Articles

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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Dutch SNS Bank releases Windows Phone app

WP Central

It was only last week we covered the news of Rabobank releasing a Windows Phone app for customers who use the platform. Now we've caught wind of SNS Bank also launching a Windows Phone app. Much like the app from Rabobank, this app enables users to check their account balances, manage funds between accounts, and contact the bank via phone and email.

Some highlighted features of SNS Bank:

  • Login with your SNS Bank digital code, providing extra security.
  • Balance your check payment, savings and investment accounts.
  • All credits and debits are displayed.
  • Transfer between your owned accounts with the digital code.
  • Transfer to external accounts with your digipass.
  • Use a provided Address Book.
  • Convenient access to contact SNS Bank by phone or email.

WP Central

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Uber towncar

Personally, we zip around the busy streets of Manhattan on our motorcycle because lane-splitting is the bomb but for the rest of you, especially those who sport a monocle, Uber may be more your cup of tea.

What's Uber (www.uber.com)? It's an on demand car service that's present in many cities including Manhattan, San Francisco, Boston, LA, Chicago and more. And by on-demand we mean you can use your phone to pin point your location, send an SMS and a driver will come ferry you away to your cigar club, opera or Taco Bell all the while shouting "Oh Belvedere!". All charges (including tips) are automatically billed to your credit card making this quite convenient for the leisure class.

WP Central

The service has an iPhone and Android app but alas, nothing for Windows Phone. Now, developer FremontFidelity has put one on the Windows Phone Marketplace for free and it's quite nifty.

There's not much to it really. It pinpoints your location via GPS, translates that into a street address and then texts the Uber service with the info. You can also cancel your ride ($10 charge) all with the convenient touch of a button. In essence, the app is just shortcuts to these services and makes us wonder why Uber can't make an app.

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WP Central

Pandora recently changed their APIs for their service resulting in some significant downtime for unofficial Windows Phone apps. Radio Controlled is right around the corner and now MetroRadio (both free and Pro) are back on the Windows Phone Marketplace in full working condition.

While many will ding Pandora for doing this on purpose to block unofficial apps, the truth is more complicated than that. Windows Phone Central member Jiffy Pop received a detailed letter from Pandora discussing the ins and outs of the API changes. Here's a sample:

"We know that our recent release has broken most unsupported Pandora clients, and we do apologize for the surprise and inconvenience that undoubtedly caused to your listening experience.

At a basic level, third-party applications are violating our Terms of Use and are obviously not authorized to sell (or give away) something that fundamentally derives its value from our product...

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People Search

Regular visitors of our site will be familiar with Ronny Gydar, the Windows Phone dev who's behind the popular Trines Hangman game. If you know the quality and dedication behind that app then you'll know what to expect from his latest: People Search.

People Search is what it sounds like: a contact search app. But it's based off of the T9 system instead of a full-QWERTY keyboard meaning you can easily use it one handed. What's more it's chock full of features such as customizations, how much information it should search through (e.g. just names or phone numbers, email, etc.) and the ability to send contacts via email, SMS or copy-to-clipboard.

People Search

We've been using the app since yesterday and we're kind of blown away by it. It's smart (auto-indexes your contacts every 24 hours), beautifully laid out and dead simple to use. We're not even kidding when we say we've replaced our People Hub on our Start screen with it (we don't really check up on our friends' social updates, so no big loss for us).

People Search was just released yesterday and today it's getting the special treatment. While normally it will fetch for $0.99, People Search is completely FREE today meaning you'd have to be daft to not even download the trial.

The app was extensively tested right here in our own Forums, so everyone should be happy with it. We're giving the app a huge thumbs up at Windows Phone Central both for creativity and it's super well designed and polished UI. Don't take our word though, go try it yourself and hit us up on comments.

Remember, it's only free for today, so grab it now and think about it later. Make sure to check out the hilarious demo video after the break too...

QR: People Search

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WP Central

Samsung only recently announced the Omnia M budget phone for Europe last week, and now we've got hold of a price tag for the smartphone. Italian store ePrice has listed the Omnia M for €294.99, and is targeting the Lumia 610 but Nokia has been able to bring down the prices of their lower-end Windows Phones substantially.

The Omnia M, to refresh the early waking cogs on this Monday morning, sports a 1GHz  CPU with a 4" Super AMOLED screen and 4GB of storage on board. It features HSPA at 7.2MBps. Still no word on availability as-of-yet, but we're sure more details will come to light soon. The device is slated for a European release.

Source:  ePrice.it, via: Plaffo

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Linked in Conspiracy?

Here's a weird little story but we're worried it may get legs so we want to nip in the rear before it spreads.

Some are peeking at those official LinkedIn app screenshots and noticing a lot of oddities. Indeed, on the Start Screen the icons near the top for the time, WiFi and cell signal look tiny, the fonts are a bit smaller over all and the IE logo looks different too. You can see it above compared to our phone.

