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WP Central

Although the Scalado news is inspiring, Nokia is still in the rough as it plans to layoff nearly 10,000 workers by the end of 2013 in a continued restructuring of the company.

In addition, the Finnish firm is planning to close its facilities in Ulm, Germany, Burnaby, Canada and its manufacturing facility in Salo, Finland (Research and Development efforts in Salo will remain) while focusing on their Lumia line of phones including "broadening the price range of Lumia and continuing to differentiate with the Windows Phone platform". Part of the cost savings move has also been the successful divestment of the Vertu luxury line of Nokia phones to EQT VI for a rumored 200 million euros ($260 million).

Finally there are leadership changes as well including the promotion of former Microsoft executive Chris Weber from President of Nokia Inc. (US), and head of Markets, North America to executive vice president of Sales and Marketing, where he will join the leadership team of Nokia. The other changes in Nokia's leadership team can be found here.

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WP Central

This morning, Nokia has announced that it has acquired imaging firm Scalado for an undisclosed price. Nokia will be picking up everything including their specialists, intellectual property and technology from the company and will be incorporating them into the company sometime in Q3 2012.

Scalado has been working with Nokia for the last 10 years but they've also done work with HTC and most recently RIM on their upcoming BlackBerry 10 and it's new camera functions. That is certainly interesting because RIM itself is in dire straits and they just lost what many considered to be a key partner for re-igniting their brand. Of course what RIM already had in motion with Scalado will probably remain but the Waterloo company should start looking elsewhere for future camera development.

The good news here of course is that Nokia is clearly aiming to get some of the best camera functions on Windows Phone. Currently, HTC is in a bit of a renaissance with their ONE series which focuses heavily on cameras and media capabilities, giving Nokia and others a run for their money.

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how Scalado's know-how pays off on future Windows Phone 8 devices.

Read the full press release after the break.

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WP Central

Alleged photo of a Nokia prototype running Windows Phone 8

As we get closer to finding out about Windows Phone 8, more leaks are expected to happen. Such is the case on WPXAP where some alleged shots of a Nokia Vertu Windows Phone have shown up.

Vertu was Nokia's "high end" fashion phone division which is currently up for sale. The phone here, only partially displayed, shows Windows Phone 8 OS including some new features like native "Cloud Storage" (SkyDrive) support and what looks to be a whopping 54GB of storage (some presumed it to be a 64GB device).

The photos are reportedly only 3 weeks old and the leaker alleges that Nokia now may not being selling the Vertu division as evidenced by these photos. However, Nokia is reporting this moring that they have sold Verto to EQT VI.

Another interesting bit leaked is that " existing models all can be upgraded to WP8, but the function reduction (including the second generation functions) will be reduced" (translation). That backs up the current thinking of many that indeed current phones can run Windows Phone 8 but with more limited functionality e.g. no NFC or multi-core support.

What makes all of this frustrating of course is we cannot even see the phone (and what we can see looks...odd). Hopefully we'll see more of what's coming this fall soon.

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Nokia Lumia 800 now available in Venezuela on Movistar

WP Central

Good news for those in Venezuela, the Nokia Lumia 800 is now available exclusively on Movistar for Bs 4,399 on contract.

The Lumia 800, featuring a 3.7" screen, 1.4GHz CPU and 16GB of storage has been taking the world by storm, hitting numerous Latin and South American countries in the last few weeks. The launch of the Lumia 800 follows Microsoft's recent launch of the Windows Phone Marketplace in the same country back in early May, allowing users in that country to gain access to the nearly 100,000 or so apps and games.

Source: Lapatilla; Thanks, Andrés, for the tip!

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WP Central

Another rumor we want to squish is that there will be a new version of Windows Phone for "low-end" devices called "Neon".

