free apps

Fancy sending a personalised holiday greeting this year? Microsoft is providing you the means to do so with a special carol, dedicated to the person of your choice. With Jingle Bells or Silent Night to choose from, you're also able to pick a free app to bundle with the merry gift and everything will be taken care of for you. All you're left with is a link to share and you're done.

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The out-of-box experience for Windows Phone is by far one of the best around compared to other mobile platforms. That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, which is exactly what some third party apps do on the platform. We’ve got a handful of calendar apps that run circles in features compared to the default calendar app.

Compass Deluxe is a fairly new app the platform that adds some functionality to your Windows Phone that otherwise isn’t built in. Let’s check it out.

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How many Instagram clients exist for Android and iOS? Just one, the official app. We may not have the official app on Windows Phone, but we do have a solid selection of alternatives to get the job done. It’s hard to imagine what an official app would bring at this point besides the official seal. Today one of our apps picked up an update. Let’s check out what’s new with InPic.

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Squallstar Studio has made their simple, easy-to-use to-do list app, Due, available for free for the next 48 hours. Due is a cleanly designed task list that lets you manage your chores and errands quickly without having to use your calendar. A start screen tile displays the latest item on your list for easy viewing.

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When it comes to bargains, we like to think Windows Phone Central does an admirable job of bringing you the latest and greatest. At the very least, you can consider us a filter on what is worth looking at. But even with all of our efforts, we still miss occasional offerings or niche apps that may of interest to you.

Luckily, the developers behind myAppFree have you covered. We brought you news of this app back in March and since then, it has been continuously developed. We also have many new Windows Phone users, and we figured we’d play catch up.

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myAppFree is an interesting deal finder for your Windows Phone 7.x and 8 device in that it finds deals on apps and games. The developers of myAppFree work with other developers to provide discounted prices and score the Store for other deals.

myAppFree has a page highlighting the App of Today, a page listing the current deals, and a contact page to easily reach out to the developers.

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While gMaps Pro vanished from the Marketplace a few weeks ago, it's back but with a slight snag. After dealing with copyright issues and re-branding/updating things, the app was restored to the Windows Phone Marketplace as a new submission. This basically means that if you had previously purchased gMaps Pro, you won't be eligible for any future updates without re-purchasing the app.

To ease the pain of the situation and to celebrate the Marketplace reaching 100,000 apps Alexey Strakh, gMaps Pro's developer, will be offering gMaps Pro (regularly $1.99) as a free app for tomorrow (Friday, June 8th) only.

We have to tip our hat to Alexey for trying to make the best of a not-so-good situation. For those who purchased gMaps Pro before it was removed, nows your chance to get the current version.  This will enable you to stay current with all the updates as they become available without the need to re-purchase the app. Everyone else... you get a heck of a deal on a nice mapping app.

You can find gMaps Pro here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. We aren't sure when the pricing change will kick in so if you don't see it right away on Friday, check back later.

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In honor of their nomination for "Best App of the Year" over at WP App List, the developers of I'm A WP7! are running an “our fans rock" freebie offer. Starting today, you can download the full version of the social networking app, plus the features of the I'm A WP7 Extras! app, free of charge, saving yourself the usual $2.99. This offer runs until Midnight PST on Sunday. Here are the full details from Scott J. Peterson, developer of I'm A WP7:

Unlocking of the all features and functionality of the app, including the Forums, GamerHub™, as well as full access to all Statistics, Wallpapers, Ringtones, Easter Eggs and Extras normally requires the purchase of the $2.99 U.S. “...I'm a WP7 Extras!” app, but all these features will now be unlocked and available for both new and existing users. Existing Fans who access the app through the weekend will continue to have full functionality as well, as long as they access the app at least once during this period. Thanks to our 310,000 fans worldwide for their support!

I'm A WP7! is a great way to share your love of Windows Phone, and has been quite a useful tool in learning about new versions that are out there in the wild.

Clarification: The app "I'm a WP7!" is always free but certain features within it are "locked" and supplanted by a secondary app called "Extras". This promotion unlocks those features in the original app for free and keeps them unlocked going forward if you do it during the special period.

Pick up I'm a WP7! here in the Marketplace.

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Microsoft recently held a Windows Phone developers contest in Italy, "Appload and Win", where developers were challenged to create an app and upload it to the Marketplace for a chance at €20,100 in prizes.

Venetasoft walked away with first prize of €3500 for their Windows Phone app Security Toolkit. It's a rather neat Windows Phone app that turns your Windows Phone into a security station with alarms and audio/video recorders. You can even turn your Windows Phone into a security camera by streaming videos to your PC using the companion desktop app.