So what does this mean? Some are wondering if these might be accidental Windows Phone 8 captures instead of normal screenshots from a Windows Phone 7 device--you know, higher resolution and stuff. If anyone were to have access to Windows Phone 8 dev tools, a major Microsoft partner like LinkedIn would be up there so in that sense, it's interesting to entertain the idea.

But to be honest with that missing direction arrow near the top, the oddly sized telephony icons and the now-centered Tiles, we're more likely to believe this is just a bad composition made in Photoshop. More than likely these were mockups used for internal presentations and demonstrations rather than a Windows Phone 8 conspiracy or accident.

In other words, nothing to see here folks. But keep those eagle-eyes out as you may never know.

Thanks, ClubDirtHill and Jose P., for the tip

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WP Central

It's another Sunday, which means it's another summary of the week time here at WPCentral. In this recap of the past 6 days, we harvest all the stories you may have missed that are worth reading up on. So make a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy the ride. As always, before we crack on with the summary itself we'll run through some WPCentral-related headlines. First up is a guide by our Daniel Rubino, which walks us through how we can get a new Live ID and keep all Windows Phone app / game purchases. Neat!

WPCentral member SpeedTouch hosted a Windows Phone meetup in St Louis and was a relatively good success. Faisal Iqbal got fed up of a problem many smartphone users find themselves hitting where sharing websites can prove to be quite an issue. He developed a small Javascript bookmark that can be loaded on you Windows Phone when browsing a website. This will then load a QR code that another smartphone can scan to open up that exact webpage. Ingenious.

Have you just purchased a shiny new smartphone running Microsoft's OS? Are you wandering how the company's cloud storage service SkyDrive integrates into the platform? We've got you covered with our introduction to SkyDrive guide. Episode 142 of the WPCentral Podcast is now live on website where we discuss Samsung, Nokia and more. On our community forum, we've introduced a new user group for residential developers to make use of their experience on our boards. Alas, that's enough of us, let's get into this summary.

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We're seeing a large upsurge recently with more official apps appearing in the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is starting to mirror last June when Microsoft unleashed a torrent of official apps for the fledgling mobile OS and it looks like a similar pattern is starting to build.

Now LinkedIn and Time Magazine each have official apps to their name and we decided to take both for a tour on our trusty Titan II.

Time and LinkedIn

LinkedIn, like Facebook, is native to the Windows Phone OS allowing you to post updates and track updates from your colleagues via the People Hub. The official app augments that with a gorgeous Metro inspired design and allows more in depth functionality, including management of messages, search for new potential contacts, sending out invites, managing groups. What's more it also has a moderately configurable Live Tile and push notifications. Overall, a solid offering.

Likewise, Time Magazine has an official app to its name as well. The app is also top quality with fast loading, nicely laid out text, smooth transitions, social sharing, video streaming of stories and photo galleries. That app has a Live Tile (latest image) and push notifications presumably for "breaking" stories.

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WP Central

The popular and positively reviewed Nextgen Reader has recently been updated to version 3.0 with a number of improvements (support for Windows Phone "Tango"). The RSS app, fully supporting Google Reader, now sports faster startup time and the recently released update squashes a number of known bugs.

A tutorial is presented to the user once launching the app for the first time. This guide walks the user through a number of features and functionality present in Nextgen Reader. As well as the tutorial, this version of Nextgen Reader also features a new subscriptions view.

What else is new in version 3?

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Forums Announcement: Developer User Group

WP Central

Here at WPCentral we appreciate developers as you folks are the future of Windows Phone--your hard work will define the future of the OS and we want you to succeed. With that in our thoughts, we are looking for ways to help so we are now offering a Developer User Group with added benefits.

We already have our Developer Spotlight area with Games Spotlight and Applications Spotlight forum. These areas are dedicated to putting the focus on Applications and Games submitted by developers.

We also have our Beta Test forum for developers to garner feedback from users about their upcoming title. Our army of testers love to take your apps to the brink of destruction in an attempt to help you make the best Windows Phone apps possible.

That’s not all that we have dedicated to developers. We also have our Software development and hacking areas which are open to the public for feedback and are a great place for those who are curious about application development to post questions.

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Mirror's Edge

Our friends at Xbox360Achievements.org often discover Achievements lists for games before release, and sometimes even before a game’s announcement. Actually, much of the credit goes to French gamer Zebrasqual, who one site called ‘the best Windows Phone gamer in the world.’ Mr. Squal (as I like to call him) makes it his business not just to have the most mobile Xbox Live Achievements of anybody; he’s also great at finding Achievement lists and making them public.

The latest batch of Achievement lists ousted by Zebra and Xbox360Achievements.org include: Battleship and Mirror’s Edge from Electronic Arts and Fling from Miniclip. The two EA games are expected to be timed Nokia exclusives, so don’t let’s get excited about them just yet, non-Nokia owners.