The information first popped up on TWiT's Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott, Mary Jo Foley and Leo Laporte.  On Episode 264 (June 7th) at around 1:47:45, Thurrott brings up some developer documentation pertaining to Windows Phone 8 with four main points:

  • Avoid free for all multitasking, aka Android and Windows Mobile
  • Allow Mango customers to upgrade to Apollo (later mis-reported as "A lot of Mango customers won’t get upgraded to Apollo")
  • Allow Mango apps to support Apollo resolutions
  • Lower end devices support for Neon

The site Insideris then received an "anonymous tip" on the 13th with the same list and they reported that "Neon" may be the next version of Windows Phone for non-Apollo devices. This resulted in numerous emails here at Windows Phone Central and various people contacting us to comment on it.

So true or false?

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WP Central

We're getting a flood of emails from users noting that on Yahoo! News, specifically the "Upgrade your life" segment, Becky Worley is stating that current Windows Phones with Mango won't be able to get Windows Phone 8 "Apollo".

So did Yahoo! News just spill the beans on Microsoft's plans?

Not quite. For one, very few if anyone in the media knows what Microsoft has planned for current phone. More on that later. So the notion that someone from Yahoo! got the scoop is a bit funny.

Second, pay attention to her wording in the video segment: "...and Mango phones won't be able to upgrade to Apollo's new features"

Well, technically that is true. Windows Phone 8 is confirmed as supporting two new high resolution displays--768x1280 and 720x1280--in addition to the current 480x800 (Microsoft recently dropped support for 480x640--you heard it hear first). In addition, things like multi-core and NFC support will also be included. All of those features are new and no current Windows Phones will support them, obviously.

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LinkedIn email marketing for their Windows Mobile app?

LinkedIn for Windows Mobile?

LinkedIn, the service, is a professional social network that boasts a membership of over 160,000,000 that spans over 200 countries and territories.  The LinkedIn app for Windows Phone ties it all together and delivers the network rather nicely to your Windows Phone.

LinkedIn is apparently marketing the LinkedIn app through bulk emails but there's one slight problem. The graphic shows the app running on a Nokia Lumia 800 but references "LinkedIn for Windows Mobile". Not only once but twice.

Now we can understand that typos occur so we can cut the ad agency a little slack. But come on... it's been almost two years now since Windows Phone 7 took over as the Windows mobile platform.

The good news is the LinkedIn Marketplace description references Windows Phone. If you're a LinkedIn member or look to join the network and want a mobile solution, check out the free LinkedIn app here at the Windows Mobile...err.. the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

QR: LinkedIn

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It looks like Nokia in the UK are all set to start a new TV marketing campaign in the very near future as the above Lumia 610 commercial popped up on their YouTube channel a short while ago.

While the Lumia 610 may not be the 'daddy' of Windows Phones it does offer pretty good value for money and sits at a price point where it can compete with many low end Android and BlackBerry Smartphones. Vodafone currently is offering the Lumia 610 for £150 on Pay As You Go.  All of which isn't bad when considering that along with the typical Windows Phone features you also get Nokia Maps for local searches and also Nokia Drive which eliminates the need for a separate sat nav system.

Now we just need to see when the new advert airs. Will Nokia pay the big bucks and go for prime time at the weekend?

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Xbox Live Companion App for Windows Phone

Microsoft has updated the Xbox Live Companion app for iOS and released a version for the Android system. While there was no movement on the Windows Phone version, the iOS update may be a good indicator on what might be in store.

The Xbox Live Companion update for iOS takes that app to version 1.5 and adds the following features for the iPhone or iPad.

  • Discover fresh content from the iPhone
  • Connect to and control content on your Xbox console from the iPhone
  • Authentication improvements for the iPad
  • Retina display support for the iPad

Xbox Companion App for iOS

The Android version of the Xbox Live Companion is limited to:

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...I'm a WP7! getting a face lift and name change

I'm a WP7 getting a name change

Changes are coming to the popular Windows Phone app ...I'm a WP7!. Changes that will give the app a name change and a few design changes.

