Articles

TuneWiki

TuneWiki is a pretty cool website where you can check out not only the lyrics for your favorite song but also discuss song meanings--always a favorite pastime. The site has apps for that are very popular on Android and iOS and now we're pleased to see it has arrived on Windows Phone too. Best part? We're not looking at some generic port but what looks like an honest attempt to embrace the Windows Phone UI. Here are the features:

TuneWiki

  • Listen to any music with synced lyrics
  • Share lyrics from your favorite songs with your network of friends
  • Get lyrics instantly translated into 40+ languages
  • What does that song mean? Comment on and discuss the meaning of lyrics and songs
  • Discover new music in your SongBox – songs that are being played and recommended by your friends
  • Explore Song Maps and real-time Top Charts to discover popular songs nearby and around the world

We just gave the free app a spin on our phone and boy do we like it--its clean, bold, pulls down the lyrics and plays them "Karaoke style" i.e. no scrolling and even has a neat mapping feature. We can see now why ~5 million people are using the service as it's presented very well.

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For those of you who are social-media junkies, you'll no doubt have heard of Klout (see site). It's a social-networking ranking system that basically tells you how influential you are based on amount of Tweets, reTweets, Facebook likes, who follows you, how many follow you and who you interact with. It's a weird thing and one more metric to worry yourself over ("OMG, I dropped a point! Why don't they like me!").

Still, it's important for some and Klout offers "perks" aka free offers to those who are socially powerful e.g. a free Windows Phone on top of being a free service that actually has a nice design. In that regard, it's great that Julien Dollon has whipped up an exquisite little app for the service that allows you to check all of your stats dynamically and even keep track of your Klout score via the Live Tile. It's free and amazingly was put together in just six-hours by Julien and his wife, so kudos to them for their talent. Other features include:

Klout

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Nokia Lumia 710 heading to Verizon, no LTE love

Verizon No LTE Lumia 710

Paul Thurrott, over at his supersite for Windows, has revealed some information that will be later announced at the upcoming CES.   In the article Thurrott notes the carrier will be shipping the Nokia Lumia 710 (code name "Sword" a name we've seen before) in April 2012, and it's not certain what the plan is with Verizon and an LTE Windows Phone. Hopefully a more powerful handset will be featured in the next year. We'll have to see how Microsoft and manufacturers plan to push forward.

What is clear though, assuming this is accurate, is that Verizon is not at all keen on Windows Phone, with our without LTE or with Nokia's backing. That's some cojones, in our opinion and a big middle finger to their customers.

The Lumia 710 will be available on T-Mobile in January 2012, which will provide the T-Mobile three months exclusivity before Verizon begins shipping.

Source: WinSuperSite

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We get a lot of requests from you folks regarding what's a good compass app for your Windows Phone. To be honest, there's quite a bit out there and while some are great, there's a lot of 'meh' out there too.

Palladium Power, the folks behind the popular game Orb (which is temporarily free again) have make what we think is a top-notch and exquisite compass app that will please your senses as well as show you where to go. The app, called Compasses,  is very clean and minimalist, making you Metro-heads happy. It features two different modes: Analog and Digital with a third being reserved for Maps.  The Analog mode looks like a standard compass including directional setting and highly detailed design. In addition, you can select from five different "skins" including Standard, Metro, Camouflage, Rusty and Contrast, which gives the compass a unique look. The Digital version also has these same five skins lending consistency to the design.

Compasses

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Metro newspaper app hits the Marketplace

Metro NewsPaper

Metro, a commuter newspaper, is available in a number of cities across the UK and at major stations on a number of rail networks. Not only has the paper sported Windows Phone advertisements for HTC Mango handsets, but now we have an official app being made available. As is with the newspaper in its physical publication, the app is free of charge accompanied by advertisements. The app itself is well designed and effectively shows off the Metro UI.

Some available features:

  • Comment on articles.
  • Share articles with friends.
  • Categories can be pinned to the home screen.
  • Galleries from a variety of topics.
  • Content is stored locally for offline viewing.

