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The Official Windows Phone Central app for Windows 8.1 is now available

Today I’m experiencing the wide variety of emotions that comes with launching a new app into any store. I’m thrilled that we’re finally able to share it with you, exhausted from all the time spent getting the underlying code functional and incredibly nervous about how it will be received and whether there will be any major bugs!

So with all of that in mind I’m very proud to present to you the official Windows Phone Central app for Windows 8.1, version 1.0 of hopefully many! Windows store apps can take up to 24 hours to show up in search results but you can find our app ready to download right now right here! If you want to go and grab it then come back and read this article please do, but I’ve got a lot to share with you so make sure you come back!

Introducing Windows Phone Central for Windows 8.1

Welcome to our new large screen news reading experience. We’ve developed this app from the ground up for Windows 8.1 for users of touch screen Windows 8 or RT devices, that being said it will work for those of you who prefer viewing on a traditional PC or Laptop as we’ve been sure to support mouse scrolling and button presses for all actions. We've tested the app on as many devices as we could get our hands on so hopefully you'll find a good experience on all screens and all sizes.

Whilst we’ve not reached feature parity with our long running Windows Phone app, a lot of the core experience you’ll find is ready to go, and of course we’ll be adding new features over time to bring the app up to the high standard we know you all set for us. For now, here are the features you’ll find when you pick up the app today:

  • Live tile with all size options available
  • Rich front page reading experience
  • Portrait and landscape support for every page
  • Full article viewing with inline images and tap-able links
  • Swipe left and right to move seamlessly between articles
  • Swipe up from any article to read and reply to comments
  • Share articles with your favourite apps
  • Light and Dark themes available in the app’s settings
  • Watch YouTube videos (currently through the website)
  • Full screen image viewer with the option to save images to your library
  • Section pages allowing you to look back over the last 100 articles in each category
  • Search experience with quick list view then the ability to view each article in the full viewer
  • Offline caching of news: load the news once on WiFi then read through it later when you’re out of signal

We know that there are far more features in the Windows Phone app but with a little time we hope to add in all the awesome suggestions we’re bound to receive from you all. And we hope you won’t begrudge us any missing features for now, as we’re offering this app free.

Going Free

As recently discussed on our site, we are aware that the landscape has changed significantly since we first released our Windows Phone app, so we’re going to be trying out offering our Windows 8 app free with advertisements in-line with the content. The placement and frequency of these adverts is not finalized and may well increase or decrease in the coming months, but with so much screen space it was much easier to include adverts in a way that didn’t interfere with the experience.

As we also now have in app purchases available (something that was not possible when we released our phone app) we plan on offering some form on in-app purchase to remove the adverts in the future. Right now that will not be possible whilst we get a feel for how effective adverts are on the Windows 8 platform.

We are also discussing our Windows Phone app’s strategy going forward, in the meantime I would like to remind you that we offer a free version of our phone app with banner adverts that will never expire, just tap “trial”.

Feedback & Bugs

We love your feedback, especially when it’s constructive and gives us ideas for tweaks or new experiences we can deliver to you. We’ve created a dedicated forum just for supporting this app which you can find here, (there’s also a link in the app’s settings) and we can’t wait to engage with you there.

We also know there are going to be lots of bugs in this first release (there's already several we know about but weren't quite important enough to wait on shipping the app) that you find in the next few weeks. There's a light version of my WPClogger ready to report any critical ones but you can submit any others through the forum. I'll be working hard to clear up any major issues with the app in order of importance. We were expecting to run a beta of this app but unfortunately Microsoft do not allow any betas on the Windows Store - public or private - so instead we've polished up the features we have right now so we could get something into your hands.

Finally, I want to personally thank everyone for your interest in this app over the past year, your passion has been demanding and somewhat daunting at times (I’ve thrown out the entire source for this app and restarted twice in the past year), yet it’s been a wonderful experience to hear how much everyone wanted to see a Windows 8 version of a project I’m immensely proud of.

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Comments

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Sam Sabri says:

Great work Jay! Can't wait to see you kick ass on Windows 8 like you did with Windows Phone!

Jay builds wonderful apps! :D

carlosrdd says:

At least this is out on Windows 1st!

hopmedic says:

Absolutely! Looks good so far, Jay!

Lobbie1978 says:

Awesome stuff! Much respect Jay! Unfortunately I can't test it on my Surface RT as I forgot it at my moms house :'( But, my desktop will do fine for now! Will try it out inmediately!

malachijd says:

Yeah Jay is awesome I'm in the camp of paying this man for his work. So as soon as a paid version comes out count me in

James8561 says:

this. willing to pay for no-ads.

joecatskill says:

Yup. I'll be happy to pay for this! So happy to have it on my RT!! Thanks Jay!!