For those not familiar ...I'm a WP7! is a popular Windows Phone app that lets you locate Windows Phone users in your area, interact with them, share tips and tricks, have access to daily and weekly wallpapers, tap into custom ringtones and tons more. ... I'm a WP7! has grown so much since it's launch in April of 2011 that a core group of users have put together the "Uber Outsiders Guide for Noobs" to help guide everyone through the ...I'm a WP7! environment.

Outsider for Windows Phone

With Windows Phones moving to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 right around the corner, the developer has decided to change the name to better capture the nature and intent of the app. The version 3.12 update has been submitted to Microsoft for certification and will give ...I'm a WP7! a new name and slightly new look. With the update, ...I'm a WP7! will become Outsider for Windows Phone.

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Final Fantasy Achievement Guide

Final Fantasy is finally available, and we’ve already provided some beginner tips and resources to help players get started. Even advanced players will need help with the game’s Achievements, though. Why? They’re all secret, meaning players can’t view them in-game or through Xbox Live prior to earning them. This led many to speculate that the Achievements would all be story-related. As it turns out, that did not prove to be the case.

We know this because Achievement hunter-extraordinaire Zebrasqual managed to uncover Final Fantasy’s full Achievement list. Windows Phone Central then broke those Achievements down into categories for your convenience. Not only that, we’ve got tips and resources for the more challenging ones that will set you on the right track. It won't be easy though, so prepare for a lengthy journey!

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WP Central

Is this Windows Phone 8? We think so...

With less than week before Microsoft is expected to show off Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco, some leaked (and terrible looking) screenshots have appeared on the site Nokia Innovation.

The shots supposedly show off integrated Skype, including an incoming video call as well as a data usage app. You may also note the mention of "RCSe" near the bottom which stands for "Rich communication suite", an important feature coming to WP8. The next screen shot shows the camera app with a new button. Nokia Innovation does not know what that lower button is but we can tell you that it's for the "Lenses" function, which will most likely be revealed next week.

In fact, the only reason we're giving these sceenshots some credibility is the fact that Lenses button is 100% accurate. The rest we cannot vouch for but it does jive with what we've learned and seen ourselves.

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Official CNN app now available for all Windows Phones

CNN for all

"This is CNN...on all Windows Phones"

Well look at that, it looks like Nokia's 90 day exclusive on the official CNN app has finally expired--certainly a rare sight to see. The CNN app, which was developed in conjunction with Nokia and announced back at CES 2012, embraces the Metro design with unique features like the iReporter function for reporting news on your own.

For many on Windows Phones, the stranglehold on "exclusive" apps by Nokia was a thorn in the side--well, at least for those without a Nokia Lumia. But now you can download the exact same app with push notifications and local news to your non-Nokia device, resulting in what we imagine to be a loud cheer.

The CNN app ranks up there with the USA Today app as far as elegance and functionality. It's great to see it displayed on other Windows Phones for all. 

Pick up the official CNN app for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Scott H., for the tip!

QR: CNN

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Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy, one of the most-anticipated Windows Phone games ever, is now on the Marketplace! Why so popular? First off, it’s the only straight-up RPG (or JRPG) in the mobile Xbox Live library. Besides, while the Final Fantasy series is extremely popular the world over, Final Fantasy (part I) is only the third entry for Microsoft platforms, the first two being Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 on Xbox 360 (if we count the online-only XI, that makes a total of four). Windows Phone gamers finally have a chance to experience the series’ origin.

While the first Final Fantasy initially appeared on the 8-bit NES system, the mobile version is based on 2007’s enhanced Playstation Portable remake. Players will assemble a party of four warriors from a pool of iconic classes and then set out to save the world from the surprisingly unhelpful Elemental Fiends. Overworld and underworld navigation utilizes a funky-looking virtual pad for movement while the battles are more tap-focused. Mainstay RPG elements like grinding for experience and money to purchase new equipment and a huge danger-filled world to explore promise hours of entertainment.

