apps

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Windows Phone apps magazine

The Windows Phone UK blog have just posted a new entry about their digital guide to the Windows Phone 7 for consumers. This magazine covers topics including; social networking, games, FAQs, Marketplace and an introduction to the operating system.

Perfect for all users, especially those who have just made the leap to WP7, the magazine features over 140 apps. Some of which are sorted into twelve categories: news & weather, travel, maps & search, games, productivity & tools, business, entertainment, music & video, lifestyle, reference & books, social networks and photography. Not to mention a list of ten apps that will help improve ones life.

Some helpful tips on getting yourself started with both Zune and setting up a Live ID are included as well as some tips and highlights of WP7. Head on over to the blog via the link below to check out the publication.

Source: Windows Phone UK Blog

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We haven't tossed this one around in a while and with Verizon customers coming on board soon with the HTC Trophy, it was suggested (thanks Sam) that we touch on the top apps over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

We've got two sources to draw upon (actually there's more but we decided to settle on these two). First there's Bing's Visual Search (as depicted above) that lumps free with paid apps in their list. Then there's the Marketplace top ten that breaks things down into a list for free apps and a list for paid apps (see below).

Follow the break to read what apps stood out from both lists.

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If you are looking for a good YouTube app for WP7, head over to XDA and check out the latest version of LazyWormApp's YouTube.  This stunning client is packed with features, including customized searching, favorites, full comment support and streaming of HQ videos over 3G and Wifi.  You can watch videos in preview form, or rotate your phone for full size.  There are a number of new features and improvements over the previous version:

New features
- Lazylist (customizable video feed)
- Author details and subscription
- Regional settings
- Recently played videos (history)

Improvements
- Subtle interface animations
- Selectable description text (Nodo only)
- Preview playback while browsing comments & author
- Usability improvements
- Bug fixes

You can download the Marketplace or from the original thread.

Source: XDA

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With all the 'bad people' out there and how smartphones solve Human problems (wireless communication, entertainment values, etc.), one would hope that an offering would reach Windows Phone 7 to combat sex offenders. Well, it has.

An app called Sex Offenders Search is slightly like Bronseal's slogan; "It does exactly what it says on the tin" (if you don't know Bronseal), where it displays to the user all registered sex offenders in and around your area (using GPS and maps). The app allows you to select an offender and view a photo, name, address and offenses. 

Sex Offenders Search is currently only available in the US, bit of a pain for us Europeans, and can be found on the Marketplace for $1.99 here.

Source: WP7 Connect

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Although we have seen some MIX11 apps for Windows Phone in the past, it looks like Microsoft rolled out their "official" one yesterday, called 'Conference Helper'.

The app is a great tool for those attending the big Microsoft sponsored dev conference next week in Las Vegas, as it gives a way to mark events to attend, has a floor map, news and general info. No outstanding features e.g. live tiles or notifications are present, but it's not bad for what it is either.

  • Browse and search sessions
  • View sessions filtered by speakers and tags.
  • Manage your favorite sessions.
  • Access sessions and schedule information even without Internet access.
  • View maps of the conference center and the neighborhood.

The alternates, MIX11 Explorer (from eDefine) or MIX11 from ConceptDevelopment.net are also good choices, with MIX11 Explorer getting the highest reviews of all.

Here are the links to the Marketplace for each: Conference Helper (Microsoft); MIX11 Explorer and MIX11

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Official XDA app is here

After 7 months of development, XDA's official app for Windows Phone 7 is here.  It is equipped with Toast notifications and Live Tile support, so you can receive real-time PM notifications.  Sporting the Metro user interface, the XDA app let's users:

  • View forums
  • Send/receive PMs
  • Subscribe to forum
  • Read and respond to posts
  • Check news from the Portal

Download it here for $0.99.

Source: XDA; Via: MobilityDigest

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HTC releases a native compass app

If you have an HTC branded Windows Phone, you may want to check out their new free compass app pushed to the Marketplace (though oddly, not available in the HTC Hub just yet).