SocalTouch says:

1. Congratulations to Jay!
2. Willing to pay/donate right now (need a donate button!)
3. Willing to pay even more for a no ads version!
4. Suggestion : Searching for 'WPCentral' on Windows Store does NOT bring this apps listing, Jay may want to add appropriate keywords to make sure the official apps gets listed when searching for 'WPCentral'

Jay Bennett says:

As we said in the post, it can take another 24 hours for our app to appear in searches. Trust me "wpcentral" is one of our keywords :)

Agent-P says:

Incredible work, Jay! Been waiting for this for a while.

For your 2nd point, YES, I would donate right now!

SocalTouch says:

Excellent work, I have no problem paying a couple of bucks for an app I plan to use more than a couple of times. Any plans to put a paid version too?

Mister-H says:

Wp has no apps and games

 

Jazmac says:

Giggity.  Grabbing it now. I hope it plays better with Windows RT than does this website does.

It's finally here! Yay! Thanks Jay, you're the best! This looks REALLY excellent for v1!

RvpLui1 says:

Fanfreakintastic!

ryraansh says:

Awesome. Now we just need ReadIt, VLC, and Firefox and i'll be done.

We need a WiFi/Bluetooth app! Tired of all the clicks I have to do just to turn on Bluetooth and connect. Hook us up, Jay! I'll throw cash at that damn app!

NIST says:

Jay needs to create a bitcoin wallet.

FrankEpr says:

Thanks for everything you do for this community guys!

bc3tech says:

Well done! Loving it!

Holy crap, this is already fantastic!! Thanks, Jay!

kinpin2131 says:

Great work but I'm not sure I like the design, esp. the colors . The shark pink is a bit to over bearing, it makes it look like some teen girl magazine . Perhaps a little bit of blue could have have been added to even it out ?

Jay Bennett says:

We wanted to go bold with our branding initially, but we do plan on allowing you to customise the app's theme colour in the future

Quin 2013 says:

i like the pink, the app looks amazing.

btw, one thing i notice is that while viewing the comments in vertical view, ots hard to scroll with my left thumb, when replying to a post, the text will disapear off the screen once you reach the roght edge of the box and will not show the text wrapping. also, when posting, the on-screen keyboard remains displayed, must hit the up button on the top left of the keyboard to start from the top and remove onscreen keyboard.

So glad to have your app on my 8.1

Jay Bennett says:

Yeah you can't scroll with your left thumb because that hit area is the swipe to go back up to the article, I'll see if I can change that.

As for the comments in vertical, I noticed that too (although after I submitted the app unfortunately!) and will make sure to resolve it in the first patch

kinpin2131 says:

Ok , that will be great.. !!

honeybudger says:

About time.. Thanks

Micah Dawson says:

Whoo! Will be giving it a try as soon as I can. This is one of the best apps on windows phone and will be one of the best apps on windows 8

I LOLED at that Molly Wood comment!

astroXP says:

Tell me about it, I wasn't expecting to see that for this thread! I didn't make it to the Windows Store screenshots though :-(

dagrepont says:

Woo hoo! Looks good.

rodneyej says:

Downloading Now!!! Cant wait to try it out.

Dadstar0410 says:

Just shut down my Surface. Thanks for your continued support, Jay! Where's the "Donate to WPC" button??? I'd love to contribute :-)

SocalTouch says:

Or a 'Buy Jay a beer button'! Excellent work like WP version of app.

DJCBS says:

Hurray!
They were clearly waiting for Jay to go to bed (it's 3:54am here lol)

schlubadub says:

So you're on GMT too? I'm 8 hours ahead (lunchtime almost over now)

blackhawk556 says:

The app scrolls very smooth on my desktop while using my Logitech touchpad T650. Nice job.

kidjenius says:

Perfect timing. i literally bought a surface pro 2 today

schlubadub says:

Yes, "literally" means he actually bought it today :P

You'll love yours. I love mine! :D

RoyalAdonis says:

I absolutely love it!! Great job, Jay!!

Perfect timing for my new Surface 2

fiveaces01 says:

very cool...love the large tile

Jazmac says:

Jay? First, thank you for the diligence in banging this out one. Long awaited for sure.  Question, when I read one of the more excellent articles on WP Central, I expect to return to where I left in the list but it drops back to the front page every time.  Is that how it supposed function or am I doing something wrong?