Being already present on Android and iOS, this is a positive step for Windows Phone. You can download the Metro app from the Marketplace for nothing at all (advertisement supported).

Thanks TheWeeBear for the tip!

QR: Metro

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Mobilewalla lists top-rated apps of 2011

Mobilewalla posts their top-rated apps of 2011

It just wouldn't be late-December without a horde of "Top (fill in the blank) of the Year" lists.  In that tradition, mobile analytics group Mobilewalla has posted their top-rated apps of 2011 list.  However, where most list makers simply compile the most popular or their favorites, Mobilewalla took a different approach.  Using an algorithm consisting of ratings, position within category, popularity, social media, etc., lovingly referred to as the "Mobilewalla Score," they compiled a list based on a score of 100.  From greatest to least, here are the results (click links to download):

 

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Video Diary lands in the Marketplace

Video Diary for Windows Phone

Some time ago we shared a sneak peak at the Windows Phone application Video Diary. Well it's now available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Video Diary is an app that lets you create a private video collection of your daily thoughts and memories. Recordings remain segregated from your Pictures Hub and can be backed up through your Dropbox account.

Key features include:

  • Full recording reminders where you can set to a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. The reminder includes a deep link that will send you directly to the app.
  • Live tile support that notifies of your reminder service.
  • Automated save system that eliminates the need to name your recordings. Each recording is automatically named with the date and time when you leave the recording screen.

While Video Diary does not support the front facing cameras of the second generation Windows Phone, it is our understanding that such support is in development.

Video Diary is a free, ad-supported Mango App that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Video Diary

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Jil Sander LG-E906 reduced in price...again

Jil Sanders

Not too much of a shock here, but we surmise that the LG-E906 aka the Jil Sander phone is probably not selling too well. First made available at the end of November for £299.99 ($460) the phone dropped to £199.99 sometime before Christmas. Now the phone has taken an even further price cut, 50% from the original, to a pretty sweet £149.99 ($231) which ain't half bad for a phone with 16GB internal storage.

WP Central

To recap, the Jil Sander phone is a collaboration between the famous fashion house and LG. In fact, it's the only "new" phone from LG with Mango and it's not even that original as it is basically an Optimus 7 with some new styling. In that sense, its stats are a little under whelming with a 1Ghz CPU, 3.8" screen and a 5MP camera.

Having said that it is rather stylish and for that low price with no carrier ties, something worth considering.

Source: Expansys; Thanks, Chris F., for the heads up!

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SoundThis is  an interesting albeit very limited hack for 1st generation Samsung phones using WP7 Root Tools. The trick allows you to use basically any size alert on your phone as opposed to the 39 second/1MB limit and you can use different formats, including .aac , .amr , .m4a , .ac3 , .aiff , .flac , .mka , .mp2 and .ogg format (with only .m4a working for SMS).

Now in order to do this, your Samsung phone needs to have interop-access -- not just unlocked -- in order to run the WP7 Root Tools. In theory, if you could get access to the registry and copy/paste files to the /windows folder, you could do this on any Windows Phone, but these tools are a bit limited now.

Finally, if you set your alerts too long, there's no way to dismiss them. It's a complicated hack and seemingly a lot of work just to have a wicked cool and long alert, but hey, it's your phone. While we want to change our email and SMS alerts like everyone else, we'll wait till Microsoft hopefully offers some more customization in further updates.

Get the instructions from XDA Developers.

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Two new 4G WP7 phones are on the way

TheVerge is reporting that unnamed sources in the know have told them HTC and Samsung both have new 4G LTE WP7 devices on the way.  Samsung is currently calling their phone the Mandel, and rumor has it that it will be packing a larger screen than the Focus S, which sits at 4.3 inches.  HTC's phone is called the Radiant, and poked its head up earlier this year, sporting a post-Mango version of Windows Phone.  Despite early speculation that the Radiant was running Tango, TheVerge's sources claim that neither of these new phones will have it. 