In celebration of winning the Appload and Win contest, Venetasoft is sharing the joy. All of their apps (that you can find here) will be offered for free for one week. This includes the Security Toolkit, Intrusion Alarm, TurboCameraWebCam Viewer and more.

Venetasoft has just thrown the switch to offer the apps for free. The changes should be seen on the Marketplace within the next 48 hours.

Thanks, Lorenzin, for the tip!

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Best free apps for Windows Phones

WPCentral's list of the best free apps for Windows Phone

We've taken a look at must have games and must have apps for your Windows Phone, now we turn our sights on the best free apps that might interest every Windows Phone owner. Everyone likes free stuff, right?

The Windows Phone Marketplace is full of free apps and games. Some good, some bad. Some with ads, some without.  We've compiled a short list of free Windows Phone games and apps the we found interesting and thought you would too.

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Abhinav Pathak, a computer scientist at Purdue University, Indiana, and colleagues have concluded that free smartphone apps with in-app advertising may lead to the battery being drained at a faster rate, compared to paid apps. What's interesting (and slightly alarming) is the team discovered through testing that Angry Birds, Free Chess and NYTimes only used 10 - 30 percent of the battery power for core functionality.

Using the Android Market as the test grounds for the research, the team found that 25 - 35% of the app power consumption went to third-party advertising code displayed in apps for developers to make ends meet. In the case of Angry Birds, 20% is used to display and run the game, while 45% of the power is used finding and uploading the user's location with GPS, followed by downloading location-appropriate ads over a 3G connection.

This is something to consider when next browisng any smartphone marketplace. The findings will be presented by Pathak at the EuroSys conference in Bern, Switzerland, next month. Be sure to check out the full research documentation as it's fairly lengthy, but interesting.

Source: Microsoft Research, via: NewScientist

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Marketplace Deals makes bargain hunting easy

We’ve covered the WP7applist app before – it’s an excellent way to browse apps, find price drops, etc. Our friend Luigi Violin – who runs WP7applist – has another Windows Phone app that should appeal to bargain hunters out there. It’s called Marketplace Deals, and it’s free.

Marketplace Deals, as the name implies, lists games and apps that have dropped in price or gone free. Each deal category is sorted by date, so you can easily find the day’s new deals. It even labels expired deals. Categories include Popular deals, Apps Gone Free, Top Rated sale apps, Xbox Live sales, and all Deals. Tapping on an individual app or game takes you straight to its Marketplace page for download.

The Marketplace Deals app is just about everything you could want in a deal-finding app. Still, an update is just around the corner that will add the following features:

  • Live tile(s?) support
  • Option to hide expired deals from the lists
  • Share deals via social networks and/or email

Luigi loves user feedback and will be happy to include any good suggestions you send his way – just follow the app’s Contact Us link and drop him an email.

Marketplace Deals is free and supported by advertisements at the bottom of the screen. You can grab it here on the Marketplace. WP7applist is also free, and located right here.

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InstaCam is a Windows Phone Instagram client

InstaCam is a Windows Phone Instagram client that just hit the Marketplace yesterday.  It allows you to take pictures on your phone, add different effects, and then share them via Facebook, Twitter or email.  You can log into your Instagram account to check "likes" and comments on your uploaded content.  You can also view other people's photos and leave comments, or follow them if you're a fan of their work.  The search function can find photos based on key words in pictures' tags.  Not an Instagram user?  No worries, you can still use InstaCam to browse content anonymously.

This first iteration of InstaCam contains a lot of features, including a couple exclusive photo effects.  However, there are more features on the way.  The developers are already planning on adding geolocation search, view changes, and more.

InstaCam is free and can be downloaded here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, peestandingup, for the tip!

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In space, no one can hear you scream...but thanks to Help Software, they can at least hear your phone ring.  Their NASA ringtones, which will normally run you $.99 are now free until the end of February.  The set includes sounds from Apollo and Mercury missions, Sputnik’s beeping, shuttle launches and more. 

“NASA has been making historic sounds for over 50 years,” said Jerry Colen, NASA App project manager at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.  "Now we’re making some of these memorable sounds easy to find and use.”

The app contains 24 different ringtones that you can preview and save to your phone. 

Get them here before they fly away.

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The French mobile network Orange is offering to purchase five apps from the Marketplace for new Nokia Lumia 800 buyers. When downloading the first five apps, instead of using an attached credit card, the Windows Phone owner can choose "Orange bill" as the payment option and the carrier will not charge these five apps to the next bill. The beauty of this offer is Orange will allow any app that costs up to €14.99, so in theory you could get €75 worth of apps for free. Not bad!

