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Introducing Hidden Gems, our new series showcasing distinctive apps for Windows and Windows Phone!

Reporting and reviewing apps and games is part of our job at Windows Phone Central. Some of it is easy, like when a major app finally makes its way to our ecosystem, but if there's one thing we especially love, it's discovering an exceptional and unknown app. Often, it's you, our audience that brings them to our attention. Today, we're changing the tables around.

Starting tomorrow and running throughout the rest of June, we're partnering up with Microsoft to give away some great prizes and focusing on a select few apps and games that we think deserve some attention. They may for devices or services you are not aware of, they may be unique games, but they have all been handpicked.

The series is planned to run every day before noon Eastern Time, and they'll feature our cool little graphic (see below) so that you know it is part of the Hidden Gems program. We're also creating a main topic page, where you can view all the previous Hidden Gems articles in case you want to catch up. You can find that page here: www.wpcentral.com/hidden-gems, so make sure you bookmark it.

Contests

Besides bringing these apps to your attention, we figured we spice it up a bit too. So we're going to give away a prize.

Each. Day.

You read that correctly. Every day, you can enter the contest by simply leaving a comment on why you like (or don't like) the app or game we're highlighting. No need to pretend here folks, we and the respective developers, want your honest opinion. The only thing we do ask is for you to try and make your comments constructive. One-word comments are not going to cut it. If we're going to take the time to give away a phone or a tablet, the least you can do is write a sentence or two with an honest opinion, cool?

The contests are open worldwide.

At the end of the month, when everything is wrapped up, we'll do a massive winner's post, highlighting who won for each of the preceding days in one shot. That also means you can go back and enter the contest for previous Hidden Gems articles up until the end of the month, so don't fret about missing a day.

Hidden Gems is a big experiment for ourselves and Microsoft, though we're confident that we can deliver an exciting and unique campaign for you, our core audience. We're not expecting you to love everything we cover, but we're sure that you'll find something you like.

Helps us make this a fun series and join in!

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Comments

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mundyb says:

What a great idea! Looking forward to some cool new gems!

This looks so awesome!Definitely going to participate Each.Day :D

You read that correctly :3 :P

HaibaneReki says:

LOL I see what you did there =P +920

I saw that too. Yes I really did.
BTW, The graphics in the picture reminds me of PolyScreen... It really became too popular, specially among WPC members and editors

Agreed! This is a great idea. Kudos, WPCentral staff.

What type of English dialect are you thinking that in?

terrokkinit says:

+Icon! Looking forward to this!

QilleRz says:

This is going to be awesome ! And love the worldwide word :DD

Yup! These words should be used more often...

sph0308 says:

Great Idea...looking forward to discovering some useful apps.

wabelo says:

I'd love to see Bluestacks Mobile for Windows Phone 8.1 or maybe WP9. It would be pretty awesome and also a gem every wpuser sure will collect. Imagine emulating & running android apps just for fun (and showoff) :D 

So are the prizes based on the posted content or random for those with 1-2 sentences?

We'll have more details tomorrow, but let's just say they're all big prizes...likes phones and tablets big.

Wael Hasno says:

Gee, never won anything. I'll be glad to participate.

I've never win anything either. For many years and 100 of contests, I have not one once

interopbyt says:

Me neither. I hope I win something :D

matheee says:

Android tablets? ;)))

sip1995 says:

If they are android tablets, I'll install a Windows Phone launcher.

sr! says:

You Mathee, with immediate effect are automatically disqualified from all of the future contests.:)

xxxneoxxx says:

Nooooo!!!!! Such lag. Much slow.

Needs more Windows. ;)

So im guessing for in regions where most phones are lock to a network we'll have a choice based on were we live/who our service provider is

Arda Ozkal says:

Baah, if I win a phone, can I change it with a tablet? I have phones everywhere and our imports dont allow phones ;( Buuut wait. Mr Burak is on USA. Lemme think ;)

wabelo says:

We demand more details :D! We-wanna-win!

Surface Pro 3?? Or a Nokia Lumia 1520?

This sounds like a great idea!

jaywinjv says:

Sounds exciting and useful. A great way to showcase and improve apps.

Rainmarie says:

I love it! I'm all in!

Can anyone from anywhere in the world win?

Yes. Worldwide, so long as you have a mailing address ;)

matheee says:

Mailing Address?? Damn!!

Mestiphal says:

In some 3rd word countries our addresses are as follow:

Diagonally from where the old Texaco gas station used to be, down the street from the yellow house, in front of the mango tree

juanitoriv says:

Not just in 3rd world countries. Parts of New Mexico are still like that!! Except it's piñon tree, not mango. 8)

mildor says:

Sorry for popping your bubble, but México IS a 3rd world country

I live in México, I'm mexican, so don't get mad about it, but that's the truth 47.4% of the population is poor, so...