Final Fantasy

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Tentacles lead

Repeat Deal of the Weeks are all the rage lately, and what better game to put on sale again than the graphically impressive and challenging Tentacles from Press Play? Just like back in December, Tentacles is on sale again. But the price is actually lower this time thanks to a recent price drop, making this the best deal yet.

Tentacles is the tale of a Japanese fetish gone awry. Wait, wrong tentacles! Actually, the game stars Lemmy, a small tentacled creature who ends up inside the body of his mad scientist creator. Unique touch controls allow Lemmy to move one tentacle at a time, navigating dangerous levels and eating eyeballs for health. With 40 levels (plus optional PDLC levels), beautiful 3D graphics and 2D story sequences, and an atmospheric soundtrack, Tentacles could be a game you’ll fall in love with.

One caveat though… As mentioned in our review, the difficulty ramps up in later levels (say 20 and on), leading to bouts of frustration. Depending on your patience and constitution, your experience could be different.

Tentacles is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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WP Advisor
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What is a Windows Phone VIP?

Very Important People. That is what VIP means to everyone, but what is a Windows Phone VIP Ambassador?

Microsoft created a training website called Expertzone, where Retail Sales Professionals could log in and take training courses on selling Microsoft products. In 2010, Microsoft created the Windows Phone VIP program and BIll Bush was at the helm building a new Windows Phone community. The program has grown to over 13,000 VIP's and nearly 100 Windows Phone Ambassadors.

Retail sales professionals can join  this exclusive site to get first hand knowledge, special events, contests, and fellow windows phone users to bond with. With a small amount of users of Windows Phone, there was an even smaller amount of sales associates that actually knew anything about the OS. With the Expertzone site, new employee's train to learn about  key features and talk to real windows phone users for advice on problems they were having, how to demo properly, and enter some really cool exclusive contests. The whole point of the program is to reward those individuals who really love windows phones by giving them more knowledge, exclusive meetups, rewards like t-shirts, pins, and phones. Their community is growing strong and keeps growing.

Microsoft is now upgrading the program to Windows Phone Advisors, where a current WP VIP's can refer other associates who want to become an Advisor.

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Facebook not playing nice

We have received a number of tips that the Windows Phone Facebook app and People Hub integration are not working. There are reports of the Facebook app not loading, passwords not being accepted and status updates not refreshing.  So far hard resets, deleting the account and re-installing, and tinkering with Windows Live permissions have been tried with no success. Manually syncing the Facebook account in the Windows Phone settings also fails to correct the issue.

While we would like to give you a reason for the problems but we are experiencing the same issues and have not heard of a cause. Some have suggested it may be an API issue with Facebook.  On my end, I've been watching the load screen for the Facebook app pass the four dots across the screen for the past five minutes.  And the last Facebook updates in the Peoples Hub was from last night.

If you feel like venting, feel free to join the Windows Phone Central Forums discussion here or sound off in the comments. Just remember as you express your frustrations that this is a family friendly site. Should a solution or reason for this problem come about, we'll be sure to pass it on.

Thanks, everyone, for the tips!

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Quick Shift for Windows Phone

Quick Shift is a puzzle game for your Windows Phone that was recently updated to bring two new game modes to the table. There is also a free, ad-supported version now available.

Quick Shift presents you with a five by five grid of numbered tiles. You have to find numbered straights that run vertically or horizontally. You earn points by collecting the straights and each round has a target score that must be met before you can advance to the next level. Rows and columns can be shifted to line up the straights. The game is played in timed rounds with the challenge coming with a secondary timer that will shift the tiles around every eleven seconds.

Key features include:

  • 90 levels of play
  • In-game achievements
  • Game statistics
  • Local leaderboard filtered by each game mode
  • Live tile support

The new games modes are unlocked as you complete the first game mode.  You have the original numbers mode and now there is an alphabet mode (create letter straights) and a mix mode that combines numbers and letters.  As you progress through the levels, the game gets a little more challenging by adding more numbers and letters into the mix.  For example, with the numbers mode you start out working with one through five but more numbers come into play the further you advance.

