Articles

Rowi

We showed you what the Aviary photo SDK was capable of doing the other day in Rowi version 2.1 and now that update is live, at least for the free "Lite" version of the app.

That's right, you can now start to upload super fantastic images all from within the app by using those new photo tools, thanks to Aviary's SDK. But that's not all, Rowi Lite version 2.1 also has multiple account support, something we've been wanting for ages as well as TweetMarker.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, TweetMarker (Tweetmarker.net) is a service that helps keep your Tweets in sync between certain desktop clients and your mobile. It comes in two flavors, free and the "Plus" version which costs an extra $2 a month--a nice option for you power users our there.

No fear though for you paid Rowi supporters as your update with all the above is right around the corner as well, so sit tight.

For now, pick up Rowi Lite version 2.1 here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Rowi Lite

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The biggest fan

While our Windows Phones are busy smoking the competition they may need something to blow away all that fiery aftermath, so it only makes sense to have a special fan for the occasion.

Microsoft Hong Kong has evidently commissioned a limited number of special portable fans just for these situations but they have a little trick up their sleeve. As you can see in the images above and the video below, when the fan runs an electric banner scrolls around the blades with "Windows Phone" and "Simply faster".

As we're fans of all things geeky, we're very impressed and think it's a brilliant little promotion tool.

Our friends at the Hong Kong site We Love Windows Phone (www.welovewp.hk) managed to get their hands on a shipment of these little bad boys and are planning on giving them out to some lucky people (and yes, worldwide shipment is an option). So you'll want to head to their site and maybe even give 'em a "Like" on their Facebook page to learn of the details as soon as they publish them.

Pretty cool Microsoft, pretty cool.

Source: We Love Windows Phone (HK) (Bing Translation)

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Bing Social Search Preview is now live for US residents

WP Central

Hey, look at that. We actually noticed it this morning but it didn't register in our sleepy heads, but Bing's Social Search "Preview" is now available for those luckily enough to reside in the US. No, we're not sure why it's only US but perhaps it's more of a rollout thing to work out the bugs and quirks.

Anyway, if you head on over to bing.com you can hit the "Preview" button and you'll see the new login near the upper right of the screen. You now have the option to login with your Live ID credentials (we lost all of our Bing reward points when we created a new ID) and you can also login with Facebook. No Twitter or G+ just yet which is a bit of a shame, well at least for the former.

We haven't see the new pane layout just yet but perhaps it's just us (we're not big Facebook users) Our new layout is now live including the social bar to the right. You can see more on Bing's Social Search features here on their new sub-site: http://social.discoverbing.com/.

Thanks, ArtSooby, for the tip

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BulletAsylum

This week, neon colors are all the rage on Windows Phone. On the one hand, you’ve got new Xbox Live release geoDefense Swarm, which promises to be super fun. On the other: BulletAsylum from UberGeekGames is the Deal of the Week, on sale for $1.99.

BulletAsylum is a modern take on the arcade classic Missile Defense. Aliens rain down from the sky and it’s up to your turrets to stop them. You can use a single finger to fire all your weapons at one area or two fingers to split the fire. Game modes include the extremely easy Arcade, an endless Survival mode that has no Achievements for some reason, and the frustratingly hard Architect mode.

It’s easy to get into BulletAsylum thanks to the pretty colors and flashing lights. The unlocking system is decent, and the Achievements are attainable for most mortal men and women. Still, I found the gameplay far too simplistic to maintain interest; the lack of depth really keeps the game from having much staying power. Check out our review for a lengthier – and dare I say more eloquent - explanation.

BulletAsylum is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and let those bullets fly!

QR: BulletAsylum

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GeoDefense for Windows Phone

Tower defense addicts, you can stop scratching and relax at last. geoDefense Swarm from Critical Thought Games in now on the Marketplace!

geoDefense Swarm is the sequel to fan-favorite tower defense game geoDefense. The new entry switches from predefined enemy routes to a grid-based field. Enemies can approach from all directions, so players will need to construct mazes in order to keep them at bay. Like its predecessor, Swarm features an appealing neon geometric look and easy to learn gameplay.

geoDefense Swarm

It also has the same balance issues as before (tower costs and abilities vary from level to level), but said issues didn’t keep its predecessor from winning many gamers’ hearts. Here’s a tip to get you started: switch the difficulty from Hardcore to Novice in Help & Options if you want to ease into things and take the stress out of those Achievements.