Jay Bennett says:

Yep that's a room for improvement item :) will make a note

And also Jay, can we get a video of this app in action for us? I love it when we have videos showing new WPCentral news!

astroXP says:

Bloody awesome! Thank you Jay

silverdoe says:

Fantastic. Comment from the app itself!

silverbladex says:

This has made my week!!

sumothong01 says:

Great Job!
So when are we getting that Xbox one app?

LOL! But seriously, that would be awesome. But submitting to the Xbox store isn't very easy, especially for apps that aren't "entertainment" and gaming.

Bob101910 says:

I'd love Kinect commands for WPC

Jay Bennett says:

You have to be a Microsoft partner to publish on Xbox One unfortunately :(

jaimeastin says:

Thanks!!!! This most used app on my phone. can't wat to download in my surface

Thank you Jay!! This is excellent and I know none of us can wait to watch this app grow as we watched the Windows Phone app become what it is!

1jaxstate1 says:

Great job. looks good and has a nice design flow.

MSFTisMIA says:

Good job Jay! Love your work. One of the best WP devs OVERALL in terms of quality...

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Dadstar0410 says:

I love how native it looks. Almost astonishing, it looks like a Bing app.

sarim_xyz says:

Wow, awesome work, thanks a lot Jay. And it's free!! :D :P

mjrtoo says:

Yeah, they mentioned previously that they sat down with Microsoft and talked about the design, worked very well!

rubenbest says:

Now.....when I use my email to respond to a comment can i use that (app if installed) link?

MethodGT says:

That's actually a great question.

Jay Bennett says:

Not yet, but absolutely planned as a feature

MRKV says:

Very nice app guys! Just downloaded it to my Surface, laptop, and desktop

jake69 says:

Anyone getting a network error? Problem retrieving news feeds.

i am getting the same ,there was a problem retrieving 5 news feed

WinMaverick says:

Same here :(
Though the live tile loading fine

mpt15 says:

Same here :-(

Jay Bennett says:

Hey guys can you head to this thread so we can figure out the problem? http://forums.wpcentral.com/showthread/261291.htm

iZangetsu says:

Unfortunatly, I can't follow that link directly using the 8.1 app like I can with WP app. Just another note.

haha yes strange live tile is updating , now suddenly the app asked me to send an email to mobile nation with some logs(bugs/errors) , so i did hoping for a quick reply from the team :)

Jay Bennett says:

Can you head to this thread so we can figure out the problem? http://forums.wpcentral.com/showthread/261291.htm

Jay Bennett says:

Try refreshing again, if it never works for you then head to those forums and report it so we can figure it out :)

I love the WP app, and now I can do the same stuff in the windows 8 version

Sarang68 says:

Hip hip wpcentral!

dermotf says:

Looks awesome, great job Jay.

Guakala says:

GO JAY! Downloading as soon as I get home.

sunnybyday says:

Have been waiting for this app for so long! Writing this message from the app, its fast and well made - just one issue, too pink for my taste :) Hopefully it will be theme based in future (or at least color choice)

RyanAMG says:

nice work Jay!

purevibz says:

only thing needed is a in app video player, instead of the youtube website.

Jay Bennett says:

Yep that will happen somehow, just wasn't worth delaying the app for now

DVELOPinc says:

Congrats to WPCentral!

purevibz says:

it's so nice and fluid loving it bad.

darais99 says:

just got it looks good

Jay! This is excellent! Can't wait to see this app grow to the same caliber app as the wp8 version. Keep up the good work, man.

KFBradley says:

Great app, but some one article is pulling in comments from 2011?!? Specifically the podcast article.

Sam Sabri says:

That's just for that particular post. Not the apps fault, but something funky we do with podcasting. 

KFBradley says:

Yea, that's what I figured after looking into it more.

yes, the ads don't interfere that much.. Thanks for making the app!

jrnag2 says:

looks great Jay

deansmilk says:

Woooo, ahhhhhh, looks nice! I'm going to download it now.

erzhik says:

Great job! Love what you did with comments, much easier to see who replied to you. WP app needs that too.

mjrtoo says:

Except after a few replies they will all be a single character wide. :)

bahamut443 says:

Looking good! WTG!

milkybuet says:

Writing comment from inside the app!

blackprince says:

Oh man this app is so great looking. More quality work Jay and looking forward to watching this app grow.

Kadcidxa says:

Sweet! Thanks Jay!

LawnPaul says:

making this comment on the app now!

James8561 says:

downloaded. looks great!

i'm very surprised that it's <1MB

wpgeek820 says:

Ummm..i have a problem. I just installed the app but get "network error, there was a problem retrieving 5 of the news feeds." my internet is fine by the way. Can anyone help me out?

