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There are some apps that really stand out for being genuinely useful and Bing Translator is one of them. The app was released some time back on Windows Phone 7 and has rightly proved to be incredibly popular due to its slick operation and advanced features.

The app has been updated to support Windows Phone 8 and you can now initiate the augmented translation mode by using the new lenses feature.

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Although AOL still gets jeers from those who think of the early internet days, the fact of the matter is they’re a huge media conglomerate who owns Moviefone, Huffington Post, Engadget, TechCrunch and more.

The other fact is this: AOL Entrance the app is pretty damn awesome. No joke. It’s powerful with some of those above services (especially good since the Huffington Post app is MIA), has music streaming built in (including Shoutcast support) and probably the killer feature: augmented reality for finding movies around you.

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Yesterday we saw a whole heap of information presented by Nokia covering hardware and services, with so much to get through some things were only touched upon. One such area was of Nokia’s plans for maps and directions. We’d previously covered Nokia’s goal to maintain leadership in location so this segment was of great interest.

During the keynote a much clearer insight into their plans for their location based apps coming in Windows Phone 8 was provided, and we think there will be some exciting advances heading to the platform. Indoor Maps, tighter integration of their current mapping apps and augmented reality improvements are all on the way.

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Nokia have announced that the Nokia Maps app will get getting the augmented reality (AR) treatment. At present, AR is only present in Nokia City Lens. At today’s Lumia announcement they showed maps switching to a view similar to what's present in City Lens. 

We could also be witnessing an upcoming convergence with their location based apps having much more in common? 

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Nokia City Lens - from beta to official

It was just over two weeks ago that Nokia’s City Lens app, which allows users to find “things to do” using their compass, camera phone and accelerometer, received an update and now the official release is out. The augmented reality app has proven to be quite popular with users, so it's nice to see it finally go official.

Billed as version 1.1, the app is neither listed in the Nokia Collection nor available by search—but we managed to get the link for you folks to use now (as soon as the app propagates to your Marketplace servers).

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Although augmented-reality sounds a bit gimmicky to our ears, bringing back memories of the 1990’s and 'virtual reality', there’s little doubt that some of you of use these tools. And they are kind of cool.

Nokia City Lens (beta) is just such an app as it uses your Lumia’s camera, compass and accelerometer to display what’s around you or perhaps more accurately, to highlight areas based on categories. It’s a useful tool especially if you’re in a urban environment, walking around, looking for an establishment or wanting to discover something new.

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The Weather Channel app re-imagined by Nokia

In what has to be a surprise continuation of Nokia’s commitment to their Lumia line of Windows Phones, they have gone ahead and re-imagined the Weather Channel App (which is simply called ‘Weather’) by bringing new features and a re-design that greatly enhances the experience.

The app is at version 2.0 and only found in the Nokia Collection meaning regular Windows Phone users won’t be able to use the supplied link below. This may also be a US-limited feature...we're trying to confirm now. [Edit: UK is confirmed]

So what’s new in Weather 2.0 from Nokia?...

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With all the hype Nokia devices get especially with their onslaught of custom software, we figured we'd throw a bone to the rest of you who aren't on the Lumia train.

In case you missed it, Nokia launched the beta of City Lens today. A nifty little app that uses the camera, gyroscope, compass, GPS and internet to show you in real-time where shops, coffee houses and restaurants can be found. It's certainly well done but not particularly original (see LG's ScanSearch app from 2011).

But in case you own an HTC or Samsung phone and want to have the same functionality there's a great free option already out there: Wikitude.

Actually, Wikitude does even more than City Lens since it's more robust with search features. It's been around for awhile and is found on competing platforms making it more widely supported. It hooks into Yelp, Twitter, Flickr, Starbucks and more. Heck, their system even has APIs so dev's can integrate Wikitude's services into their own apps.

Did we mention it's also a lot fun? Sure, seeing people literally tweeting around you is borderline creepy but it's also a bit fascinating.

The app is free too meaning there's little reason for you not to give it a try, even if you use Nokia's City Lens. We found the service to be quite accurate and useful when traveling around the city.

Pick up Wikitude here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Let us know in comments how you think it compares to City Lens (if you have both).

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A few weeks ago we broke the news that Executive Caddie, the premier and highly rated golfing assistance app for Windows Phone, was getting a makeover and an upgrade for the Nokia Collection. That means that if you own a Lumia 610, 700, 800 or the big 900 you're entitled to a custom version of the app made for your phone for free.

At the time we reported on those "exclusive" features for Executive Caddie +:

  • Tournament scoring
  • Real-time leaderboards
  • Group heckling with toast notifications
  • Additional social features
  • Themes to match the Lumias, including Cyan, Magenta, White and Nokia Blue

But the biggy was an augmented reality tool called Golfscope described as

"...an augmented reality view of players on the golf course with live player and scorecard information. Basically, a player can point his phone at any other player on the course and the player’s avatar and round summary will appear in the overlay. The overlay can be tapped to see the other player’s scores, stats, and other round information in real-time. GolfScope is a patent pending technology."