The app is not as nifty as LG's augmented reality apps but it's not half bad either, allowing you to have a dynamic magnetic compass plus use "walking directions" to some nearby location can be pretty useful. Plus, it's free and is fun to play around with (the app will even keep your screen on while running, which was smart).

Just click the link here to open up the Marketplace either via Zune or on your phone. Only HTC devices need apply, unless you have an unlocked/developer phone then you can try the .XAP file here.

via wmpoweruser

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Kinabalu Innovation Limited has informed us that SurfCube is making the move to being ad supported, starting with version 2.5.  The trial version will no longer be capped at 20 uses, but will display a small advertisement.  Anyone who purchases the 3D browser will be able to use it free of ads.

Due to popular demand, SurfCube 2.5 will also include the ability to save JPEGs directly to the phone.  The people spoke and Kinabalu listened.

If you want to check out SurfCube Free 2.5 you can get it here.

The full paid version ($1.99) can be found here.

Source: Kinabalu Innovation Limited

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According to Jaime Rodriguez on Twitter, a client evangelist at Redmond, the Facebook for Windows Phone 7 team is working on a fix for the problems some users have been experiencing with the official Facebook app. Until the fix is cleared and the app updated on the Marketplace, we recommend to continue using built-in integration, albeit slightly less feature rich. 

Stay tuned for an announcement as to when the update is available for download!

Update: The update has been released on the Marketplace and is ready to download. Please update when possible to fix the crashing issues present.

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Opera for WP7 launching at CTIA

Opera has announced that it will be releasing its first WP7 browser, Opera Mobile 11, at CTIA next week.  Along with Mobile 11, the launch will also include Opera Mini 6.  Between the two versions Opera plans to cover a wide range of mobile operating systems: Windows Phone 7, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Symbian/Series 60, J2ME and MeeGo. Commenting on the versatility of the cross-platform browser, Lars Boilesen, CEO, had this to say:

"In our lineup, all players are equally important--we leave no device behind. Our small and clever pieces of software will give you a 5-star experience, no matter what hardware you prefer"

Details are scarce, so we'll just have to wait and see develops at CTIA.  If this holds true, Windows Phone 7 users will finally have an alternative to Internet Explorer.  It will also be interesting to see how the Opera announcement will effect the Mango update and IE9's transition to the mobile platform. 

Source: Opera; Via: PocketNow

Update: False alarm

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The majority of us are by no means tech savvy and we are sometimes found to be stuck at a wall when attempting to accomplish something that requires some technical knowledge and/or skill. To name a specific situation - bloggers or website owners who wish to publish an app that allows readers (and visitors) to use the website or services through a customised environment, instead of the web browser.

This is where FollowMyFeed comes into play for Windows Phone 7. Any website owner who wishes to feature an app, one can simply input their RSS feed into the system, which then creates an application based solely on that feed. Very handy for end-users with the included availability of faster loading times, offline usage and a Metro UI feel. The only perk is you will need to be able to submit the application to the Marketplace, which requires an annual subscription of $99 over at the App Hub.

There have already been successful implementations similar to this idea on other platforms. Invision Power Services, who specialise in community software (namely IP.Board), introduced means for forum owners to use the official app on the iOS platform that took advantage of the mobile template offered and allowed for a more enjoyable experience for end-users.

FollowMyFeed is a great option to aid sites and blogs with easily creating an app for the platform quickly and effectively. While not perfect by any means, and not entirely comparable to full personalised apps with huge lists of features, it’s a step in the right direction for more exposure with the growing Windows Phone 7 community.

Source: Go Microsoft; via 1800PocketPC

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The official Facebook application, brought to you by Microsoft, is experiencing some odd crashing issues with some users. Checking the Marketplace for the application and reading some reviews featured on the app summary page displays a clear indication as to the scale of the problem.

We have attempted to reproduce the issue ourselves, and were only able to report one instance (Samsung Focus - another Focus worked however) that experienced crashes when running the Facebook app. It appears (at this early stage) to be randomly tripped with no apparent cause(s) being identified.

