Apps

Space Weather

We joked around about the Windows Phone app Space Weather a few months ago. We pointed out how it's a gorgeous, well written app that we (personally) had no use for--but we really wish we did, because it's so cool. For those who don't know what Space Weather is:

"Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space or the space from the Sun's atmosphere to the Earth's atmosphere. Space weather affects our planet, our technology, and all living things in many different ways. Solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and solar radiation are a few ways space weather can wreak havoc on the earth. It can also create beautiful auroras can that be seen near the poles and sometimes much further."

Neat stuff and the app has had a few updates since we wrote about it back in August. Evidently, the app went on a temporary sale from $1.99 to free for Christmas and we just go word that sale is ending soon--like today/in a few hours. So we recommend you go get it now and add it to your Marketplace for safe keeping--once you lock in the free price, it's yours forever, so what's to lose?

In exchange for the developers giving it to you for free, they ask the simple: help spread the word! Leave them feedback/ratings in the Marketplace, Tweet and share it on Facebook, etc. Seems like a fair deal if you like the app, no?

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Microsoft's Suggestion Box Windows Phone app

Microsoft Suggestion App

Microsoft has released an app for Windows Phone to complement the suggestion website that's up and running where visitors can submit and/or rate suggestions for the platform. Users are able to login with the website credentials (sign up should you not already have an account - can be achieved within the app), and are then able to contribute to the feedback queue while on the go.

Some highlighted features of the app include:

  • This app connects your Windows Phone to the Windows Phone Suggestion Box forum (http://windowsphone.uservoice.com)
  • Suggest new capabilities and features
  • Browse current suggestions (sortable by top ideas, hot ideas and new ideas)
  • Comment on submitted suggestions
  • Add up to three votes to suggestions

The Suggestion Box app can be downloaded from the Marketplace for free. 

Suggestions App QR Code

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Home Control

We previously covered Julien Schapmen, of Touch Xperience, who produced a homebrew solution for Windows Phone owners who desire to use their mobile phone to achieve home automation. From changing the channel on your television, to altering the colour of your LED room lights, the hack was pretty cool, but hadn't reached the Marketplace for the average user to download. 

We can now turn our heads to an unofficial Switch King client for Windows Phone - Home Control. To be able to use the app, you'll need a Switch King server and Telldus Live service set up. There's a free trial available that allows full functionality for up to five (5) devices. To attach more home devices, you'll need to fork out $2.49 (£1.99).

Check out the video after the break for an app demonstration (as well as some funky music), and download Home Control from the Marketplace.

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Add a twist to your messages with MyTextTwister

MyTextTwister for your Windows Phone

Need to spice up your text messages? Want to drive your friends crazy with upside down text messages? Want to do the same with Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live posts?

If you do, check out MyTextTwister over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. MyTextTwister adds a creative touch to your messages and posts with text effects such as inverted, rounded, leet speak, and lots of ASCII art effects.  A recent update to the app added a holiday theme to the available art effects.

MyTextTwister

MyTextTwister's interface is simple. You have one field to enter your text in a normal fashion and a preview field to show the effected text. Just below these two field is where you choose your Twisting Logic. Down below are buttons to add ASCII decorations, send the text to your SMS client, email the text or send it to a Facebook, Twitter or Windows Live.

It is noted in MyTextTwister's Marketplace description that sending ASCII arts and text effects relies on your service provider's support for sending 16-bit unicode text SMS and the receiving phone's support to receive such messages.

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Executive Club

Enjoy golf? Own a Windows Phone? Fancy saving $30 on a top golf app available on the platform? Executive Caddie, winner of the Windows Phone App Challenge, has had its price slashed to $0 and is within reach for anyone on a tight budget after the present purchasing spree. The 20 year old golf analysis software is a golfer's best friend when aiming for the hole-in-one. 