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Matchy for Windows Phone

We offered a sneak peek of the Windows Phone game Matchy the other day and over the weekend the game passed certification. Matchy is now available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Matchy is a three-dimensional game where you have to position various objects to match their shadow. Matchy has three game modes that vary in time limit and your job is to create as many matches as possible before the timer runs out.

Matchy is a free, ad support game and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, Howlingwolf, for the tip!

QR: Matchy

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HTC TITAN available at AT&T for just a penny

WP Central

Should the Nokia Lumia 900 be not up your street, and if 4G LTE connectivity isn't a feature you're particularly bothered about, the HTC TITAN is a highly rated Windows Phone and could well be the right one for you. We reviewed this beast of a handset (and it's successor), which is also backed by strong reviews from AT&T customers.

AT&T's web store is listing the Windows Phone for $0.01 (with 2-year contract), a good snatch for anyone interested. Featuring a massive 4.7" LCD screen, 16GB storage, 8MP camera, and a 1.5Ghz chip, the TITAN is capable of handling whatever you decide to throw at the device.  While the penny sale is a very nice deal, unfortunately the off-contract is still stuck at $549.99.

Source: AT&T; thanks Rodney for the tip!

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Custom Tango ROM Metro^7 available for the Lumia 710

Metro 7 Tango ROM for Lumia 710

Metro^7 is a custom Lumia 710 ROM built on the Tango release, and is now available over at the XDA developer forum. The author, XDA member vova1609, states that you need to have your Lumia 710 interop unlocked, but then you should be good to go with flashing. 

Some highlighted features:

  • Fully unlocked
  • Install XAPs using Internet Explorer
  • Bazaar pre-installed
  • Bluetooth File Transfer by DFT pre-installed
  • Exclusive wallpapers "metro ROCK"
  • Added tethering functionality
  • Deleted Nokia's apps (Nokia Music, etc.)
  • Added Google and Yandex as available search engines

As well as the ROM and included functionality, an exclusive pack of 'metro ROCK' wallpapers are included, featuring multiple designs to match the system theme. Please note that Windows Phone Central does not take any responsibility for any issues your device may develop using this (or any other) available ROM. Use at your own discretion.

Source: XDA, via: Plaffo

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eBuddy XMS updated, now with group messaging goodness

eBuddy XMS for Windows Phone

Phew! We've been following the evolution of eBuddy XMS on Windows Phone since inception. The once ugly duckling app is now a beautiful and powerful alternative to the native Threads feature built into Windows Phone.

We're now hearing from the team that an update is propagating through the Marketplace, enabling 30-way group messaging across iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices! (If your friends are still rocking Nokia s40/s60 devices, they have to wait a little longer.)

eBuddy XMS

eBuddy XMS is a free app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. We haven't gotten our hands on the update yet, but if you have, share your thoughts in the comments or on our forums.

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WP Central

Nokia has released a press statement detailing the imminent Belgium launch of the Lumia 610, the manufacturer's most affordable low-end Windows Phone. It is expected to be priced at €249 (including VAT). Should you be on the lookout for a low-end Windows Phone to get you started, either the Lumia 610 or 710 fit the bill nicely, depending on what deals draw you in. The smartphone will be available in glossy white, magenta, cyan and black

Nokia has been present in the country previously promoting the Lumia family of Windows Phones with cupcakes being handed out, but if the Lumia 610 and 710 don't interest you, the Lumia 900 is also being stocked in the country for €599 at PDAShop.be.

Source: Nokia Belgium (Bing translate), PDAShop.be

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WP Central

America's leading domestic hunger-relief charity Feeding America has ditched Blackberry support and is on its way to Windows Phone. The organization already makes use of Microsoft products including Office 2010 and Lync Server 2010, so the move makes sense with further integration possible while mobile. The Lync Windows Phone app and Office Hub are good examples of this. 

