Apps

Cortana is full of personality (maybe not as much as Arsenio might like you to think), and the developers that built out the assistant's library of responses were sure to build in some good doses of self referential humor. A lot of times what a tool really needs to do to connect with users is put a smile on the user's face. And what's not to love about Clippy?

Wait, Clippy?

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Microsoft has today unveiled a cheaper subscription option for Office 365 – Personal. Previously, consumers had to fork out $10 a month for the Home package, allowing up to 5 installations of Office. With the new iPad suite now available, the company has launched a package that limits installations, but opens up support for iPads and comes with a more affordable price tag.

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Color Weather is a no-nonsense weather app for Windows Phone 8. The minimalistic design changes the background color dynamically depending on the current temperature.

Along with the current conditions, Color Weather offers a five-day forecast so you can better plan your week. The weather app does have Live Tile support and while Color Weather’s simple design has a certain level of appeal, it may be too minimalistic for some.

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The next time I’ll meet evangelism folks from Nokia or Microsoft, I’ll give them a tight hug. Forget the market share discussions and fanboy arguments, the Windows Phone ecosystem is thriving in India. It’s a great time to follow the ecosystem, and makes my job easier (I hope Daniel is not reading this!).

Yet another key example of how Windows Phone continues to do well in India is the release of Airtel Money for Windows Phone 8.

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Those who grabbed Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers have been greeted with a collection of new features and updates to drool over, but one of our past beloved features has also seemed to disappear. After downloading the Developer Preview, you will notice that Bing search has been replaced by the very capable Cortana, but the ability to scan QR codes has seemed to disappear along with her arrival.

The well-loved Bing Vision featured has not been removed, but simply placed elsewhere. We are going to show you how to access Bing Vision on your device running Windows 8.1, along with three alternative third party apps that can get the job done!

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Offline Map data updated for Windows Phone

Along with all the excited in the air today about the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers, many will also see an update to Nokia’s Offline Maps.

Our tipster is seeing updates for the entire U.S. map collection and we’ve been able to confirm updates for New York. It does appear that the updates are for devices running Windows Phone 8.1. My Lumia 1020 is still running Windows Phone 8 and no updates are in sight.

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Back at Build 2014 (remember that, two weeks ago?), Microsoft announced their initiative to unify apps across their entire ecosystem. That way a developer could build an app once and deploy it to Windows Phone, Windows, and even Xbox. But to make that a reality there was some back-end housekeeping to be done in order to make that a possibility. One of those steps: making it so you can price apps the same across all the stores.

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Another week has blown by us and we’re now on the cusp of getting Windows Phone 8.1 sometime in the next five days. While you patiently wait to update through the Preview for Developers program, check out some new apps and games in the Windows Phone Store. We’re taking another look at the top games and apps that just joined Windows Phone this past week. We’ll also look at any major app updates and let you know about any cool betas going on. This week we’re checking out Flipkart, Foundbite and more!

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the national governing body for all cricket in India. Formed in 1928 and a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the BCCI owns all cricket events in India, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), an annual Twenty20 cricket tournament started in 2008 where different franchise teams participate for the title.

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There are so many weather apps on Windows Phone, but they’re fun to cover. Most people will be served by apps like Bing Weather and AccuWeather, but a lot of folks have different preferences and wants from a weather app. Some want a ton of details and as much information as possible, while others just want to know the current temperature. The fact that weather apps can vary is why we like covering them. Maybe the new weather app we’re covering will be perfect for you if you haven’t found the one for you yet. Today we’re checking out newcomer Blue Skies for Windows Phone. It’s simple, it’s clean and it’s currently free for a limited time.

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The super popular 4th & Mayor app for Windows Phone is one of the better (albeit unofficial) Foursquare apps out there. The app was released back on Windows Phone 7 and still the developer is releasing updates with more support and functionality implemented. Today's release adds yet more Windows Phone 8 support, as well as some other bits and pieces.

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Amazon has announced that it is acquiring digital comics platform comiXology for an undisclosed amount of money. Rising as a leader in digital comic distribution, comiXology is well known as one of the go-to places for comics across a variety of platforms. David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology, had this to say:

“ComiXology’s mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms. There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels.”