The Windows Phone app sports a highly accurate golf course database, on-course GPS and scorecard functionality (for up to four golfers). The GPS assistance boasts some impressive features:

  • Easily see distance to front, back, and center of the green.
  • Easily see layup distance to the 100, 150, and 200.
  • Aerial Map View showing the entire course layout.
  • Map View fairway markers and rings for the 100, 150, and 200.
  • Waypoints/markers for front, back, center, layups, bunkers, hazards, etc.
  • Zoom to your current position, the green, or the fairway.

You can download Executive Caddie from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing over the festive holiday (normally $30).

Executive Caddie QR

 

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Windows Phone App Review: easyHeartRate

easyHeartRate for Windows Phone

We all know that our Windows Phones have tremendous capabilities but did you know that there's an app out there that turns your Windows Phone into a heart rate monitor? easyHeartRate is a Windows Phone app that uses your camera to measure your heart rate. easyHeartRate not only gives you a decent heart rate reading but you also have the ability to record and monitor your heart rate history, and calculate the various heart rate zones.

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Reddit users, your Baconit is here

“The Narwhal Bacons at Midnight”

We've mentioned in the past that Reddit (site link) is our favorite learning tool time waster and we've always enjoyed having a mobile-Reddit option. The web site is a massive collection of user-submitted stories, pictures and news where "Redditors" can up-vote or down-vote what they like. Going deeper, there are s sub-reddits for specific topics. It's a hilarious, often witty community where we often do learn a few things (as well as being entertained--hello F7U12)

Unfortunately, some of the past apps have not gone "Mango", which is a shame as fast-app switching, Live Tiles, notifications, etc. all seem very useful things for such a website. Now Quinn Damerell has made a dedicated, Mango app called 'Baconit' (the title itself is a bit of an inside joke). In development for sometime, Damerell has made quite the killer Reddit app in our opinion. No doubt he learned a thing or two interning at Microsoft last year (we hear he's also returning to join the Windows Phone team--big congrats!).

We've been running the beta for awhile now and the full version just went live in the Marketplace. The app is free, which is amazing for such quality and features everything you would want in a mobile Reddit app:

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Microsoft releases WPDev Feedback app [Developers]

WPDev Feedback

Here's a very cool thing that Microsoft has done (and probably should have done awhile ago)--an app designed for the sole purpose of getting user-submitted feedback on things they want for the platform.:

The WPDev Feedback app allows you to provide feedback and make your voice heard to the teams building the Windows Phone application platform. Suggestions provided via the WPDev UserVoice forum and this app will be reviewed and read by the Windows Phone application platform team, providing feedback to help with planning ideas and to better understand how developers are using the WP development platform, and all suggestions will be considered.
Key Features:

  • This tool connects your Windows Phone to the WPDev UserVoice forum (http://wpdev.uservoice.com)
  • Suggest new application platform capabilities and features
  • Browse current suggestions (sortable by top ideas, hot ideas, new ideas, and your ideas)
  • Comment on submitted suggestions
  • Add up to three votes to suggestions

WPDev Feedback

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Microsoft Research releases Face Mask

Face Mask app now available

Just a couple days after releasing Face Swap, Microsoft Research is at it again with Face Mask.  Where Face Swap used facial recognition to let you move mugs between bodies, this new app adds humorous features people's faces.  Choose between 20 different masks, rotate or resize them, then make your friends look ridiculous.  Face Mask can identify multiple faces in a snapshot and can randomize masks between them simply by shaking your phone.  Pictures can be saved to the People Hub, as well as shared via Facebook, Twitter and Sina Weibo.

Like its sister app, Face Swap, Face Mask is free.  You can get it here.  Also, if you enjoy this app, check out Funny Faces too. Thanks for the tip, Shadi!

Face Mask QR

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Radio Controlled

We showed you Radio Controlled last week--the new third party Pandora app from Bushwood Studios. The app itself has quite a nice design to it with a large "Live Tile" in the center, auto login and song-preview featuring the album art.