Head past the break for previews of each upcoming Xbox Live game!

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Manga Reader for Windows Phone is now free

WP Central

Manga Reader, a popular Japanese comic reading app for Windows Phone, has recently turned free - as in completely free with no advertising. Users are able to browse comics from multiple sources and download multiple chapters / titles. It's a full-featured client with favourites, orientation lock for reading in bed and zoom functionality, to name but a few features.

Some feature highlights of Manga Reader:

  • Multiple sources of manga series
  • Search titles on multiple sources
  • Set multiple chapters and title for download
  • Pause and resume download
  • Streaming of manga to read
  • Single or continuous viewer is available
  • Pinch and Pan to zoom
  • Double touches for quick zoom
  • Lock Screen feature to read in bed
  • Add manga to favourites and manage it
  • Library of manga for downloaded chapters
  • Recent list of viewed manga
  • Latest update from server as reference for manga update
  • Custom background of the application
  • Sort chapters in settings

WP Central

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Droplitz Delight

Screenshots from Droplitz Delight coming to Windows Phone on May 23

Last month, WPCentral broke the news of three new Game House titles coming to Xbox Live: Droplitz Delight, Sally’s Spa, and Tiki Towers 2. We’re now delighted to reveal the official release date and exclusive first screenshots of Droplitz Delight on Windows Phone. It’s coming Wednesday, May 23 for just 99 cents!

Droplitz Delight is the mobile-exclusive sequel to XBLA and Steam puzzler Droplitz. In each level, players are tasked with guiding the adorable liquid droplitz from the top of the screen to the bottom. You’ll have to quickly rotate a bunch of tiles in order to create a safe path for the little liquids, and then do it all again after the old path disappears.

Droplitz Delight

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SoundHound

The music ID app SoundHound finally got an update to version 1.5. The app, which is similar to the Bing music ID built into Mango, simply identifies songs detected playing around you, helping you pick out music from TV, movies or at the DMV.

The latest update brings a feature we've been wanting badly: LiveLyrics.

This is the new "thang" with music ID apps lately as it not only detects the song but displays the lyrics in Karaoke format as the music is playing. Pretty cool stuff though it's only moderately impressive in real life. There's even a little "sync" icon in the bottom left corner in case your lyrics start running away from you.

The bad news? LiveLyrics is US and Canada only. Yeah, we're getting ready for your comments to this post. But there is geotagging for song IDs which is...odd, but we'll take it.

We could debate which is better: Shazam, Bing Music or SoundHound but all three tend to do a good job for figuring out music. Right now SoundHound has the upper hand with LiveLyrics.

Incidentally, Shazam has this too--on Android and iOS. There it's called LyricPlay but the company has shown little love for its Windows Phone client, not even having the price right for it's "Encore" app. Yeah, they're lame.

So here's to SoundHound for at least remembering we exist. Well, at least those of us in North America.

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Gun Bros

Gun Bros

WPCentral was pleased to bring our readers the first announcement of Gun Bros and Contract Killer, two upcoming Xbox Live games from Glu Mobile. Not only do both games look pretty fun (especially Gun Bros), but they won’t break the bank. That’s because they’re freemium titles, meaning the games themselves cost nothing. Players can opt to spend real money (in the form of Microsoft Points) to purchase items, but PDLC is not required to complete either title.

We have it on good authority that one of these two games (probably Contract Killer) will launch within the next month or two, with the other soon to follow. In the meantime, let’s check out their Xbox Live Achievements! Glu has kindly provided us with the exclusive debut of Gun Bros’ Achievement list. Head past the break to see what it will take to complete Gun Bros and Contract Killer.

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SuperTube returns!

YouTube Pro in disguise as SuperTube for Windows Phone

We reported last week that with Microsoft's new Marketplace policy enforcement, trademark complaints will be acted upon more quickly than before. As a result, all things Google are being pulled due to their use of terms like "YouTube", "Google", etc.

One of those apps was YouTube Pro made by Fast Code.

YouTube Pro was actually a re-launch of SuperTube, one of the original third party YouTube apps and one of the first to do HD and HQ video playback on Windows Phone. YouTube Pro superseded SuperTube, though Fast Code kept both up to date (each had a "pay" version in addition to free).

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While details are scarce, we're getting a lot of reports that the official SkyDrive app for Windows Phone received an update tonight.

Indeed, the app has a version 2.1 stamp on it now, shortly after going to version 2.0 just two weeks ago. We can't see any new features (no batch uploads, etc.) but presumably there are some under the hood fixes on board.

We're not sure if it's new or not but uploading photos directly via this app does preserve photo integrity, which is good news for those with 8 or 16MP cameras. We tried both our Titan II and Lumia 900 and both photos were completely untouched, meaning we're using this as our default photo upload service (more on that tomorrow).