Reading the reviews back to the beginning of March, it seems as though it suddenly sprung on unsuspecting users, who are now understandably frustrated. Much like the Youtube offering from Microsoft being a complete flop, this is a serious concern that must be addressed soon to prevent further negativity clouding the WP7 experience and continuing the painful reminder of the pre-NoDo update.

Are you familiar with these recent issues? There is a temporary workaround for posting statuses and commenting on friends updates via the built-in integration the Windows Phone 7 platform sports. At least we have some way of spying on people we dislike while the official gateway to social goodness is unreliable or simply not working.

Thanks mk for the tip!

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Debugging WP7 apps [Developers]

Den Delimarsky has posted a great video over at DZone that runs through some steps which can be carried out to debug Windows Phone 7 apps while they run with no debugger attached. Without one present, it proves to be increasingly difficult to track down every exception present. 

Source: DZone

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Ryan Lee, developer of the Favorites Hub, has submitted an interesting application for Windows Phone 7 Marketplace certification. Terra Explorer is a web browser that uses a search engine as a central theme for the browsing experience. Instead of entering a URL, you explorer the internet by searching keywords.  You then have an internal mobile browser to view specific search results.

Searches are returned in a nice range of categories, spread out on hub pages that includes web, news, video, images and wiki results. You can disable the search categories in the settings.  Searches and specific results  can be saved to a favorites list.  Terra Explorer also has theme support with five pre-installed themes and the ability to create custom themes.

Based on the demo video, the app has a clean look to it and a straightforward interface. It will support five languages (French, German, Italian, Spanish and English) and is being submitted as a free application with ad support.  There isn't a time frame for when Terra Explorer will be available at the Marketplace but once it becomes available, we'll get a full review up for it.

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MoTweets 2.1 for WP7 delayed

Panoramic Software reports via Twitter that MoTweets v2.1 for Windows Phone 7 has been delayed.  They have not offered up a timeline for the release, but they have made a list of features available:

  • More robust timeline Tap’n’Hold for quicker interactions
  • Fixed an issue with White theme post screen
  • Better handling of twitter errors in Tweet details and User details screen
  • Fixed Hashtag issue on posting tweets
  • Fixed List selection bug
  • Added “more” at the bottom of timelines to load older tweets
  • Option to keep 200 tweets
  • Better handling and more access to create DM’s
  • Showing new icon for new RSS items
  • Progressbar for translate option
  • After timeline refresh, animates to first new tweet arrived
  • Option for Vibrate on/off
  • Reply All option
  • Speed and stability improvements
  • Several smaller fixes

Update: Panoramic tells us that they are hoping for a Friday release, pending Microsoft's verification process.

Source: Panoramic Software (1, 2)

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As you may or may not know, Micorsoft has a website called AppHub where developers can register to submit apps/games and get paid.  AppHub registration is also required for developers to obtain certificates to test their programs on actual hardware, rather than just emulators.  This is all fine and good, unless you live in one of the countries where site registration is unavailable...like say, every country in the Middle East. 

Microsoft announced yesterday at the Dubai Tech-Ed that they have remedied the problem, not by opening AppHub up to the Middle East, but by requiring devs to submit programs through a company called YallaApps.  As if this slap in the face were not enough, the site includes this little tidbit:

How will my application be displayed in the Windows Phone Marketplace?
The product description of your application will include the following sentence: Brought to you by Yalla Apps on behalf of [Your Developer Name].

Basically, if Mid-East devs want to submit their goods, they have to allow them to be registered under another company's name.  To add injury to insult, YallaApps' parent company, Prototype Interactive, is also in the application development business.  So not only do apps submitted this way get credited to YallaApps, they are then under the control of a competitor.  Holy Conflict of Interest, Batman!

Source: Microsoft AppHub, MicrosoftFeed ; Via: TheNextWeb

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There's no real news here, but rather a fun and satisfying story about a thief, a mobile phone, and some golf clubs.  A friend of the author passed along his tale in which, after finishing a round of golf, he retired to the 19th hole, leaving his bag outside.  Upon coming out, he found that his golf bag was gone, as was the WP7 phone that was in the pocket.  After calling the phone several times without answer, the man returned home and quickly brought up the Find My Phone website only to see his phone moving further and further away form where he was.