For the other side, Amazon released this statement from David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing:

“Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world. We’ve long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers.”

It isn't entirely clear how (or if) Amazon will integrate comiXology into its own catalog going forward, but this is a deal that clearly makes sense as Amazon grows its digital content library even further.

Source: Amazon; comiXology

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Last month we told you guys about a beta for a Windows Phone app called Boxcryptor. It’s an app that a lot of folks concerned over privacy and protecting their data might want to look into. Most of us use services like OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box to store and retrieve files in the cloud. Those services retain the right to search the content that you store on their services. Boxcryptor allows you to encrypt your data before storing it to the cloud. There’s been a Windows desktop app for quite some time, but we’re now getting a Windows Phone and Windows 8 app today. Let’s check it out.

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Rajasthan Royals is an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise representing Jaipur. Started in 2008, IPL is an annual Twenty20 cricket tournament where different franchise teams participate for the title.

The official Rajasthan Royals app for Windows Phone, published by Tata Consultancy Services – the franchise’s official technology partner - got bumped to version 2 recently for the upcoming IPL season starting this month.

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Week View 8 is a calendar alternative for Windows Phone 8 that centers around a weekly view of the calendar. Week View 8 does have monthly and yearly views but the calendar app is focused on approaching things one week at a time.

While the pending Windows Phone 8.1 update will bring plenty of changes to our native Windows Phone calendar, many may still yearn for alternatives. In using Week View 8 for the past few days, it comes across as a capable Windows Phone calendar app and if you prefer a seven-day approach, Week View 8 is an option worth considering.

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The weather's good here in the UK (caution: this is not a drill!) and we're here again with yet another batch of app updates on the Windows Phone platform. From Microsoft's own Translator app to Edomondo, we've got you covered should you happen to be out the loop. Head past the break for the full run through of recent updates released to the store.

Microsoft Translator

This useful Translator app enables you to quickly and conveniently translate text and other content for free. After getting a design refresh in a previous version, the app has been updated to 2.9, which includes the following:

  • Camera translation for Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Polish and Turkish
  • Offline translation for Polish and Turkish
  • Online translation for Maltese and Welsh
  • Wide live tile

If you haven't used Translator yet, we strongly urge you to give it a try. It's a sweet little app, particularly useful for when abroad.

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Microsoft is pushing out a round of updates to its Bing apps for Windows Phone that takes away the Bing. But only from the titles. So Bing Weather becomes Weather, Bing News becomes News, Bing Sport becomes Sport. You get the idea. So, if you accepted an update and suddenly wondered why your 'B' app category was somewhat thin on the ground, this is why.

You can still find them all in the store by searching for Bing, so at least you don't have to wade through endless weather and news apps to find what you want. And to find them on your phone just scroll a little further. Other than that it's pretty much business as usual!

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App Social updated with notification support and more

Nokia’s App Social picked up a new update today. App Social is available in the Nokia Collection and allows users to share and discover their favorite apps and games. Think of it as a mix between a social network and app store. Let’s check out what’s new in this recent update.

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Zomato is a popular restaurant finder Windows Phone app that gives you recommendations for restaurants in your area and lets you look at menus, pictures, contact info, and directions. The app allows you to check ratings and reviews of restaurants which you can search for by location, cuisine, or name.

Zomato is currently available in 41 cities across the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, the UAE, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, Turkey, Portugal, the Philippines, Qatar, and Sri Lanka.

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I’m lovin’ it. Are you lovin’ it? We’re getting more and more official apps into the Windows Phone Store. Yesterday, the official McDonald’s UK app hit the Windows Phone Store. It allows you to find restaurants and filter through listings. For example, you can look only look for McDonald’s with a drive thru, baby changing facilities, free Wi-Fi, whether they’re open 24/7 or other variables. You can also use the app to view the UKs menu, get nutritional info and much more. Not to be left out, McDonald’s Sweden has released an app into the Windows Phone Store too.

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