The move not only connects already utilised services, but the charity also calculated that savings could be found with the avoidance of costly annual server maintenance expenses. The cost reductions also hit devices with a 24% price drop per Windows Phone, with each smartphone improving access to information and services that employees rely on for productivity.

Kevin Lutz, vice president of Technology at Feeding America, had the following to comment on the Windows Phone adoption:

"Windows Phone provides a level of integration with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and Lync Server 2010 that are not available with the iPhone, iPad or Android."

A feel good Tuesday story. Check out the press release after the break.

Source: Microsoft; thanks Morris for the tip!

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WP Central

Last month we broke the news that Philadelphia-based, Microsoft BizSpark featured startup AboutOne (website), a family organiser service, was set to launch an exclusive app for Windows Phone. Without repeating what we wrote previously, the service enables families to view information and personal details broken down in a digestible interface. The app is now available on the Marketplace.

The free app, backed by a tier-plan (2GBs free) cloud-based service, offers users a mobile companion to the AboutOne web interface. Functionality includes organising memories, todos and household paperwork in a single accessible location. The service builds on calendar and address book tools users are already using, enhancing both with document filing and reporting tools. It's a neat startup, that's for sure.

AboutOne App

Of course, there's much more than what we've covered, so be sure to give AboutOne a look over should you need something with similar functionality. You can download AboutOne for free from the Marketplace.

via: Windows Phone Blog; thanks Rodney for the tip!

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Lumia 610 Windows Phone heading to Clove UK for £180

WP Central

Clove has published an article on their blog detailing the news of the Lumia 610 heading their way. The UK retailer expects to stock and ship the Windows Phone for just £180. The low-end device sports 8GB internal memory, a 3.7 inch display, 5 megapixel camera, and the Nokia Collection of OEM apps including Maps, Drive, Transport, Music and more.

Don't be fooled by the specifications, or the pricing, as the Lumia 610 is a speedy little handset that packs a punch. The Lumia 610 is available at Clove in both cyan and black versions, with first stock expected by late May. Note that this version doesn't appear to sport NFC, which is set to launch on Orange later this year.

Source: Clove UK; thanks Richard for the heads up!

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WP Central

It seems every time we cover news that includes the Social Mints app, it's always winning some kind of award. This story is no different as the app is one of four recently announced winners of the Microsoft 30 to Launch developer competition. We previously looked at 30 to Launch when it... well... launched earlier this year. The winning submissions (out of over 130 entries) were Social Mints, Brain Cube Reloaded, Play The Hunt, and Surf Info.

Social Mints is a familiar name here at Windows Phone Central HQ, as we've covered the app numerous times and have even reviewed the social stalking beauty. Should you not be aware of what it's about, it's a must-have for any social media geek that enables users to keep track of what's trending, how it's trending and what you should be looking out for. Winner of the Core77 Fast Track to the Mobile App International Design Challenge and featured at Mobile World Congress by Microsoft, Social Mints has been recognized for it's intuitive design and functionality.

Brain Cube Reloaded is a puzzle / platformer which is developed using the idea of a rubik's cube. Players progress through levels attempting to smash bosses into Oblivion. Oh, did we mention it's a free game?

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T-Mobile Lumia 710

More details for the upcoming T-Mobile Magenta Deal Days have come to light at TMONews. The deal will see customers who sign a 2-year contract renewal or are active on any voice plan with a qualifying 2GB or higher data cap or mobile broadband plan, be eligible for the handset offers. Classic plan customers must have passed 22 months in their contract to qualify.

T-Mobile Magenta Day

The Lumia 710 and Radar 4G are both included in this deal, which starts May 18th. The offer is a BOGO (Buy One Get One), with purchases on selected handsets being accompanied by a free second choice - after mail-in rebate. You could purchase the HTC Radar 4G (should you qualify for the offer, of course) and then pick up a Lumia 710 for free ($50 mail-in rebate).

The offers will be reportedly open to all customers, including those who are looking at new activations, qualifying upgrades, family and individual plans, and add-a-lines. We'll let you guys know when the deals kick off with more information.

