apps

So you're thinking about developing an app for Windows Phone, but how does one create an awesome app for consumers to download and enjoy? Much like our own Windows Phone app - which is highly rated by our readers - there are a number of apps available on the store that are effectively designed for the platform. Microsoft has detailed some pointers on how to make a quality app.

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Microsoft has long had a vision to unite its stores for both Windows and Windows Phone, as well as content that's populated in both catalogues. This hasn't quite been the case yet, even though it's well known that the company is driving forward in pulling its platforms closer together. The launch of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 definitely reflects this.

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A joint investigation by Canadian and Dutch officials has determined that popular mobile messaging program WhatsApp violates privacy laws of both countries. The problem is that the application, which lets users text each other over the internet in order to circumvent carrier texting charges, requires users to grant it access to their entire address book and not just the contacts who use it.

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If you fancy drawing or just like to doodle out of boredom, Didlr is a fun and fairly simple, easy to use app that will appeal to you. Similar to Draw Something - minus the game aspect and frustration – once you publish your didl, it’ll appear on the stream where the rest of the Didlr community can replay your masterpiece, step by step.

Of course, you can always tap through to the finished product if you don’t want to sit through someone drawing a ridiculously detailed Batman for 15 minutes. 

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Speedtest.net is a popular and easy way to test out your network connection speeds. The Speedtest.net Windows Phone app brings all that testing goodness to your Windows Phone 8 device.

The app will discover your download and upload speeds, chart the results to show connection consistency, track past tests, and allow you to share with others your test results.  Or at least that's what the app should do.

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Fantweestic! is a Windows 8 Twitter client with the sports fan in mind and it's about to go on sale.

Fantweestic! is from Liquid Daffodil, the developers of the Windows Phone apps glƏƏk!, Outsider and Locksider, and offers a sports themed take on Twitter.

Fantweestic! has the ability to easily add a Team or College Twitter feed directly to your views based on the theme you select. There's about forty themes available, including a Windows Phone Central theme! Oh... if you don't see your College or sports team listed in the theme, there's no need to panic.  Shoot the developer an email and it should be on the list shortly thereafter. Fantweestic's goal is to have hundreds of themes available.

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Windows Phone Central Year Ending App and Game Roundup

The New Year is soon approaching and with Christmas out the way it's time to look at filling your brand new Windows Phone with apps and games, but what are the 'must-haves' for heading into 2013? Windows Phone Central has now published highly recommend choices that offer unique functionality, features and experience for consumers.

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While we wait for official apps from companies we make due with 3rd party solutions. However, a lot of the times we get some great apps from the Windows Phone community and it's really hard to see what else an official app can add. You only need to look at 4th and Mayor and Metrotube to see examples of the active development community.

You can go ahead and add Starbux Card to that mix of examples. If you want to load up your Starbucks cards to your Windows Phone, check out Starbux Card for Windows Phone 7 and 8.

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Star Chart is not only an educational app for Windows 8 it's also a neat one. Star Chart will help you explore the solar system by not only providing you a detailed map of the sky but it will also pull up information on the planets, stars, and travel forwards and backwards in time to see how things have changed or will change.

While Star Chart is available for Windows 8, it really shines on tablets such as the Surface RT.  Star Chart is a very nice app for those curious about astronomy as well as for those who are seasoned explorers.

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Draw Something, Zynga's social doodling phenomenon, has been updated to version 1.0.13. This latest patch comes without a change log, but based on recent grumbling and poor reviews on its download page, it's likely that it resolves stability issues with the popular game. There's been a slew of reports of the game freezing and being over all buggy.

If you have the free, ad-supported version of Draw Something offered to Nokia Lumia owners, then this update is not for you. Only the pay-to-play version found in the Windows Phone Store is affected.

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Hotel giant Holiday Inn, owned by UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), has released a travel app for Windows 8. The app is incredibly simple, but effective. It lets you book rooms and check on reservations anywhere in the world with a straight-forward interface and controls. It also lets users sign in to their Priority Club Rewards account, or sign up if they do not have one.

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Microsoft has previously mentioned that Windows Phone 8 will allow users to install apps from SD cards. The claim's pretty funny. Who needs to install apps from a SD card anyway? We've got the Marketplace, or whatever it's renamed now, and that makes a fine enough source of applications. If anything, we will need the ability to install apps to the SD card, to better utilize the expanded storage property.

But it looks like Microsoft has been serious about it. Here in the company's online Windows Phone 8 FAQ, there's a little chapter instructing you on how to just to that, installing an app in the form of a .xap package from your SD card to the phone.

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If you're looking for the Chase Mobile app for your Windows Phone 8 device, it's no longer available. We aren't sure exactly why the app was pulled but it may be due to a bug with the QuickDeposit feature.

QuickDeposit is a feature that lets you deposit checks by snapping a photo of the check. Apparently the images of checks taken with a Windows Phone 8 device are saved to your Pictures Hub. Not sure if it's a case that the images are sent to the Pictures Hub instead of transmitted to Chase but whatever the reason, it's preventing QuickDeposit from working properly.

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A new website has been set up for Windows apps, but before thoughts come into play, it's not a duplicate Marketplace. Great Windows Apps (www.greatwindowsapps.com) will showcase only the best content from the Store where developers have poured in hours of effort to ensuring their work shines above the rest. If you're not into sorting through what's deemed as "crap" on the app store, then this may well be the answer to your prayers.

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Nokia have firmly established themselves as a major player in the Windows Phone market. Their devices have been consistently regarded well and their marketing efforts have seen them establish ‘Lumia’ as a powerful and recognisable brand in its own right.

With the advent of Windows Phone 8 we saw Nokia strive to produce the definitive ‘hero’ device of this generation. The Lumia 920 packs some serious specs and for some it’s seen to be the best device of this current crop of phones. It isn’t all about the speeds and feeds, it’s about a cohesive package consisting of exclusive apps, hardware and of course Windows Phone 8.

We've previously reviewed the Lumia 920, which is well worth checking out for the in-depth analysis, but it is from this perspective I’m going to look at how successful it really is.

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Microsoft have just launched their Windows 8 operating system and with it bundled in Xbox Music which gives users paid and free ways to stream tunes and play local tracks too. At present though the app has a few shortcomings so it’s through this lens we’re going to review Music Info by Johnny Westlake. 

By the same developer who brought us Artist Info for Windows Phone, we take a look at this highly visual music playback and discovery app and even catch up with the developer for a short Q&A at the end.

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