The offer is for new purchasers of the Lumia 800 (available in black and magenta), and will be running from January 12 to February 8, 2012.

Source: Professeur Thibault (translation)

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Orb is free to download...for now

For a two-day stint, Palladium Power has made their game Orb available for free in the Marketplace.  Orb is a tilt-based game where you navigate your sphere through a series of tiled obstacle courses.  Along the way you must use your skill, along with specialized tiles, to avoid holes and traps.

This isn't the first time Palladium power has offered up this deal.  We saw the free download back in June as well.  If you are interested (which you should be because, if nothing else, it's free!), you can click here, or use the tag below.

Cheers, TheWeeBear, for the tip!

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Where'd those free LG apps go?

Yesterday, mentioned about some OEM LG apps that were either added or updated and in passing, we remarked that there seems to be fewer of those free apps that LG was offering (see earlier coverage of the offer here).

As it turns out, we weren't the only ones as Michael Eggleston was wondering what happened to his Weave (review). Easily one of the most popular and stellar apps of the platform, Weave was offered for free to LG users. Not any more as our current app is "frozen" at v2.4 and is no longer listed (so you'll lose it after a hard reset). Michael wrote the developers, Seles Games and asked what the deal was and here is there response:

The LG campaign was a limited-time promotion where they offered 10 apps for free for 60 days. They should be making a 2nd set of 10 apps available soon. Since LG controls that version of Weave, we have no way of submitting an update. Until they give us back control of it, it will be stuck at version 2.4.

We want all our LG users to keep getting the latest version, so we are going to put the regular version of Weave on sale for the lowest possible price ($1) starting tonight at midnight.

We are also going to be releasing a free, ad-supported version of Weave soon.

Between the $1 price promotion and a free ad-supported version, we hope al our LG users will find that they still have a way to get the latest updates and don't miss out on features.

Thank you for your support and I hope you continue enjoying Weave!

Edit: SelesGames informed us that email was from a few weeks ago and no immediate sale is planed. Still, it's great app.

Companies like Seles Games are obviously doing their best to maintain customer support and kudos to them for their effort, but LG's offer of 10 free apps seems a little less genuine than before--or are we just being grumpy in these early hours?

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LG may be hot on Android, but we'll still go to bat for them by saying they offer the best free software of any Windows Phone OEM. We covered their Augmented Reality software (Metro Scanner)and Voice to Text earlier, and just a few days ago they pushed out four new solid titles:

  • Today - Local weather, forecast, news feed, Twitter and currency
  • Weather & Clock - Local weather, "away" weather + clock and world map
  • QR Reader - a live scanning QR reader
  • Post Note - note + cork-board

While a little slow to load, the apps are certainly gorgeous looking in our opinion. Sure, a Live Tile would have been nice, but we think the Today app beats out Samsung's and HTC's offerings easily. Likewise, the QR Reader with live scanning is certainly great and combined with ScanSearch (live scanning barcode), it's quite the powerful combo. Finally, Post Note just looks real pretty but similar to HTC's Notes.

All can be grabbed for free in the LG app store but only on your LG phone, of course.

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Handyscan (Lite) now available

JDB Pocketware introduced Handyscan some time ago for Windows Phone 7. Handyscan is a personal document scanner for your Windows Phone that uses your phone's camera to scan and save documents. Handyscan is a very good choice for those looking for a document scanner but some saw it a little on the pricey side.  For those who saw price as an issue, a solution has become available.

JDB Pocketware has now released Handyscan (Lite), a free version of the original document scanner. The key features for the lite version aren't much different than the pay version and include:

  • Automatic optimization of scanned images
  • Zoom in/out capabilities
  • Align and crop scanned document
  • Add text to document (fill in forms)
  • Scan multiple pages per document and save them as one file

The features the Lite version lack includes:

  • Choosing the format you can email documents in (JPEG or PDF)
  • Choosing the size and quality of scanned results you send out

If you need a document scanner for your Windows Phone and are hesitant because of the cost, Handyscan Lite may be the solution you're looking for. You can get your free copy of Handyscan Lite here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace.

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Free 3D apps now available on Zune HD

The Zune HD [see our full review here] just got a firmware update a few days ago that prepped it for 3D gaming, and now the Zune Marketplace has delivered with a slew of new titles. On tap are:

Audiosurf Tilt: An accelerometer-based roller coaster app that moves with your music.

  • Checkers.
  • Lucky Lanes Bowling.
  • PGR: Ferrari Edition.
  • Vans Sk8 - Pool Service.
  • Piano.

All the games are free and ready for download now. And in case you're wondering, yes, the pre-roll ads are still there. But the apps are still free. Get over it.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

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