Sam Sabri says:

Jay can help you out, but it's about 4:45 in the morning where he is. Give him a few hours :)

+1 the same error , but the live tile is updating :)

Jay Bennett says:

Does that always happen or are your able to load the feeds at all?

wpgeek820 says:

Not able to load the feeds. No data. I tried re-launching the app many times. Still the same.

Jay Bennett says:

Ok, can you head to this thread so we can figure out the problem? http://forums.wpcentral.com/showthread/261291.htm

Well people... It's time to pop the champagne... YAY!!! You did it! Congratulatios Jay. I'm looking forward to the many hours I'll spend using your app.

So, pop dem bottles and toast with me, don't let me get drunk by myself.

But seriously, congrats!

-SERGIO

rdubmu says:

Congrats and thank you for your work Jay!

05Paris says:

I love, love, love it...so much so I paid the 99 cents for the mobile version! WPC app is visited several times a day on the desktop, my 2520 and my 1520.

TonyF64 says:

Same here, and from the same devices.

Just_Me says:

Nice Job, and thank you

rdubmu says:

Thanks, posted from the App! Nice work and looks great!

urikahn says:

as long as i can not increase the font size, i can not read the terribly small text.  at least in the web site i can pinch to zoom and see something... i removed thevapp and will continue to read wpcentral daily on the web.  learn from weave: let the user choose font size!!!!!

1.0, dude! We have plenty of things to add and improve in the coming months! (And technically this is a beta, but the Windows Store doesn't allow public betas, so it's '1.0')

urikahn says:

you had lot's of time to add ability to change font size in the win phone app, but you never did that...

Our WP app has had the ability to change to large fonts for articles and comments for ages. It's right there under Settings.

urikahn says:

Not good enough. I need the font size X5 larger then what the app called "use large fonts in articles". Weave has much larger fonts and not only in articles. In the web version I can zoom to huge fonts

Jay Bennett says:

As Dan points out we do have the option to pinch to zoom font size in the Windows Phone app, and we will be having custom font sizes in the Windows 8 app in a future update. In the meantime as you say, I guess the app is not for you

GizmoEV says:

Why not try pinch zooming in the WP app and see what happens to the text size? Also, try writing some software some time so you can get a little concept of what it takes for even simple programs. Better yet, just write a better one, if you can.

urikahn says:

1. there is no ability to pinch zoom an app in win 8.1 nor in win phone 8.
2. I am a programmer over 35 years, before there were pc's in the world... I expect software to get better and have more options as technology advances, not the opposite.
3. Hey - some suggestions and ideas for improvements are not a negative thing, but wishful thinking for a better future.

Jay Bennett says:

Windows Phone app definitely has pinch to zoom text size. I implemented it over 2 years ago

urikahn says:

first i want to appologize if my "unmannered" comments have offended anyone.  my intention was to suggest an idea that will enable many more people to enjoy your wonderful articles, not to make anyone angry...

if all you wanted was to get a zillion wows and praises for yhe new app, then you got it.  i thought constructive critisizm is more helpful, and i never expacted you to implement my suggestion immediatly or in any rushed priority...

regarding pinch to zoom text - you are right - i checked and realized that since in my settings the font was set to large, pinch to zoom did not do anything sice it was zoomed already to the max.  pinch to squeeze did work...

someone suggested double tap with two fingers but that is a terrible way to read since the text does not re-wrap and you need to constantly scroll sideways in order to read...

 

For a "programmer of 35 years", I'd think maybe you'd have learned some manners and patience regarding software design.

mjrtoo says:

Also, if you need actual zoom and have a Nokia phone, you can enable that in the settings, two finger tap and scroll.

GizmoEV says:

I've been on a beta for a Win8/RT app which didn't use the store. Is there a reason this other option wasn't used?

Jay Bennett says:

We aren't aware of any beta programs that work well with Windows 8 as they often require dodgy sideloading of apps. But would welcome hearing about the one you mention

GizmoEV says:

I just sent you a PM.

R0bR says:

Awesome, now i don't have to pull out my phone when reading WPCentral news while using my tablet.

Darkgift says:

Nice! Goin to download it now.

EDIT: Downloaded, and love it.

WRider says:

looks great, removed pinned website from start screen and replaced with app! great work and thanks!

bjax says:

I'm very happy right now. Aside from Weave, this was one of my most anticipated apps for Windows 8. Thank you Jay and to the whole WPCentral team for what you do.

TallAssRob says:

App looks great Jay!

ricardios says:

Bravo Jay! I'll be paying to remove the ads for sure.