We're happy to report now that the app is live in the Marketplace, ready for you to take it for a spin. The app is of course free with ads and we think a lot of you will really dig the app's layout. Just as you expect from a Pandora player you can log in to your account, pick stations, create stations and stream in the background. You can also get more artist info via Zune, Pandora and Amazon, which is a nice touch not to mention the Live Tile for your start screen.

The app isn't yet listed in the Marketplace, but we have you covered. Head here to the Marketplace to get it now, click-to-enlarge the QR code below and check our video-sneak peek after the break.

Radio Controll

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 WP Central

Update: Closed Wow! what a response, I've already had over 200 applicants for the beta so in the interest of not disappointing too many people I'm closing applications. Please check out the video below for a demonstration of the app!

Merry Christmas everyone! It gives me great pleasure to announce to you that v2.0 of our app will be in beta in time for Christmas day, and I'm looking for 100 volunteers to try it out.

This build is not feature complete, in fact there are a couple of things in the works which we're not quite ready to show just yet. However the main purpose of this beta is to test two of the most important changes we're bringing:

  • A full comments system with replies (tap and hold an existing comment)
  • New, customisable live tile with images on the rear

Yes we were listening and we know comments is the most requested feature, and thanks to some site changes last month we're now finally able to deliver that feature.

Of course that's not all that's changed, and the other things you'll notice are...

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A Holiday gift from Cryp2pass

Cryp2pass

Cryp2pass is a password manager for your Windows Phone that will not only store your passwords but also generate passwords for your various accounts. In celebration of the Holidays, Cryp2pass is now being offered as a free application over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Cryp2pass takes advantage of the panoramic layout of Windows Phone and features ten pre-defined templates. Templates can be edited to suit your needs and range from bank accounts to your insurance accounts. The app itself is password protected and a backup of your password database can be created on your PC.

There's no indication how long the limited time offer will last but for the time being you can grab Cryp2pass for free here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Cryp2pass

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MetroRadio returns to the Marketplace with an update

MetroRadio v2

Back a few weeks ago we announced that MetroRadio had landed in the Marketplace, earning the title of being the first unofficial Pandora app for Windows Phone. Then Pandora made some changes to their undocumented APIs (something that should be anticipated) and the app stopped working. The developer then "hid" the app from the Marketplace until he could revise the app and make some changes--so there you go.

Now the app is back with v3.0 and it has a cleaner UI and more:

  • Faster loading
  • Changed the way the app gets its music
  • Added auto login
  • Added Now playing to the stations list
  • Fixed Issues with login
  • Fixed Issues with playback
  • Added more search results
  • UI improvements

Not bad. The app is still free of course and you can grab it here in the Marketplace.

MetroRadio

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Handelsbanken financial app lands in the Marketplace

Handelsbanken App

Sweden's largest bank, Handelsbanken, has released its official app over on the Windows Phone Marketplace. The Handelsbanken app gives customers access to a wide range of banking services including:

  • Balance and transactions
  • Transfers between own and others' accounts
  • Open and close bank cards for internet purchases
  • Open and close bank cards for purchases and withdrawals abroad

You also have the ability to find branch office locations, view current mortgage rates, and access tv feeds from Handelsbanken TV. The ability to close bank cards to prevent them from being used is lost or stolen is a very nice feature.

Handelsbanken is a free app over at the Windows Phone Marketplace and you can grab it here.

source: wingadget thanks goes out to Peter for the tip!

Handelsbanken

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Microsoft Research releases Face Swap

Face Swap from Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research has released Face Swap over at the Windows Phone Marketplace that allows you to swap people's faces around in photographs. Face Swap uses multiple face detection to identify everyone's faces and with a shake of your Windows Phone, the app swaps the faces around.