Anyway, if you find any other changes, hit us up in comments as it's late here and our perusing skills are waning by the moment.

Pick up version 2.1 here in the Marketplace. Thanks, everyone, for the tips

QR: SkyDrive

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Visual Voicemail headed to non-LTE phones?

We ran across something interesting this afternoon where Romit Mehta over at Techie-Buzz noticed a Visual Voicemail prompt appear on his Nokia Lumia 800. Keep in mind that Visual Voicemail is supposed to be limited to AT&T's 4G LTE phones.

After entering the password, sure enough the Visual Voicemail page appeared on the Lumia 800's call screen. While it seemed promising, the voicemail page was stuck syncing new voicemail messages with no real functionality.

We tried this out on a Samsung Focus, Samsung Focus S and an HTC Titan and could not replicate Mehta's results. It could be a case where AT&T is testing the waters in select markets to offer Visual Voice Mail to non-LTE phones.  Then there's always the possibility a technician over at AT&T hit the wrong switch.

We really like Visual Voicemail and wouldn't complain a bit if AT&T did throw the switch and let non-4G LTE Windows Phones have this feature. Let us know below in the comments if you've seen Visual Voicemail pop up on your non-4G LTE Windows Phone.

Source: Techie Buzz; Thanks, Romit, for the tip!

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Windows Phone Tango

A lot of hay has been made over Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3/build 8773 of Microsoft's mobile OS. The update contains a lot of minor things and is mostly focused on compatibility with 256MB devices for emerging markets and low-cost Windows Phones.

Nokia is hard at work with updating their ROMs for all Lumia phones and in fact if you use Navifirm to check, the Lumia 710 and 800 are getting heavily populated with new Tango updates, presumably being readied for roll-out in June.

We grabbed one of those ROM, OS 8773 with firmware 12120 from Mexican carrier Telcel to see what it has on board. Presumably, these changes you see in the above video will also be on the Lumia 800 and 900 ROMs as well, so consider this a sneak peek. Here is what's new:

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WPCentral Podcast

Join site editor Daniel Rubino, Windows Phone developer Jay Bennett and all around computer whiz Rafael Rivera for another exciting podcast. This week we have some surprise Samsung news, Nokia and their exclusive app controversy and more. Plus we take your questions.

Listen in or watch the HD video with the full show notes after the break...

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Siri, the personal assistant found on the iPhone 4S, has been making headlines for Apple today, but for all the wrong reasons. The image above explains what's going on better than any words in this article. Should you happen to ask Siri "what's the best cell phone ever?", you'll be greeted with a surprising response. Not only does Siri choose a device that's not an Apple product, but it chooses the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. 

Siri Best Mobile Lumia 900

This result is produced by taking the mobile phone that's rated the highest by consumers and the cyan AT&T Lumia 900 just so happens to fit the bill. Siri found the above answer by using Wolfram Alpha, which lists the Windows Phone when visitors type in the same query. The launch of the Lumia 900 was met by an extremely high level of satisfaction from customers who purchased the handset, regardless of the issues that appeared.

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WP Central

An unofficial UK National Health Service (NHS) app has been released for Windows Phone. The app, in collaboration with NHS Choices, pulls down information and services for users to interact with. Integration with Microsoft HealthVault (see our review of the official app) is present should the user wish to connect to their account and retrieve / store personal details, local services and more.

Using NHS Choices, NHS services can be searched by name, location or by how close they are to your current GPS location. Within each service card are details including address, directions (opens Maps), contact numbers and website if available. Patient ratings are displayed, which can prove useful when choosing a nearby practice, especially with regards to waiting times and how patients rate resident doctors. As well as ratings, key indicators are displayed with how many patients recommend that service coupled with survey results.

Health A-Z uses content from NHS Choices to display condition symptoms and treatments within the app. A large number of conditions are listed, accompanied by detailed information, symptoms, diagnosis, causes and treatments for that specific condition. Using the app bar, users can locate NHS services that are able to treat the selected condition and compare them within the app. 

WP Central

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WP Central

Online tech superstore Newegg has updated their official Windows Phone app to version 1.1 and added some pretty nice features. One major addition to v1.1 is live tile support.  Newegg "Shell Shocker" deal notifications can now be pushed right to your start screen. The ability to view your order history has also been added, as well as an update to the checkout process.  Version 1.1 also brings some minor bug fixes along with it.

Newegg app updated to v1.1

The official Newegg app sports a handsome, easy to use Metro-style interface and gives you full access to everything they have to offer.  If you are a geek, and you don't know about Newegg, do yourself a favor and check it out pronto!

You can get Newegg's official app here in the Marketplace for free.

QR: Newegg

Thanks for the heads up, Shipwreck!

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