ScubaNitrox says:

Can't wait to try it

jmshub says:

Really dig the app!

Prod1gyHero says:

Great job! The app is fantastic! Definitely impressed!

schlubadub says:

w00t! Can't wait to try this out after work this evening (5 hours to go, sigh)

statvoid says:

Very nice! Great work! Two things, however.

Given Windows' Metro design language, I'm curious as to the reasoning behind using serifs for the articles and titles. I know the New York Times app does this (and Facebook's testing this approach), but why not use serifs just for the titles and headers, then sans serifs for the body text? The whole article in a serif font seems a bit much. When I compare reading on the NYT app with this, the serif is a bit jarring to me.

And I kept clicking on photos in articles to enlarge them to no avail. Obviously the WP8 app does this, but I'm just mentioning that it's an odd transition to make when coming from the one app to another to think "oh, this doesn't behave the same way as the phone app." I know the link is there at the end to view images, but just something that struck me right off the bat. I'm pretty sure you know this though as the article addresses the fact there are differences in features between the two apps.

Just my two cents. Minor nitpicking aside, fantastic job!

MethodGT says:

I agree about the serifs. First thing I did was go into settings to change the font (which doesn't exist yet). But I was able to change the theme to light.

As far as clicking on images, I did the same thing as you. I guess when we're raised to do something... I actually hope this app one-ups the WP version and allows clicking on images and then being able to swipe through all of them, instead of just the one clicked on. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Another thing I'm noticing while typing this response-comment using the app ( on my DV8P in portrait): the text box cuts off the last 30 or so characters from each line of text I type. (so if there's any mispellings or weird things happening, I can't see them.

Jay Bennett says:

In theory the font styling is consistent with Microsoft's recommendations for reading long text on Windows 8, so I followed their conventions. I suspect I'll make that customisable at some point though

iSingBass says:

I think it looks terrific. Supposedly serifed fonts are easier on the eyes for long passages so if the resolution is high enough to support them it seems to be a good functional choice. "Metro" and "authentically digital" don't mean monolithic and compromising and you show that here, Jay.

srslykev says:

was thinking the same thing.. especially on the main screen it doesn't look metro to me.. but if microsoft says it is, then it probably is. ;)

moc426 says:

Awesome, using the app right now, and it is a great experience so far!

lesd777 says:

Nice. Will look for it on my desktop tomorrow.

fwaits says:

A bit buggy as mentioned, but I have no doubts the app will get regular fixes and additions. Great job, looks awesome so far, and look forward to it's maturation process. =)

sholokov says:

I wish it had support for W8. My office laptop is still W8. (No free 8.1 upgrade for commercial use)

Localhorst86 says:

cool. I wish it allowed access to the forums, though

LaNiQuE says:

Jay Bennett is the best i love him WPcentral it's actually my favorite app can't wait to try this out cheers Jay❗❕

mister2d says:

Congrats Jay! I'm very proud of your work.

syedjalalt says:

Although I haven't used the app yet, I have high hopes that it will be as good as expected. 

As much as I love Windows Phone version, I think there is room for improvement. I think the design of the Windows Phone app is not that intuitive. 

 

Check out for example the ESPN app for Windows Phone or BING apps for that matter. They are so good.

I am not saying Windows Phone version is not good. Its just that the way it looks is kind of old  now and I think that needs to change.

 

Jay has been a great inspiration for all Windows users,

 

Thanks for all your effort. Also, thanks Sam Sabri and other contributors.

deloa84 says:

Jay is awesome. Got it working on both my laptops. :)

xmarklive says:

i love this app but i wish the news storys scrolled vertically like on the web page as well as the app. scrollling left to right just feel wrong.

Jay Bennett says:

Vertical scrolling is something we will be playing with in the future at some point

seanjaeger says:

Personally I like the horizontal scrolling. Mosts of the Win8 apps do this. Bing News/Bing Finanace/etc. If it becomes an option in the settings I think it would help those that prefer vertical.

ItsMcDiddles says:

Awesome, unfortunately I had to reinstall w7, my time ran out with the enterprise 90 day trial.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Micah Dawson says:

It looks so lovely on my surface. I love the full screen capabilities!

thefabgar says:

Congrats guys!!

Congrats Jay on your new acomplishment. You are an awesome developer and your apps are always welcomed by the WPCentral community. The app looks beautiful from the screens posted. I'll try it out for sure once I get back home.
 

syedjalalt says:

I totally agree with you. he has been great at what he set out to do. Giving us great experience on our phones and tablets. 

Windows Phone and WIndows are so beautiful. Opened great new design trends for developers so that we get these beautiful apps to work with.

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