We promised we'd show you what that actually looks like and as you can see in the video above, GolfScope is ready to go. We should note that what you see in that video is not a simulation, that's an actual live demonstration of GolfScope from a Nokia Lumia 900 that has vide-out capabilities (yeah, devs get some great tools).

We're expecting the exclusive Nokia version of Executive Caddie + to land in the Nokia Collection in a few weeks. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you golf and don't have a Lumia you can still get the regular Executive Caddie for free in the Marketplace.

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Last week we reported on the possibility of the popular and highly rated golfing app Executive Caddie coming to the Nokia Collection in the Marketplace. Today, WPCentral can confirm that this is indeed correct and we'll see a new edition, called Executive Caddie +, headed to Lumia devices in the first two-weeks of May. What's more, we have all the details below including exclusive screenshots.

Boasting the "largest and most accurate Golf Course Database in the World", the app is very well done and has even won a Windows Phone app challenge. Evidently it's so good, Nokia decided to add them to their growing list of exclusive and unique apps for Lumia phones, including the popular Lumia 900.

Executive Caddie + builds off of the current app in the Marketplace (available for free) but adds some new and unique features, including:

  • Tournament scoring
  • Real-time leaderboards
  • Group heckling with toast notifications
  • Additional social features
  • Themes to match the Lumias, including Cyan, Magenta, White and Nokia Blue

But perhaps the coolest feature is this one: GolfScope. GolfScope is described as

"...an augmented reality view of players on the golf course with live player and scorecard information. Basically, a player can point his phone at any other player on the course and the player’s avatar and round summary will appear in the overlay. The overlay can be tapped to see the other player’s scores, stats, and other round information in real-time. GolfScope is a patent pending technology."

We're not even golfers here and even we're impressed with that feature. We'll have a first look at those augmented-reality shots come Monday, so tune back here at WPCentral if you want to check them out.

One thing we're constantly impressed with at Nokia is their ability to sniff out talent and bring that to their customers. Executive Caddie + looks to be another great find for them and should help sell the phone for those business and golf-fiends out there. Seems like a great match to us.

Fear not if you don't have a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone though, you can still download the regular Executive Caddie for free here in the Marketplace.

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We're always a fan of augmented reality apps even if we don't have a specific use for them. Augmented Colors by SimzzDev fits in that category as we're not designers or artists by any stretch. Still, that didn't prevent us from recognizing just how cool this is.

In short, the app uses your Windows Phone camera to dynamically label colors in the world by using their RGB values and HTML color codes (e.g. #FF0000 for red). When you find a color you like, you simply tap the on-screen color bar to "lock it" in. The app then hops to the share screen where you can post that color code to Twitter/Facebook/Live, email/SMS or pin-to-start for saving for later. You can even create solid wallpapers for your Lock screen based off the color for some added function.

We could see painters and graphic designers making great use of this app or even if you're just repainting a room and you're looking for that exact color for the paint store. The app works exceptionably well for what it is meant to do and for $0.99, we think it's a bargain. There's also a free-trial where you can test out the AR part (you just can't share results), so no reason to not give it a spin.

Pick up Augmented Colors here in the Marketplace.

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We do love ourselves some AR (augmented reality) apps around here, so devs, just add AR to your app to get featured here. Just kidding, but it doesn't hurt.

Case in point is this nifty little app called Heads Up Compass. It uses the camera's live feed and overlays the compass headings in cardinal points and direction on top, allowing you to scan the horizon for Tusken Raiders. Or maybe Bear Grylis.

We actually have no practical use of this outside of looking bad ass in New York City when we get out of the subway. That didn't stop us from buying it for $0.99 though. Of course you could use it for free (with ads) if you don't want to spend the buck.

Grab Heads Up Compass here in the Marketplace. And good luck finding R2.

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We're pretty stoked about Mango for many reasons, but a big one is the ability to use augmented reality. LG has already done a great job of doing this last year but their apps are only for their phones. Now with Mango and the upcoming AR Starter Kit, third party developers will get access to all the tools to enable them to create some killer apps.

The best part about these tools, once again, is Microsoft's emphasis on simplicity. With as little as six-lines of code, developers can begin to make their own AR layers to existing apps. All the sensors are handled for them and there's a "drag and drop" design. What this means for consumers is obvious: more apps of higher quality. Devs won't have to spend hours thinking of how to implement AR but rather can focus on other things, like design, utility and execution. We can't wait.

The kit will be put up on Codeplex as soon as some internal review process is complete.

Source: YouTube (jbienzms); via @mckhendry

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While we believe Microsoft themselves will enable the APIs to access the camera for third party apps, rooting the device as seen days ago allows developers to do it now. In turn, so called augmented reality apps are possible, if one can sideload an app written in native  code on their device.

In the case above, Clarity Consulting threw together this demo app written Silverlight to show off the potential Windows Phone 7 and AR can have together.

Lets hope that Microsoft, busy as they are, can get around to delivering the goods sooner than later. Otherwise, rooted devices, here we come! Seriously, I need some Star Wars Falcon Gunner nao.

Source: Clarity Consulting; via iStartedSomething

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