Eventually, the phone came to a stop, about 80km away.  The man called the police and directed them to the location.  Later that night, he was notified that they had found the golf bag and a thief who thought he had made an easy score.

Find My Phone is a standard feature of WP7.  We highly recommend you set it up on your device if you haven't already.

 

Source: iTWire

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We’ve discussed at length Microsoft’s commitment to bringing developers to the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem. Microsoft has long been a friend to developers, from making world class tools to educating devs on the platforms that they’re building upon; Microsoft is the company that others emulate.

With Windows Phone 7 Microsoft is going over and above even for them, as exemplified by a recent chain of events that played out on Twitter. In response to a recent blog post by a developer in regards to a competing platform, Brandon Watson reached out to the dev via Twitter. Through the ensuing conversation, Mr. Watson was able to facilitate getting that dev started building apps for Windows Phone.

The fact that the largest software company in the world is willing to work with individual developers is unprecedented, and speaks well of Microsoft’s chances of making Windows Phone 7 relevant in the long term.

Source: Many Niches (Brandon Watson’s Blog)

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For those not familiar, DioDict is a dictionary application available exclusively to Samsung Windows Phones.  If you've recently launched DioDict from your Samsung Focus, more than likely you received an alert saying,

"Only a trial version is available, as your device has not yet been authorized to run the full version."

If you attempt a search (using any dictionary style), you then will get the following alert,

"Lite version can be searched only up to "a". If you want to buy the full version, press the OK button."

Pressing the OK button sends you the Samsung Zone page in the Marketplace with no option to buy, download, or re-install.  This essentially disables DioDict from any practical use (unless you have an "A" word to search for).  In searching the Marketplace and Samsung Zone, the app is no longer listed.

We have yet to find any indication as to why DioDict was pulled.  We've seen apps pulled from the Marketplace before for certification issues, stability issues, questionable content and what not. This may be the first time we've seen a functional, working app pulled from the Marketplace as well as reverted to a trial version.

Which is a little disappointing because DioDict was a nice app.

Thanks goes out to Patrick for the tip!

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There have been a few reports and articles that have been published today about the recent questioning of Microsoft condemning Open Source to death – this isn’t true in its entirety. So, what has actually happened?

Well, without touching the horrible statement that all open source applications and games are banned, forgotten and condemned, we shall lightly pass through with Microsoft seem to be only tackling the GPLv3 and its derivatives. Neowin has reported that Microsoft is completely against Open Source (but have recently altered the title of their article) and are by no means completely correct.

GPLv3 being banned from the Marketplace is simply Microsoft taking steps in covering its back and preventing what situations Apple has found regarding licensing and Open Source (VLC in particular). Ruling out any code that falls under the license so Microsoft doesn’t violate the GPL is how it’s supposed to work. A fantastic post written up by Sasha Kotlyar (developer of WM6 Task Manager) explains quite clearly why Microsoft has chosen to disallow code that is under GPLv3.

“Because version 3 of the GPL family of licenses includes what has been dubbed the "anti-Tivoization" clause. Tivoization, from the name TiVo, is what that company did to its hardware in order to prevent unauthorized firmware modifications. In essence, they released the complete source code to the firmware that runs on TiVo boxes, but compiling such source code does not yield binaries that can run on the TiVo. That is because the authorized, official binary code is modified by TiVo to include a digital signature that must be accepted by the hardware before said code is allowed to run. GPLv3 includes a clause that prohibits this behavior.”

The Marketplace for the Xbox system and WP7 will prevent code under this license due to hardware performing Tivoization, and only Microsoft signed code is accepted. This is what the Open Source license in question goes against. Developers should take note that limited and liberal licenses (including MIT/X11) are usable for use in Xbox & Windows Phone 7 code.

What do you make of all this, and do you believe Microsoft are acting above board in complying with the license? 

Via: Neowin

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