No word yet on carriers, but HTC has been rumored to be working with AT&T, while Verizon has also been toying with the idea of a 4G Windows phone.  Both phones are slated for release in early 2012, though perhaps not in time for CES, like Nokia's AT&T 4G handset hopefully will.

Update: According to WinSupersite's "exclusive," both the Radiant and the Mandel (referred to as Mendel) will be on AT&T, along with the Nokia Ace.  While the release date for the HTC and Samsung handsets is listed as "before the middle of 2012," they say the Nokia Ace will be available come March 18.  It is said that all of this will be revealed at CES.

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High traffic crashes Trine's Hangman server

Trine's Hangman

If you've been having trouble playing Trine's Hangman or creating a player account, you aren't alone. The server behind the popular Windows Phone game has crashed. The silver lining in all of this is that it appears the problem is due to high traffic from Windows Phone users playing the game.

We have been contacted by the developer who wants to assure everyone that he is working diligently on getting things back up as quickly as possible. With the server down, you won't be able to update or check on your world rankings, create a new player account or log in with an existing account. But you will be able to continue to play the game and once the server is back up your score and ranking will be kept.

Trine's Hangman is an enjoyable word game for your Windows Phone and hopefully things will be fixed soon. You can find Trine's Hangman Pro (currently on sale for $.99) here and a free, ad-supported version of Trine's Hangman here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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T-Mobile Lumia 710

We know the Lumia 710 for T-Mobile, in both black and white versions, is just days from launching. In fact, it's exactly two-weeks from now on January 11th and T-Mobile already has it listed on the site as "coming soon".

The mid-range 710 features a 1.4Ghz CPU, 5MP low-aperture lens and "clear black" 3.7" LCD screen with physical buttons, making it quite the nice offering especially for the low-price point of $49.95 on contract. The device is the first Windows Phone from Nokia to land on the US shores but many are expecting it to be upstaged by whatever AT&T and Nokia have to show off at CES in the same week.

Hopefully we'll be able to pre-order this lil' guy soon as we're itching to get our hands on it ASAP.  Check our hands-on with the Lumia 710 after the break to get a quick tour.

Source: T-Mobile - Black, White; via WPCentral Forums (KingCrimson)

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Greece embraces Windows Phone with new holiday ad

Greece may have 99 problems these days but Windows Phone ain't one 'em.

In a new ad from Vodafone, four Windows Phones are featured in a pretty funny take on organizing a holiday party. The ad highlights the Samsung Omnia W, HTC Titan, HTC Radar and then features the Nokia Lumia 800 in all its multi-color glory, showing how that company's namesake still carries a lot of weight in international markets.

We always like to see our friends world-wide get into the Windows Phone craze and this ad goes a long way in helping to promote these new devices.

Source: Vodafone Greece (YouTube); Thanks, Oldboy_GR, for the tip!

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WPCentral's Marketplace Games forum is amazing!

WP Central

Do you know Windows Phone Games? Our Forums Members do. Just a quick look at the stickies in our Marketplace Games forum will tell you that. A lot of good work is going on in there--wait a minute, can you really call it work when you're playing games? Well, you don't have to play to get all the good information. WPCentral writer Paul Acevedo has it all spelled out for us.

First, you will need an Xbox Live Games List. Next it is important to know what Games have broken Achievements or Achievements that require internet connections--very important stuff for a true gamer. That should be enough to help you get your game on. When you hit that hard spot and need a tip, just jump back in the Marketplace Games forums and let us know our crazy mad gamers will help you out.

We also have a great series of Xbox Live developer interviews you can peruse if you want the latest from the devs of Windows Phone games. Don't forget to stop in to our Games Spotlight forums where we have 100+ games posted and counting. These Games were added to these forums buy developers--they want you to try their games and give them feedback, so help 'em out if you have a chance. 

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Radio Controlled v1.1

The third-party Pandora app Radio Controlled has been met with high praise since its launch last week. It now sits with 4.5 stars out of 55 reviews, making a it quite a hit with you folks who need your music DJ on the go.