Nataku4ca says:

um... isn't New Mexico a state of US?

Geography is hard.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

It isn't. We've made it hard :P

PBLNS says:

Uh!... Am Mexican... and sorry for mildor's ammm lets call it lazy reading hehehehe

You didn't even read the comment properly, did you? He said *New* Mexico. He's not referring to our country.

The Integral says:

'New' Mexico not Mexico. I think it's one of the US states.

Those sound like directions i used to get when I was a Marine Corps recruiter, except that you didn't include the words "crick' "holler" and "yonder."

(I recruited in WV)

"Aight, you go down a ways, past the red painted rock, then turn left down the dirt roa'  . On the right you'll see a meat packing plant, on the left you'll see ol' man Wiggan's shack.  Go over the crick, past the windmill, and you'll come to a holler.  Make a left and a ways down the road over yonder on top of the hill, you'll see our farm.  You can't miss it."

That was an actual conversation I had with a parent so I could come interview his son for the Marine Corps.

So it's not just 3rd World countries...

Tumling says:

What a great idea!

AskaLangly says:

I'm game. Sadly all apps I have downloaded were talked about by you and Sam, Daniel.

Armada says:

I hope there's just as much focus on Windows 8 as Windows Phone, because I always find it hard to find decent apps for my tablet.

I agree 100% as even I have the same problem! It's one of my top priorities in the coming months.

Arda Ozkal says:

Yep, same here. (try and if you want showcase bustin jieber, please)

What exactly are you trying to find or do?

"decent" and "hard" are very subjective. For instance, my family has dish network. Dish has no apps for any windows platform, not even Xbox. But dish has apps for many other platforms, including ps3. Dish also has promotions with other tech firms.

Now I could switch to Comcast and get some added applications made available to the windows ecosystem, but my house's consensus is that dish is the better option.

I use that as one example of a well known Telco. But parity of conventional apps across various platforms will still be seemingly hard or difficult...

Do I find an application to supplement the completion of tasks I already do, or do I find new tasks to accomplish via an application?

That is the difficult question...

BataBole says:

Out of topic, does anyone has problems with notifications (comment replies) on WPCentral app?

matheee says:

Dont get notifications for weeks...

Debapriyo J says:

Well I seem to have a problem with WPCENTRAL tile which doesn't even show the icon of it, it's totally blank!

Jay Bennett says:

I'm looking into that issue now, if it's what I think it is and you disabled the live tile after enabling it, some users tell me clearing the app cache works. Others say a reinstall will fix the problem for you :)

I just messed with the Live Tile settings in the app then turned it back off and it fixes it for me.

Never received a single one & would like to see the unread count work without changing the lock screen background

peachy001 says:

Not had an email for a week or so.

Marco Gomes1 says:

It's been like that for over a month.

sandeep208 says:

ya i do have notifications problem

Oxymoron428 says:

This is gonna be aaaaaawesome!!

DJCBS says:

Well, before we get all excited here, and since the partnership is with Microsoft (who still has NOT shipped the prizes of last October's Surface 2 launch contests), will it be US-ONLY or will it be open Worldwide?

Worldwide and we're taking care of the shipping, not Microsoft.

Including duty & taxes?

DJCBS says:

Well, thank God for both of those! ;D

Sam Sabri says:

To the world!

euichii says:

And beyond....LOL..

HyperKid says:

Wait US only?

hopmedic says:

No. Did you read the article?

SinisterDuck says:

Of course he didn't. Why would he do that?

Marco Gomes1 says:

Cause reading the article is so damn hard.

spectre51 says:

Wow this sounds amazing. Hoping to learn about some cool apps I missed and maybe win something along the way. Looking forward to this.

beej says:

I love this program. It seems like it'll be good for users, developers, WP Central, and Microsoft. Nice!!

peachy001 says:

Kudos people..... Sounds great. I don't surf the store too frequently, and 95% of my installs come via recommended apps on Central.

JavierG says:

Same with me, most of the apps i install are because of an article or comment here in WPC :)

j_cmd says:

This is great, both the showcase for apps,  and the idea of having an opportunity to get some nice prizes. Im all IN!

CommonBlob says:

Sounds good :)

Sahil Kutty says:

Love the concept! Hopefully will get to see some really cool apps..