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St. Louis Windows Phone Development Workshop

Here's a quick reminder for the June 22, 2012 St. Louis Windows Phone Development Workshop. Nokia Developer Ambassador Rich Dunbar will be leading the workshop. If you're interested in developing for Windows Phone, it sounds like a great opportunity to network with other developers and get some help building your app.

The workshop will run from 5:30 p.m. until around 9:00 p.m. and will be held at the Microsoft Offices in St. Louis.

The goal of the workshop is to help developers get started on their first Windows Phone app. Nokia will be sponsoring the event and will provide pizza and beverages.  No guarantees but Nokia may also provide a few door prizes as well.  Attendees will need to bring their own laptop and have the necessary development tools installed. You can find a full list of the tools that you'll need here in the Windows Phone Central Forums discussion.

Registration is required (so enough pizza is ordered) for the workshop and you can find that easy process here at GroupSpaces.

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Develop a Windows Phone app in 30 days

Do you have an idea for a great Windows Phone app but have no idea where to start? Microsoft may have just the help you need to get started in the right direction.

Generation App is a Microsoft partnering program that will walk you through the process of developing a Windows Phone app. "How to develop a Windows Phone app in 30 Days" ("30toLaunch" for short) breaks everything down over four weeks and provides all the resources and support you need to build an app. In many ways, Generation App is a one stop source for all your developing needs

The thirty day schedule covers design principles, creating the interface, designing a splash screen, understanding the various Silverlight aspects, adding ads to your app and every other possible factor involved in app development. Each week has a videos to help you get through things and links to the necessary tools and resources.

Generation App's tag line is "Start with an idea. Code that idea. Then market it to the masses". The "30toLaunch" website wraps everything you need up in a nice, single source package.

Source: Generation App

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WP Central

Nokia has finally released the much anticipated Voddler video-on-demand service (www.voddler.com) for their Lumia line of Windows Phones. The app was first revealed and demonstrated back on Mobile World Congress in February and will gives users in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Spain a method by which to stream some of the latest blockbuster hits to their mobile screens.

Unfortunately, those in the US and elsewhere can't quite use the service just yet due to licensing restrictions but at least for Europe, we can see the app being made available later in the year.

The app itself is nicely laid out having been co-developed with Nokia. It features the ability to stream movies and TV series directly for a fee or you can watch for free with ads--not too shabby. Perhaps most impressive though is the "Movie Night" feature where you can "set up film nights with your friends and synchronize your viewing, both online and offline."

Yeah, that's pretty cool.

You can pick up Voddler here in the Nokia Collection but only for select markets. via: Mi Movil Windows; Thanks, Alex.

QR: Voddler

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WP Central

Yesterday, Apple Inc. finally revealed their latest iteration of iOS for iPhone and the iPad.  There were no real "wow" moments just the continued rehash of market numbers and a collection of little improvements to the world-wide hit operating system.

We're not trying to be too bitter here--look, Apple and iOS have a massive success on their hands so they're not messing with a good thing (think of all the grandparents with iPhones!). But today's unveiling of the new iOS is starting to show that Cupertino may be out of "big" ideas for mobile and are instead concentrating on refinements. That's not exactly a bad thing and we don't necessarily blame them, especially with their strong market share. But it sure does make for some boring discussion.