Source: TMONews

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Top Hats for Fancy Cats because they deserve it

My cat is fancier than yours

With the advent of Aviary's SDK for Windows Phone today we're still on this "photo kick" here at Windows Phone Central. So we're delighted to find this little free gem simply called Top Hats for Fancy Cats which allows you to dress up your furry felines. Or your friends and family.

The app is like many of the other photo overlay tools out there but this one has an extremely large collection of "fancy" wears. From monocles to canes, from top hats to elaborate backgrounds, this app will allow you to dress up everyone and anyone to the nines.

It's of course free with ads and inspired by the Reddit community who like the kittehs (see this post for an example). What can we say other than it's done well and is great for a laugh?

Why look at our lil' Zoe all fancied up!

Pick up Top Hats for Fancy Cats here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

via: Reddit

QR: Top Hats for Fancy Cats

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Monster Island UK

Last Thursday, Miniclip’s beleaguered Xbox Live game Monster Island returned to Xbox Live after a month-long absence. While the physics puzzler’s Achievement problems were resolved, the game itself still could not be downloaded by customers outside of the US. This puzzled many of us since Miniclip is a European developer and all of their other Windows Phone games are available in multiple regions.

We asked Microsoft for comment and received this response,

“We are pleased to report that the Achievements have been improved and the US version is up on the Windows Phone Games Marketplace. We are working with the developer on some final testing for the worldwide release and hope to make it available soon.”

Miniclip shed some light on the Achievement gaffe but didn’t go into much detail about the regional issue:

“There were some original achievements (e.g., the ones we're using on the iOS, Android, etc.) that were against Microsoft Achievements policy. Unfortunately they only warned us after the game passed all the certification processes and was ready to be released. The game had to be taken out, and we changed the Achievements list… Yes, it will come to all marketplaces in the near future. :)”

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Photosynth

If there's one technology Windows Phone users have been yearning for it's Photosynth. The photo-stitching software creates "synths" or 3D images from your camera phone, giving an immersive photo that's hosted on the web. It then allows the viewer to pan around the image, zoom in and out and various other options.

What makes Photosynth (www.photosynth.net) frustrating for Windows Phone though is not only does the service have an iOS app, the company who makes it is owned by none other than Microsoft.

The Windows Phone version was noted to be a "top priority" for the team and we saw some real evidence of it existing back in February but not much since then.

Photosynth test computer

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ING Direct features Lumia 900 on mobile web page

ING Mobile Web Lumia

There have been numerous banking apps released for Windows Phone the past few weeks, but we've still not seen apps from other big names. ING Direct is one of said names that sports an app for iPhone, Blackberry and Android, but nothing for Windows Phone. Although there's nothing available, ING Direct does feature the Lumia 900 on the mobile website. 

While it's nothing huge, it's good to see some exposure for Windows Phone, and let's face it: Windows Phone has the most attractive / unique UI to show off.

Source: ING Direct; thanks ghoti00000 for the heads up!

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USPS banning international shipments of l-ion batteries

If you need to ship a Windows Phone to a friend overseas, you'll need to hurry if you plan on using the U.S. Postal Service. It's not that the US Post Office has anything against Windows Phone but rather the power source.  You see after May 16, 2012 the USPS will prohibit the international shipping of packages containing lithium ion batteries.

That includes:

  • Smartphones
  • Cameras
  • GPS devices
  • MP3 Players
  • Laptop computers
  • Tablet computers
  • Bluetooth headsets
  • Power tools

While the USPS does not offer a reasoning behind this prohibition, it may be due to instances where these batteries caught on fire in transit when not packaged correctly. Third party carriers (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc) will continue to ship such packages internationally.

The USPS will review the ban may change things on/after January 1, 2013 to allow customers to mail packages containing the lithium batteries when the batteries are properly installed in the device. For those wondering about orders from the Windows Phone Central Store, we use UPS for international shipping and you shouldn't see any interruptions.

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Windows Phone Central app v2.2 now live!

Windows Phone Central App

The Windows Phone Central app v2.2 is now live in the Windows Phone Marketplace. We shared a sneak peek of the updated version last week and now you can see what Jay Bennett, our resident developer, has been up to.

Here is a few of the improvements the update brings to the table.