Sahil Kutty says:

..and maybe win some really cool prizes! ;)

TechnoTim says:

This a a great idea.

sunco says:

For the contest.. add some kind of block on comments, so people can't comment 80 times. You said you need honest reviews, so.. at least for this series

Kirsutin says:

just filter out and discard any comment made by some one doing that

joe_easton says:

This is a great idea; let's really hightlight the apps and work to make them better.  The contest is also really nice!

 

barry.weston says:

Great idea. Been looking for a spot light on hidden apps for a while.

barry.weston says:

Great idea. Been looking for a spot light on hidden apps for a while.

sd173 says:

I love this site.

Sam Sabri says:

I love your comment.

euichii says:

I love your comment to his comment

I lov ... ok ... Enough.

sip1995 says:

I love the "Enough" :)

Arda Ozkal says:

I love the " " " (in The middle.)

iqcool1 says:

Love is in the air, people.

Syd F says:

seems faster

kiddj55 says:

Also check out @wpscoops! They have a bunch of hidden gems that you guys have missed. Especially indie games such as pako, tales of the adventure company, and cube raider just to name a few.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

sip1995 says:

Get a Windows Phone.

hopmedic says:

I think he wants to won one in the contest.

kiddj55 says:

Have a Windows Phone. 925 is my daily driver but I use my Nexus 5 when I'm around the house.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Sounds awesome!  Cannot wait to see what all you highlight!

Gremsems says:

Looking forward to finding and trying out some of these hidden gems. Can imagine there being some great apps/games around!

Sonu K says:

WOW!!!
Thank you WPC.. :D

Amazing! I knew that wpcentral was up to something, this is huge giveaway, or better say giveaways! This should also improve the brain storming for apps, since people will be required to be constructive in their comments

Useful, I bought a lot of apps, this is a great way to ask for improvements on some of them...

Not going to lie... this is simply an awesome way for Microsoft to engage with its community of devs and users and fans. Mad props to them. Great initiative!

Prensescim says:

Sweeeeeeeeet! Let the games begin!

NHUK says:

If it means we also get access to some free apps then bring it on

Arda Ozkal says:

If i get showcased, I'll give 100,000 coins to everyone. ps. Gonna update it tomorrow, it'll be legend- wait for it -dary.

purevibz says:

Nice can't wait.

davsug says:

Great idea.  Hopefully I'll find some apps I'm not aware of

 

Great ideia! Can't wait!

Please WP Central: If you get some contact from the developers that you'll review the games ask they to make their games available here in Brazil. I can help them.

cfischer69 says:

Looking forward to cream-of-the-crop apps I've missed in the Store.

cfleury55 says:

Great Idea! I'm always looking for new app ideas.

LeeTowers says:

Thanks for going worldwide with this!

txkimmers says:

Neato (official opinion).

mrCh3p3 says:

This is a great opportunity for new apps, count with me

Badcard says:

Bring on the gems!

nizzon says:

US only what a freakin surpr... Oh wait. \:D/

alienking70 says:

Fantastic idea!

sip1995 says:

The contests will be US only or available worldwide ?

Presto says:

Sign me up I'm in. I rarely ruin stuff so I'll try my best.
Ps. Please Microsoft get Cortana to the UK. I know you read this.

sip1995 says:

Just wait a few weeks....

DVELOPinc says:

Awesome. I'm always looking at the little known apps as opposed to big names. Sometimes the devs tend to really put an effort into them instead instead of riding on a name and not caring.

Houdani says:

You have my attention!

Saibot 2011 says:

Is there an age restriction?

chilero says:

I love this idea as well.  The prizes are a nice bonus but I'm really looking forward to seeing the apps.

thekinghippo says:

Looks like I'd better make a wpcentral account.

Based on your comment, you did. Welcome!

sicnus says:

This article is encouraging

AA_91 says:

Been following WPC for a while... Never commented
This might just get me started ;)

guillams says:

Well, i hope every app has a try, so we can test it all of them!

wimvanp1 says:

Wooow! What a good idea! Live it! We get to know new apps and you're giving us the opportunity to win amazing prices! WPcentral for the win!

mildor says:

What countries can participate?

(We're still waiting for the "developers survey contest" that never show up results)

sip1995 says:

Yes, I have 200+ apps and I want more.

juaanmii920 says:

Awesome idea. Hope it works :3

Interesting..well I will need to polish my english and start writing more than two sentences. 

I need a new tablet!

sip1995 says:

What kind of tablet ?

chaduma says:

I'm liking this. There's always buried treasure to be uncovered in the Store.
Winning something would be icing on the cake.

taymur says:

I like how most of the idea are driven fun the forum.