Once you've created your newly arranged photo, you can save it to your Photos Hub or share it directly to Facebook or Twitter. Face Swap is a free app that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It is a mango app so you'll need to be running Windows Phone 7.5.  Face Swap is sure to make for interesting Holiday group pictures.

Face Swap

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MSN Autos app is ready for a test drive

MSN Autos, now with ads!

Into cars? Neither are we. But that shouldn't stop those of you who are from taking a look at MSN Autos which just went live in the Marketplace. The app is basically a shopping guide for new or used cars and features the worlds longest app description, even though we just told you what it does. Here's a snippet, from page 128 of said app description:

MSN Autos for Windows Phone is your resource for new & used car news and research, whenever and wherever you need it. Check out photos, car specs, reviews and videos; tag cars as Favorites and catch up on the latest news and tips. The MSN Autos app is your resource for onsite research and comparison, so you’ll be more confident when stepping onto car lots.

Whether you are seriously shopping or simply browsing for a new or used vehicle, the MSN Autos app lets you easily find cars by:

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MyEncyclopedia

If you don't recognize the name Rudy Huyn, he's the developer behind TVShow and Fuse, two of the most popular apps on our platform. The reason why those apps are so popular (and revered) is due to his excellent design and coding skills. Even our own developer, Jay Bennett, called him one of the top devs on Windows Phone these days.

So with that intro, how do you not want to take a look at his new app MyEncyclopedia, which according to him is his "...little Christmas gift for all Windows Phone users"? The app is a Wikipedia front-end for Windows Phone, which in of itself is not unique, but the design, features and speed of it make it top notch. For one, it's extremely fast on loading articles which are formatting perfectly for our screens. Second, he's enabled the ability to pull down your location, show it on Bing maps and then show you Wikipedia entries around you--pretty slick. He also used his excellent sharing-screen from Fuse, which allows you to post the article to email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter and our favorite, generate a QR code for others to scan with their phone. Other features on board are:

MyEncylopedia

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BBC News Mobile is looking for beta testers

BBC News Mobile

If you use BBC News Mobile, the free and beautiful news app that's in the Marketplace, you may want to take the new beta for a spin. Besides being able to try all the new features, you can also give the dev some feedback before submission to the Marketplace, making this app even better for others.

Version 2.8.2 beta has a main focus for improvements: speed. Sure, the app is already pretty zippy, but why not squeeze some more performance out of it by streamlining some aspects, eh? Some other features include:

  • Background Cache Service
  • Better Live Tiles
  • Faster Loading
  • Reworked GUI
  • Picture quality improvement

Heck, there's even a snooze function for notifications (between 10pm and 8am) that we really dig too. Overall, the app is certainly faster on our end and we like the new UI layout for articles. But you can lend your opinion if you have a dev unlocked devices by heading to Gripper's blog and grabbing the XAP file from his server. And if you just want the current version in the Marketplace, here ya go.

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Windows Phone App Quick Look: Egg Timer

Egg Timer by MaginSoft is a handy application for your Windows Phone if your trying to boil an egg just right. The mango app is based on scientific methods and taps into your Windows Phone's GPS to calculate the time an egg needs to cook in order to reach your desired doneness.

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Windows Phone App Review: Sleep Bug

Sleep Bug

Sleep Bug is a Windows Phone health/fitness app that produces ambient scene music to help you relax and doze off to sleep. There are two versions available, Sleep Bug (free) and Sleep Bug Pro ($1.99). For the most part, both versions are essentially identical but Sleep Bug Pro has seven additional sound scenes or themes and Sleep Bug has only nine sound scenes and is ad supported.

The nine scenes that are available across the board include Beach, Music Box, River, Jungle, Weather, Horror, City, and Sci-Fi. Sleep Bug Pro adds Zen Garden, Forest, Train, Dreams, Outback, Airport and Underwater to the mix. Still not sure where Horror comes into play to help you relax and sleep.