Still, a version 1.0 is only an initial attempt and the developer, Bushwood Studios is hard at work with v1.1 which adds a bunch of fixes, tweaks and a few new features as well. We've been running it for the last 24 hours and really like the changes, some of which you can see above in our screenshots:

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Keep warm with a Windows Phone scarf!

Windows Phone Scarf

Oh man, we really wish these were for sale. Looks like someone got lucky for Christmas with a custom-made Windows Phone scarf...it's good to have friends who have talent, eh?

The little creation was made by John Yu for his buddy Bryon Cheng as a holiday gift and hot damn, it turned out well. We are certainly envious, even with our Nokia pillow.  (John, if you ever want to make an extra, we'll show it off at CES in Vegas next month--just saying!)

So who's going to be the first to mass produce these so we can sell them here at WPCentral?

Source: Twitter; Thanks, John!

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Vote for Nokia Lumia 800 in Gizmodo poll

Lumia 800 vs Galaxy Nexus

Here's an interesting poll that we should all be voting in. The Nokia Lumia 800 (our review) is up against the Android powered Samsung Galaxy Nexus in Gizmodo's "Most Important Gadget of the Year" tournament. Think of it as Unreal Tournament -- not the most recent title, we're on about 2004 or even GOTY -- and it's all about ridiculously over-powered Redeemer and body parts flying everywhere. Or we could bring the image back down to Earth and state it's merely two devices going head-to-head.

No iPhone 4S though, shame. Guess Siri isn't everything after all. Be sure to head on over to Gizmodo (link below) to vote for the Lumia 800, and Windows Phone.

Source: Gizmodo; via WMPU

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Orb is free to download...for now

Orb Screenshot

For a two-day stint, Palladium Power has made their game Orb available for free in the Marketplace.  Orb is a tilt-based game where you navigate your sphere through a series of tiled obstacle courses.  Along the way you must use your skill, along with specialized tiles, to avoid holes and traps.

This isn't the first time Palladium power has offered up this deal.  We saw the free download back in June as well.  If you are interested (which you should be because, if nothing else, it's free!), you can click here, or use the tag below.

Cheers, TheWeeBear, for the tip!

Get Orb for free

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Torchbear bumped to version 1.3

Torchbear

Torchbear, a mobile geolocation based social network game, which went live on the Marketplace a few months ago, has been updated to version 1.3. The update is pretty big with more features and improvements being applied to the app. A quick walkthrough on what's included:

  • Added Search for player and torches to the main page
  • Added World News and Local News
  • Added auto exchanges for pending torches longer than 3 days
  • Added instant exchanges for players who have stopped playing
  • Exchange distance has been increased
  • Added support for Miles or Kilometers
  • New Player Points system
  • Improved loading performance
  • New Leaderboards (World, Nearby, and Following)
  • Ability to save any photo to your phone (including profile pics)
  • Can now exchange torches with a person who has held the torch before

You can download Torchbear for free from the Marketplace. Be sure to check out the official website too.

Torchbear QR Code

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Microsoft confirmed to be working on SMS bug fix

Microsoft SMS Bug Fix

We previously covered the "Windows Phone SMS bug" that would disable the messaging hub on the victim's handset, which was discovered (and reported) by Khaled Salameh. Just two days after the bug was made public by WinRumors, we learnt that Microsoft was looking into the issue. Today we have further news surrounding the bug, Salameh has been contacted by the Microsoft Security Team and informed that they've located the root cause and a fix is currently being tested.

While it's highly unlikely to affect users, it's good to know Microsoft is on top of potential security issues. Now we just need the disappearing keyboard to be looked at. We're getting there.

Source: Twitter (@KSalameh)

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Mother turns son away from the iPhone to Windows Phone

Child Wants Windows Phone

This isn't exactly anything groundbreaking, but it's interesting nonetheless. Christina Tynan-Wood has published an article over at Momster where it's explained how she managed (somewhat accidentally) to turn her son away from Apple, and has bought him a Windows Phone for Christmas. The son's desire for an iPhone stems from friends and the enticing brand which is the big fruit, but this desperation for the iProduct was cut when his mother received a Samsung Focus Flash from Microsoft.

