Apps

Did anything happen this week? Duh, Windows Phone 8.1 came out through the Preview for Developer program on Monday morning. Since then we’ve all been spending so much time with Cortana, Notification Center, Data Sense and much more. You can catch up on everything by checking out our Windows Phone 8.1 review. In the meantime, the Windows Phone Store was still busy with new apps and games. Let’s take a moment to go back and check out the app highlights of the week!

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Measure light with Lux-o-Meter for Windows Phone

You can now use your Windows Phone device as a lux meter thanks to a new app that has just released called Lux-o-Meter. It measures brightness or illuminance using the built-in light sensor. The sensor is usually next to the front-facing camera on your device. Go ahead and check where it is on your phone.

Head past the break to watch our hands-on video and walkthrough with Lux-o-Meter.

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We're excited to announce another patch to our official Windows Phone app today, which you can download right now here in the marketplace (Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7). Whilst this version 4.4.18 is not the biggest update we've ever announced we suspect a fair few people will be quite happy.

Following a flood of e-mails and messages complaining about our live tile's compatibility with the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 we've made sure that tile transparency now works correctly for both of our live tiles. The other headline change is that we've now made all features of the app available to all users.

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CookAid, a DIY recipe app for Windows Phone 8

CookAid isn’t your run of the mill cooking app for Windows Phone 8. It falls in line with a “do-it-yourself” app in that you create your own recipes. Once created, you can generate shopping lists based on the ingredients needed for any of the culinary delights you’ve documented.

Another feature that helps set CookAid apart from just creating a Word document for your recipes is the voice and audio support. If you are looking for a Windows Phone 8 app to generate tasty recipes, CookAid might not be for you. If you are looking for an app to preserve your Grandmother’s recipes, you may want to give CookAid a try.

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Auto Witness is an interesting Windows Phone 8 app that could come in handy should you find yourself in a traffic accident. Auto Witness is a video recording app that sets up on a loop and saves your video automatically if a rapid acceleration or deceleration is detected. The app can also automatically save the videos to your OneDrive account.

The Windows Phone 8 app was chosen as runner-up in the 2014 Nokia Create Competition (Freestyle Master Category) and while it does a nice job of recording your travels, there are a few downsides.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve seen updates for 6tag (Instagram client) and 6sec (Vine client) from developer Rudy Huyn. Today, we’re getting updates for both, including a 2.0 release for 6sec.

6tag has received CloudSix integration, which is Huyn’s other pet project. CloudSix offers an unparalleled experience for cloud hosting companies on Windows Phone, including Dropbox (Huyn mentioned that he plans to expand CloudSix coverage to OneDrive, Mega, Google Drive and more in the future). Today’s update includes that along with support for “phablets under Windows Phone 8.1”.

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Since Windows Phone 8.1’s preview release this week, you folks can’t enough of the new Start screen backgrounds. And here you thought you’d hate them ;)

We covered a cool little app dubbed Transparency Tiles earlier this week, as it’s used to re-create Tiles for your 8.1 Start screen for native and popular apps. On first release it covered just Xbox Games, Music and Video, but we told you more apps would be coming. Since that time, the app has had a few updates, with the latest just going live a few moments ago.

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One of the complaints cropping up with Windows Phone 8.1 was performance issues with the Xbox Games app. Like Xbox Video and Xbox Music, the Games hub is also no longer in the OS, but rather a separate, updatable app.

Some users recently complained that the app wouldn’t load their profile or worse, games would not populate. (We didn’t see it ourselves, but it was reported in our forums often enough).

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Top Star Wars Games for Windows Phone

Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Star Wars

There is little argument that the Star Wars franchise has had its fair share of success. From the movies to action figures to video games the Star Wars logo always seems to draw a crowd. I can remember watching the first installment, Episode IV: A New Hope, countless times in theaters and being amazed at the special effects (that seem to pale in comparison with what we have today).

This week we’re taking an easy approach to the roundup, focusing on the top Star Wars games (and a few apps) that are available for the Windows Phone platform. While Star Wars is a popular genre, its presence in the Windows Phone Store is a little on the thin side. There are some entertaining and challenging Star Wars games but some rather obvious omissions. Hopefully that will change.

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We are absolutely loving the translucent Live tiles in Windows Phone 8.1. Don’t worry, we’re just as confused by how much we love this new feature. It’s one thing to see it leaked in videos recorded with a potato, but it’s another to actually use it. We’re not alone, a lot of you seem to love the feature and developers are moving to support the translucent tiles in their own applications. Looking for a weather app that plays by the translucent rules? Then check out the updated version of Vieather.

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Update 7:45 PM ET: As predicted, the beta app has now been unpublished from the Store

After the dust has settled with the Preview of Windows Phone 8.1, early adopters are noticing quite a few changes, some of which are causing some speed bumps. For instance, Twitter. The app works quite well on 8.1, but the ability to Share to the app has disappeared and it doesn’t fully leverage the capabilities of the 8.1 operating system.

The beta build of the app is circulating in an open beta, though it's sure to be closed now that it has leaked publicly. Regardless, here’s what to expect in Twitter for Windows Phone 8.1...

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Simple Calendar is one of our favorite third-party calendar apps for Windows Phone, and even though the native calendar improved in Windows Phone 8.1, this app still has a great design. Today, version 4.5.2.0 is live in the Store and if you’re on 8.1, you may have had the app auto-update.

So what’s new? We have all  the details.

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We’re not IP lawyers by a long shot, but we know when a company appears to be making a spurious claim. Such is the case with the French site Weave.eu, who have filed a complaint against the developers behind Weave News Reader on Windows Phone.

The claim looks to be IP trolling for a few reasons, including the fact that the French site isn’t a news, or a news aggregator that uses RSS technology. What’s more, their "community trademark" was established in 2012, which is about two years after Weave hit Windows Phone way back in 2010.

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We've previously looked at how bad Xbox Music is on Windows Phone 8.1 (in the Preview for Developers, anyway), but the experience has never been flawless on Windows Phone. Microsoft evidently knows this as the company is looking to roll out an update next week (April 22nd), which will kick off bi-weekly releases for the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview client.

This is superb news for Xbox Music Pass holders who wish to have a decent experience on the phone.

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While the vast majority of changes to Windows Phone 8.1 have been a welcome gust of fresh air to our phones, there are some things that take getting used to. The fact that Cortana doesn’t have Bing Vision may be chalked up to it being in ‘beta’, although we hope Microsoft at some point brings the feature back to search. The Bing service is used by many people on this site for scanning our app QR codes at the end of articles, so not having it readily available is a turnoff.

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