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WeatherMaster gets bumped to v2.0

WeatherMaster

WeatherMaster is a simple, yet detailed weather app for your Windows Phone. When we first took a look at WeatherMaster we found it to be a very nice weather app choice for your Windows Phone.  WeatherMaster was recently updated to version 2.0 to bring mango features into the mix.

Some of the key features to the update include:

  • You can add new cities/locations (unlimited) or use your current position (GPS) as well
  • Seven day forecast with detailed view and temperature chart
  • US and Metric units are supported (Fahrenheit/Celsius, mile/km)
  • Mango Live Tile support with current weather condition and two days forecast info for selected city / current location
  • Pin as many Live Tiles (with city weather) as you want
  • Weather Map with Weather/Cloud/US Radar layers to check out nearby locations quickly
  • Supports Dark/Light mode and Tile icon uses your Accent color as background to integrate perfectly
  • Intelligent caching of weather data to avoid unnecessary data transfer

You still can't animate the radar layer on the weather map view (maybe in the next update) but it's nice to be able to add locations to your city list from the map view.  There is a free, two-week trial version available that is fully functional. The full version of WeatherMaster is running $1.99 and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Folders for Windows Phone Mango updated [Homebrew]

Mango Folders

We previously covered the homebrew Folders for Windows Phone app, which allows users to create live tile folders to store multiple tiles within. It's become fairly popular in the homebrew community and Windows Phone Hacker have updated the app to version 3. What's included in the update:

  • Support for custom accents (have to enter the colour code manually)
  • Optimization and bug fixes
  • Easier to pin applications
  • Able to use applications from other markets (e.g France)
  • Able to save the XAP to deploy manually (makes things easier)

You can download Folders for Windows Phone from Windows Phone Hacker. Remember that you require an unlocked handset and need to be running Mango.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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Feed Me removed from the Marketplace

Feed Me

For those not familiar, Feed Me is a well laid out RSS reader for your Windows Phone (here's our review). We've been contacted by the developer of Feed Me, forty3degrees, and informed that the Windows Phone app has been temporarily removed from the Marketplace.

"Feed Me will be temporarily removed from the marketplace within the next few days. Due to personal reasons I am unable to further develop or support feed me for the immediate future. However, I do hope to have a new version back online towards the end of the first quarter of 2012.Thanks go out to all of the people that have supported feed me over the last 10 months."

The developer is considering publishing an unsupported beta version of Feed Me until he can get a new version back on the Marketplace. You can reach out to forty3degrees through their website or Twitter account (@forty3degrees) should you need to reinstall Feed Me or voice your support for the Windows Phone app.

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Windows Phone Device Manager + Focus S

For those looking to literally explore more of your developer-unlocked Windows Phone (including CheveronWP7 Labs), you'll want to grab v1.8 of the Windows Phone Device Manger by Schaps. The app is a one-stop place for doing all sorts of cool things on your phone via your Windows Desktop--it's basically the old Device Manager from Windows Mobile but augmented with many news functions. Here are just a few:

Windows Phone Device Manager + Focus S

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Sneak Peek - 'Radio Controlled' for Pandora [Video]

There are a few Pandora apps in the works by 3rd parties and we have our hands on one of them that's just wrapping up beta testing: Radio Controlled by Bushwood Studios.

Based off of the MetroPandora SDK by Justin Angel, which was recently updated to fix the broken APIs, the app has some very nice polish to it--great graphics, fast loading and a unique use of a giant Live Tile within the app for artist/song info. With the updated SDK,  you no longer have to re-enter your login information every time you start the app and station selection works much better now.

Radio Controlled

Radio Controlled features a Live Tile which displays the latest song/album art right on your Start screen and over all gets the job done. The app will be free (ad-supported) and should be in the Marketplace sometime next week--don't worry, we'll let you know when it's live. Overall though you can see devs starting to do some real creative things with the Pandora SDK, resulting in a better selection for everyone. We're pretty excited to have this all going down.

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