IceDree says:

Sweet !!! Looking forward to it!
Prizes-or-not I'm always looking for the good stuff & love hearing your take on it! :)

Seriously, thank you guys :)

I love it! Just another excuse to brag about my windows ecosystem to my coworkers today :)

SPIFF Costa says:

WPCentral never disappoints

CrazyQwert says:

Oh! I really like the idea! :)
Maybe you could also make use of Nokias App Social :)

My favorite is video, but there is one I hate an is because of it lack of features, I am talking about calculator it only has the basic, no it should be as smart as Android or IOS

Corepc says:

Turn the phone calculator will switch between different modes.

Nice, great idea WPCentral Team!

rizzo183 says:

Awesome!! Another contest!!! This site........................is................................................SO COOL!!! :D

mukulvdhiman says:

Hidden gem : Power planner

Tony Rosa17 says:

New to Windows phone, luv it! WP central,is the most used app on my 920

Can I claim the prize SKU "lunch with Daniel Rubino & Satya Nadella"?

My treat, of course...

wolfdtx says:

On here multiple times a day! Happy to participate :-)

Starwave says:

Made an account just to lower everyone's chance of winning!
... Just kidding guys ;)

I had to create an account sooner or later, and this seemed like the perfect moment to do so.

Good luck and have fun everyone! :)

bigmickc22 says:

Constructive, hmmmm! I think this is a brilliant idea and you need to run it longer than the end of June. Keep up the great work, I read your articles every day.

Great idea bring it on. I'm all ready to comment...

bradm77 says:

That sounds awesome, count me in!

You guys are awesome! Keep it up

Neo Nuke says:

Yes. Great idea

neonspark says:

not exactly original in the context of smart phone app articles but I have to praise you for finally putting a stop to the whole weather app feature. may we never see another weather app again!

The biggest reason you had so many weather apps is that was pretty much the only system API that developers had access to back in the early days.

More API access = more diverse apps.

ScottGeek says:

Very Cool!  And a Prize to Boot! - you had me @ at "Hiidden Gems" 

~ScottGeek.

mkdll says:

This is awesome, I'm always looking for great apps in my WP that for some reason are not popular enough.

os1019 says:

Kudos to Wp Central.

os1019 says:

Lets kick this into overdrive.

louisoneal says:

I like turtles.

I just pee'd a little. Great idea.

Loewentier says:

This is such a nice idea from you guys and the people from microsoft! I´m looking forward for some interesting stuff!

Sing:
"Summertime,
And the livin' is easy
Apps are jumpin'
And the chances are high"

anon7555199 says:

What a great idea! I'm looking forward to learning about these hidden gems!

sugardad says:

That's awesome,
what a great way for prize giveaway and benefit at the same time from constructive user comments thus make the app(s) better and see what currently trends!
I'm all In!!

Sounds really awesome!

MoJagFan says:

Now this is awesome and worthy of windows phone central.

blackprince says:

Sweet mother of Odin. This will be great.

venetasoft says:

WPC + Microsoft = Awesomeness
Fantastic idea, really....
A win-win for all, developers, users, WP !!
Thank you very much for this opportunity.

luizioc says:

Love The idea. Bring it in.

Planblover08 says:

Can't wait! This is pretty cool. Been following this site 2010. WPCentral has became a must have app for any WP. Literally the only place to get WP and even win rt app news. lol

dalydose says:

Thank you for making the requirement more than one word and constructive. I *hate* all the "useless" talk around here. It offers nothing to the conversation.

luizioc says:

Karaka! There's too much of us. We are really big nerds! After years complaining about MS, we look like cheerleaders. Kkkkkkk

Lipe13 says:

Omg HUEBR detected HWIEHAUEHWUEH. We'll win some prizes!

JoRdaNeK says:

A contest each day keeps the JoRdaNeK at bay.....you read that correctly: Each.....and.....Bay :P

CuteBug says:

Hi Daniel,

This is a great idea. It would help developers like me.

But my question is how do I get my latest apps to be reviewed and reported in this series? 

 

Sounds like Awesome sauce of Awesomeness...

 

eyesoreM says:

What a great comp. Just goes to show how popular this site has become that a competition of this magnitude can be run. All because of the great articles & reviews.
Keep up the great work lads. Think I'll have to make room on my 925 to install these gems. Good luck everyone.

Warbird2017 says:

Is there an age limit for entering for prizes

Bookmarked the page.
So excited with this!!!

MikeInTexas says:

I think this is a great idea. I am a relatively new WP user (about 3 months now) and will find information about apps very helpful since I haven't really had time to explore many of the ones I'm not already familiar with from my previous Android phones. I was an Android user for quite a few years and wanted to try something different. I'm glad I did. I like WP (Lumia 1020) a lot more than I expected.

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