Leaving the device on the counter in the kitchen, the intrigued son picked up the Focus Flash and played around the OS, while checking out the Xbox Live integration. Blown away by how different Windows Phone is, Christina was given a revised Christmas wish list with the iPhone crossed out, replaced by "phone like yours". The main benefits for her son are Xbox Live, Facebook and Metro UI simplicity, but the lack of apps compared to other platforms is also noted.

Head on over to Momster to read the full article.

Source: Momster, thanks Aston for the tip!

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NCIS The TV Game

Back in August, Game House, the makers of Doodle Jump and Tiki Towers, informed WPCentral that they had five mobile Xbox Live titles in the works. These included Collapse!, Delicious!, TextTwist 2, Cake Mania Main Street, and NCIS: The TV Game. And now, for better or worse, three of those titles won’t be attaining Xbox Live status.

Collapse! is already available (with super easy Achievements to boot) and TextTwist 2 is still coming to Xbox Live, so it’s the other three titles that Game House will publish as indie games. In fact, NCIS: The TV Game recently arrived in the Marketplace at the lower-than-Xbox Live cost of $1.99.

Many developers either publish Xbox Live games or indie games, but not both. In this case, Game House basically looked at the three games and decided that retooling them as Xbox Live titles would be more trouble than it’s worth. They have also decided to publish their indie games under the Real Networks label rather than Game House Live like their Xbox Live titles.

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Spider Jack

While iOS hit Cut the Rope has yet to migrate to Windows Phone, today we get the next best thing with Spider Jack, an Xbox Live title from developer MaxNick and EA Games. Yes, EA is still apparently making Windows Phone games (that aren’t exclusive to Nokia handsets).

Spider Jack

The goal in Spider Jack is to get the titular arachnid to his food. To do this, you attach the spider’s thread to a knob. He’ll then swing around, collecting anything he touches. You’ll also need to cut the rope, err, thread in order to drop Jack onto items. With 75 levels (many with multiple possible solutions), this should be a fun physics-based puzzler that stands out from other games on the platform - if not the title that inspired it.

Spider Jack costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Swing over here on the Marketplace to get it.

Spider

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Cro-Mag Rally Title

How much do you like Achievements? That may very well be the factor that helps many people to decide whether or not to purchase the latest Xbox Live Deal of the Week game, Cro-Mag Rally. It’s now on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Cro-Mag Rally is a prehistoric-themed kart racer from Pangaea Software and Citizen 12 Studio. Kart racers are usually pretty fun, but I just didn’t enjoy my time with CMR. As our review indicates, the two primary problems are visuals and track design. CMR originated as a Mac game in 1998, and it shows its age with heinous character designs and terrible 3D graphics. Plus the tracks are just randomly littered with way too many obstacles and tight turns that don’t match the style of game or controls at all. On the other hand, CMR’s Achievements are quite easy, and two bucks isn’t a bad price for another 200 GamerScore.

Cro-Mag Rally is $1.99 for one week only and there is a free trial. Pick it up here on the Marketplace, Achievement hunters.

CroMag

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Music Cloud

If you're a fan of the free "sound hosting" site SoundCloud, you may want to sneak a peek at Music Cloud. From the developers of SuperTube, Free Ringtones and SuperMusic comes a new way to get music and sounds from yet another site. The app itself is well designed and has a ton of features, including background downloading, streaming, manage your SoundCloud account, listen to favorite tracks, etc.

  • View hot music
  • Search music by tracks or groups
  • Save tracks on the phone for offline listening
  • Background and foreground downloads support
  • Background plays support
  • Shuffle tracks
  • Create playlist
  • Shuffle and repeat play supports
  • Play music in the full screen mode or normal mode
  • Sign in your SoundCloud account, and view your dashboard, Tracks, Groups, Favorites, Followers, Friends
  • Listen to your and others Favorite tracks
  • Listen to tracks from other artists or users

Music Cloud

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