, which is convenient.

But for the wallpapers and ringtones alone, it seems silly not to pick up this app. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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WeatherMaster - App Spotlight

No argument here. There are a lot of weather apps available for your Windows Phone. You have the full gambit from Accuweather to WeatherLive. You can now add WeatherMaster to the pot and it ain't too shabby of an addition.

WeatherMaster's main page displays the current conditions for your current GPS location and a seven day forecast (includes the current day). At the bottom of the screen are button controls to:

  • View a detailed page on the forecast (breaks things down hourly)
  • Pull up a weather map with satellite and radar layers.  You can even add cities to your forecast list from the map.
  • Add cities
  • Delete the current location

Additionally, from the "three-dot" menu you can access the apps settings, refresh the information and read about the application.

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Weather Channel App gets mangofied

We've received numerous tips this morning on the Windows Phone weather app Weather. Weather is the official Weather Channel app for your Windows Phone and it has been updated to version 1.7. The update Mangofies the app.

There are a few cosmetic changes to the app but the most noticeable change is the Mango fast resume and multiple live tile support. You can now pin any forecast city to your Start Menu and un-pin the tile from with the Weather.

From your location list, go into the edit screen and you'll see three options. One to give the location a nickname, one to set the location as your default location, and another to show as a live tile. Check the box to show the location as a live tile, save and the tile is created on your Start Screen. Un-check the box and the tile is removed.

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The official WordPress app for our phones has also got a Mango makeover with v1.3. Considering how huge WordPress is to the blogosphere, it's always great to see a well done official app out there for our users. The app hit v1.2 only in August, where it finally received landscape support. Now v1.3 looks to extend that by adding some Mango features. Besides the automatic fast-app switching, users can look forward to these new additions:

"Now with Mango support! You can now share pictures directly from your photo album to a new post in the app, as well as pin your blog to the start screen for quick access."

Sounds good to us. Now we have received a complaint from reader ron_from_RIFAS that it looks like the app has been pulled from the Marketplace. And indeed, if you search for the app, you'll be hard pressed to find it. Even the WP7Applist site has its red-banner warning that this app is not available. But we assure you it is there and you can download and install it just fine. Reason? It's listed as "Private" in the Web Marketplace. Why? We have no idea...

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Last.fm for Windows Phone finally goes to Mango

Good new everyone! Last.fm, everyone's favorite radio scrobble service has finally gone to Mango with version 3.x. You can now minimize this bad boy in the background and enjoy your radio with multitasking Mango goodness. In addition, you can pin your favorite radio stations to the Start screen for easy and quick access.

We've only played with it for a little bit but darn it all, it's a nice app--fast, smooth and great work on the integrating "Sharing" option. And considering this service is built into the Xbox 360 (for Gold Members), this a great extension to your phone. Grab the free app here in the Marketplace.

Thanks, Lerimer S., for the heads up!

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SkyMap - Mango App Spotlight

Good news for the star gazers in the house. The Windows Phone app SkyMap was recently updated to version 1.5. The update adds Mango features into the mix including fast app switching and a point to sky mode that uses the Windows Phone's compass sensors.

For those not familiar with SkyMap (here's our review) it provides interactive sky maps for any time (between 1900 and 2100), viewpoint and location on Earth. The app displays the different names, coordinates, magnitude, astronomical rise and set times plus additional information for over 110000 stars, messier objects, planets, sun and the moon.

If you're an avid star gazer or just wanting to learn more about the stars above, SkyMap is worth checking out. There is a free version of SkyMap available (ad supported) that you can find here at the Windows Phone Web Marketplace. An ad-free version is running $1.29 that you can find here at the Marketplace.  Remember, the update to SkyMap requires you to have Windows Phone 7.5 running on your phone.

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BayFest 2011 an event app for your Windows Phone

We all know that your Windows Phone is a great way to stay in touch with the world and tap into various sources of information. We've seen this capability to develop apps to help guide you around large theme parks such as Disney World (e.g. Disneybot) and now we are seeing smaller venues and events tap into the Windows Phones to guide you around these arenas.

BayFest 2011 is the official Windows Phone app for the BayFest Music Festival that will be held this weekend in Mobile, Alabama. The companion app puts all the information about the event on your Windows Phone. The app includes everything but the kitchen sink on the musical event including the schedule of events (over 125 live musical acts will play through out the weekend), details about the bands, a map of the venue, and information about the event's sponsors.

BayFest 2011, the app, is a good example how large events can tap into your Windows Phone to keep you informed on what's going on. A Windows Phone app takes the place of brochures that can get lost and impossible to update (outside of costly reprinting).

If your in the Mobile area, BayFest runs from October 7-9, 2011 and the current musical lineup includes Duran Duran, Ludacris, Tobie Kieth, Korn and 3 Doors Down. You can find out more about BayFest 2011, the event, here at the event's website.

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sleepPhaseAlarm helps you get the right Zzzzs

When not spending my time writing on this site, my real job is that of a medical sleep technologist (yes, an odd but fun career), so lets just say I have an unhealthy interest in the science of slumber.

Napping, while essential for healthy cognitive performance, can be done rightly or wrongly. In short, we have about 90-minute sleep cycles (varying with age), consisting of numerous stages of sleep N1, N2, N3 and REM. Waking up between the sleep cycles leaves you feeling alert and awake, while waking someone up in REM or N3 can be jarring--hence why it's avoided during sleep studies. In real life though, it's hard to know what stage of sleep you're in since no one is monitoring your EEGs (brain waves). A quick rule of thumb though is nap for 90-minute increments, plus add on X-minutes to fall asleep. While not perfect, it'll put you in the ballpark of a healthy, refreshing nap.

sleepPhaseAlarm is a Mango/7.5 app that basically calculates this for you and sets an alarm. With a simple interface, you tell it you want to go to sleep now (and then pick what time-frame works for you) or you set the time you need to get up (and it tells you what time to go to bed). The app is well designed and since it's Mangofied, the alarm is set and runs in the background (a true "set it and forget it" app). We gave it a quick spin and have to recommend it for those frequently needing catnaps during the day or a healthy night of full sleep.