Our friends at iMore were there for the whole event, turtlenecks and all, documenting all the new additions to the sixth version of the OS.  Due this fall, here is their summary of the major changes:

  • Maps - Probably the biggest news was the addition of Apple's own Maps app which will be powered by TomTom. Maps will come stock with turn-by-turn navigation, traffic info, and a new feature called Flyover.
  • Siri additions and enhancements- Siri received quite a few updates under iOS 6 including iPad support, integration with many car manufacturers, and several new features. 
  • Passbook - Passbook is a brand new way to store and save airline apps, boarding passes, and more all in one place. Many different services and Passbook apps are already available such as express check at hotels, Target cards, movie tickets, coupons, and more.
  • Photo Stream sharing - Photo Stream sharing will allow you to create separate streams (similar to how you'd create albums currently). You can then share those separate streams with whoever you'd like. Have one with family for vacation pics and one with mom and dad for baby pics. They'll also be given the ability to comment and like photos native in iOS.
  • Mail enhancements - Multiple e-mail signatures, VIP Mailbox allows you to add all the important people in your life to a VIP list and their messages will automatically be filtered into a new VIP mailbox that appears under your default inbox.
  • Facebook integration - In iOS 5 we saw Apple integrate Twitter into iOS natively. This year the same will happen with Facebook. Post status, upload pictures, and more without needing a third party app.
  • FaceTime over the cellular network - FaceTime has only ever been available for us on a Wi-Fi network since it's release in iOS 4. iOS 6 is about to change all that and you'll soon be able to FaceTime wherever you are, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G.

Read more after the break for some exclusive Windows Phone 8 news...

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WP Central

We'll be honest here, LINE messenger by a company called Naver is not something we're familiar with but our audience certainly is. Boasting about being in 230 countries, LINE is a VOIP/chat service that is evidently popular in a lot of Asian markets so it's great to see it come to Windows Phone.

Available already on iOS, Android, PC and Mac, LINE is actually a well done app with a snazzy Metro UI and decent enough features to make us take a look at it. Of course none of our friends use it so it's hard for us to take it for a spin on such short notice, but loading up the app was a refreshing change from some other chat programs out there.

WP Central

The app doesn't have a killer feature per se but it does contain the usual fare: send messages, photos, videos, voice messages, as well as location info. It also has a thing called "stickers" for conveying emotion which we suppose is a bit quaint. Note at least with this release there is no VOIP just chat.

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Dark Knight Covers

We ran a story a few days ago showing the Dark Knight Rises logo on the Xpress colored backs for the Lumia 710.  We now have an update to that story with the details. T-Mobile will be giving these out for free with a special new promotion starting June 13-July 10th when you sign up on a new two-year contract, either as an upgrade or a new customer.

New customers will get a colored back for free in the store at time of purchase, there is no mail in special for the colored Batman backs. These backs are limited, so be sure to go get them quickly before they run out. The Lumia 710 will also be free with a mail-in-rebate for Classic voice plans. Not only is getting a Batman colored back amazing, but you get the phone for free.

Nokia knows how to sell their devices by giving customers a solid and great experience at a affordable cost. This new cross promotion will sell more 710's, not that they needed any help, and get more windows phones in peoples hands. Although AT&T has the largest variety of Windows Phones, T-Mobile is doing a great job with only 2 that are currently being sold in stores (the Lumia 710 and HTC Radar).

Get your Batman on starting June 13th, the sooner the better. That way you can be one of the few rocking that sweet Windows Phone with a colored back showing off your love for the Dark Knight!

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gMaps Pro for Windows Phone: Video Overview

gMaps Pro for Windows Phone was recently re-introduced to the Marketplace. Due to gMaps Pro being re-introduced to the Marketplace, previous versions aren't eligible for future updates.  To help those who will need to re-purchase gMaps Pro, the developer offered it as a free app this past Friday.  I managed to miss that day but as the app looked so good I parted with my money and made the purchase.

As I have been so impressed I thought the app was worthy of a video demonstration or walk through to give everyone a feel for the app. As you can see there are some great features built into the application and it looks good too.  Features include:

  • Discover places or use local search
  • See your friends and share location with Google Latitude
  • Navigation with direction and rerouting
  • Multilingual. Supports more than 40 Google languages. Fully localized for 8 languages
  • Layers Weather, Bikes and all other maps
  • Share map by email/message

The latest update, version 1.23, includes 'street view' which seems to work pretty well.  

gMaps Pro for Windows Phone

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