  • Links in comments can now be followed
  • New action icons in comments
  • Option to use larger fonts in articles & comments
  • Switched to built in social media sharing
  • Double tap to view in-line images
  • Automatically scroll to newly added comments
  • 'Download app' functionality now available to free/trial users

There are also a handful of performance and cosmetic fixes with the update. All in all, we think you'll like what you find with the updated version.

If you're already enjoying the Windows Phone Central app, the update should be pushed out shortly. If you haven't given the app a try, you can find the Windows Phone Central app here at the Marketplace. There is a trial version available with the full version running $.99.

Oh...Jay has also built a logging tool, the WPClogger, which handles all reports or requests for help that are sent in. WPClogger is open source and any developers interested in using it with their app can find all the details here.

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WP Central

You could sum up this news with a simple "Boo!", but I'm sure you are all aware how we love to babble on slightly. Siri, Apple's personal assistant for iPhone 4S owners, has been 'fixed' after the fiasco surrounding the helper stating the Lumia 900 as "the best cell phone ever". The humorous result / answer was due to Siri's reliance on an external service, namely Wolfrom Alpha, which took into account user reviews when performing the search. 

Apple has since replaced this search and altered what is relayed back to the user. Answers now provided to the query include "the one you're holding" and "you're kidding, right?" You can still perform a manual search on Wolfram Alpha and receive the same result, but this shows that Apple has zero sense of humour. No longer is Siri accurately useful to Windows Phone fans.

"What can I help you with?" Not much, I'm afraid.

Source: Apple Insider, via: The Verge

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WP Central

An unknown Samsung Windows Phone (SCH-S759) has been WiFi and Bluetooth certified. The device is reported to be CDMA compatible, which leads us to believe this smartphone could be a version of the recently announced Omnia M. Unfortunately, not much else is known about the handset with no other detail or specifications being listed, apart from a spotted agent string - Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows Phone OS 7.5; Trident/5.0; IEMobile/9.0; SAMSUNG; SCH-S759.

With the release of the Focus 2 and Omnia M, one could hope that Samsung is rising to the bar set by Nokia within the Windows Phone market. It's rumoured that this Samsung Windows Phone is set to head for China, probably to combat Nokia and the Lumia 800c, unless Sprint or Verizon is secretly set to unveil a device? We look forward to seeing some more details come to light in the near future, so stay tuned.

via: Unwired View, Blog of Mobile

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Handyscan updated and goes on sale!

Handyscan for Windows Phone

Handyscan is a very nice Windows Phone app that allows you to scan documents, share them by email and upload them to your SkyDrive account. We have been impressed with Handyscan and it was recently updated.  As an added bonus, Handyscan is on sale this week. Just a few of Handyscan's key features include:

  • Independent scanning resolution and flash options
  • Deep zoom in/out controls
  • Scan multiple pages per document and save as single file
  • Import/export photos
  • SkyDrive and Dropbox support
  • Scan digitalize signatures
  • Align and crop scanned documents

The app was recently updated to version 3.11 to fix a few minor bugs and add automatic document naming (you can set the parameters in the app's settings). Along with the update, JDB Pocketware is offering the full version of Handyscan for $.99 (regular price is $2.99)

Handyscan

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Aviary SDK

Big news for the Windows Phone platform today as Aviary announced their SDK is now available for developers, allowing the integration of their free, highly regarded and powerful photo tools for apps on Windows Phone.

What this means for developers - you'll now be able to insert into your application a powerful photo editor to greatly enhance user experience, all with very little effort.

What this means for consumers -  you'll soon see an array of apps that will allow you to edit, crop, enhance and tweak your photos before sending them out for the world, all at no extra cost

The Windows Phone Aviary SDK has the following features:

  • Redesigned SDK from the ground-up to take advantage of the Metro design principles of Windows Phone
  • The same, easy integration process: add our editor to your project in as little as 15 minutes, with just a few lines of code
  • Customizable color theme
  • Controllable output size based upon developer preferences — you decide what makes the most sense for your app or service
  • … Not to mention that Aviary for Windows Phone has all the standard features as the rest of our mobile SDKs

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