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One of our readers, David (aka SilverSharkDev), as informed us about a Mango app he’s been working on called Content Shield. The purpose of the app is to store various kinds of data and protect it should someone else get hold of your phone.

Content Shield stores the following kinds of information:

  • Passwords – Store various kinds of passwords so you don’t forget them. Categories include Facebook, Twitter, etc. Passwords can be copied and then pasted directly into the phone’s web browser.
  • Jokes – Add text jokes of your own or download them from the developer’s Twitter feed.
  • Agenda – Add items to your to-do list, categorize them, and then move them to the Completed page when done. To help remind users of uncompleted tasks, the most recent task appears at the top of the Content Shield Main Menu. Tapping on it jumps straight into the Agenda. The number of incomplete tasks also appears on the app’s Live Tile.
  • Shopping – Create shopping lists in various categories, including groceries and birthdays. Any item in your list can be instantly searched for in the web browser. Don't forget to buy Christmas presents for the WPCentral staff!

The protection aspect of Content Shield comes down to password protecting individual sections of the app. Create a password and a reminder, and then assign it to anything or everything so that other people can’t view or change things. Me, I simply rely on my phone’s lock screen password to protect my stuff, but this could be useful for people who share their phones for whatever reason.

The developer promises to add more features over time. Content Shield will appear on the Marketplace soon, and it will be free.

Head past the break for a second video preview that demonstrates Content Shield’s Agenda and Shopping functions.

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With the news of on-demand TV content for Xbox 360 officially confirmed, Windows Phone owners might be feeling a little neglected. Don’t worry, guys, Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about us. In fact, watching TV on the 360 will be even more convenient for people with Windows Phones. That’s because Microsoft just announced the Xbox Companion App for WP7!

Ben Rudolph at the Windows Blog shares his experiences with the app:

  • "Finding Content: Just like on your Xbox, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. I used it to search “Featured Content” and pulled up the X-Men: First Class.
  • Learn more about what you’re watching, listening to, or playing: Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about. And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the “cast” page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content.
  • Control & Play: Once I selected the content and hit play, the Xbox Companion flips into “controller mode” in which I could navigate my Xbox, or control video playback of your video. The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote."

Microsoft has been promising stronger Xbox 360 and Windows Phone integration for a long time, and now it’s finally happening. The availability of the app, provided Microsoft advertises it a little bit, should help promote Windows Phones to Xbox 360 users, which can only be good. Speaking of availability, the Xbox Companion App doesn’t have a specific release date yet, but it should materialize sometime shortly after the Fall 2011 Dashboard update, which lands in November. It will of course be free.

Make the jump after the break to see video highlights of what's coming to the Xbox consoles. Around the 1:00 mark you'll see the new Windows Phone app in action.

Source: Windows Blog

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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Ringtone collection building in the Forums

One of the 500 features included in the Mango update included that ability to import custom ringtones on your Windows Phone. We've already touch on how to get the ringtones on to your Windows Phone. We've also looked at a few of the ringtone apps available on the Marketplace (Pimp my Ringtone, 1,777 Ringtones and Ringtone Maker (which isn't really a ringtone maker)).

The last piece of the puzzle, so to speak, is that a decent collection of ringtones are being gathered over in our Forums. In this discussion, you can find ringtones from Kid Rock, Dean Martin, Beastie Boys and Metallica. You can also find Homer Simpson and the theme from Rawhide.

All you need to do is download the attached file, make sure the genre is "ringtone" and import it to your Windows Phone (through the Zune software). The tone will appear in your Ringtone and Sounds settings as custom.

If you've got a favorite ringtone you'd like to share or one your looking for, feel free to join in on the Forum discussion.

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Cocktail Flow updated to Mango v3.4

Cocktail Flow is an app that allows users to find and try new cocktails with combinations of alcoholic beverages. You can input into the app what ingredients you have in your bar and cocktails are then identified that can be created for any event or occasion. We covered the app just before MIX'11 when a pack of cocktails named after Microsoft products was released.

We're now back reporting on version 3.4, which has just been pushed out. This update brings Mango goodness including pinnable tiles for individual recipes, live tile, push notifications and performance improvements. Cocktails can also now be rated and users can upload photos to the database. The app is continuously updated with new recipes being added and is often cited as the pinnacle of Windows Phone app design.

You can download Cotail Flow from the Marketplace for $2.99. Thanks Argenys for the tip!

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onePlayer - App Spotlight

A good number of households have a media server, whether it be a small setup with Windows Media Center on a desktop or a small dedicated server. The average user enjoys streaming movies, music and photos. Windows 7 performs well with the Xbox 360, but what about Windows Phone 7? This is where onePlayer comes in.

onePlayer allows the user to stream content (DLNA) to and from their Windows Phone, whether it be to a compatible TV, home server, media centre, etc. The app sports directory browsing, playlist creation and device discovery on the WiFi network.

Some highlighted features:

  • Stream pictures to the TV or PC.
  • Stream music (MP3) to your home stereo.
  • Stream and control video to the TV.
  • Listen your music on your windows phone, supporting background streaming.
  • Browse DLNA servers.
  • Mango/7.5 compatible

You can download onePlayer from the Marketplace for $1.99 (£1.49) with a free trial.

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