live tiles

8.1 HD Tiles is a Windows Phone 8.1 app that will let you add transparent Live Tiles to your Start Screen. The app not only offers transparent tiles for two hundred apps but 8.1 HD Tiles also offers tile options for settings, websites and blank tiles that can be used as spacers or to categorize groups of Windows Phone Live Tiles.

The app is compatible with Windows Phone 8 devices but some of the system settings will not be available and the tiles are not transparent. 8.1 HD Tiles is an easy way to add transparent Live Tiles and a nice addition to the Windows Phone 8.1 app library.

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One of the many features of Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to add a third row of tiles to your Windows Phone Start Screen. We’ve already gotten used to seeing the third row in action on the larger screened Nokia Lumia 1520 but how is it performing on the smaller screened devices?

WPCentral member nexialbinding has started this discussion in the forums asking just that. Nexialbinding updated a Lumia 920 and is a little put off on how terrible things look with the extra row added.

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Update: Microsoft has now pulled the page and videos

While there's a lot to love about live tiles in Windows and Windows Phone, there's one element that's been missing: interactivity. Sure, they'll refresh with your latest notifications, but all you can do is tap on them to open the respective app. Microsoft Research is aware of this limitation, and is working actively to supercharge live tiles with interactive elements.

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Simple Calendar is a clean looking alternative to the native Windows Phone calendar. The Windows Phone 8 app uses your existing calendars, making setup easy and has an extremely user friendly interface. The calendar app ranks amongst the best we’ve seen and an update is now available, taking Simple Calendar to version 3.5.

The version 3.5 update for Simple Calendar mainly deals with the app’s Live Tile feature by adding two new styles and an option to show the last updated time for all wide tile styles.

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One of the key features of the Windows Phone platform are Live Tiles, which provide a snapshot of information on your Start Screen. We have Live Tiles that will deliver weather information, appointments, TV shows, and even gaming progress.

But how often do you rely on the Live Tile information, or do you overlook it and just use the Tile to jump into the app or game?  Personally, I like how I can glance at the weather and appointment Tiles to see what the current temperature is or how long I have until the next meeting.  Other than that, I generally use the Live Tiles as a shortcut to the many apps I have pinned to my Start Screen.

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Since Windows Phone 7 launched, there have been numerous attempts by developers to create the perfect settings and connectivity shortcut solution, but many have either fallen short and/or ceased development. So which app should you look at if you're wanting such a download? Cue Status Tiles.

The app itself has been available since November, but we've somehow missed it and the developer has just pushed out a small update.

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We love the live tile for Today’s Word on Windows Phone 8. It lets us increase our vocabulary by displaying a new word with its definition every day. Today, the app has received an update to version 1.1. The new features appear to be in direct response to your feedbacks! Let’s take a look at the change log after the break. We also have video.

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Do you want to increase your vocabulary? One way to do that is by learning a new word every day. Today’s Word, a new app from the Windows Phone Store was built to help you with that. Just open the app and you will be given the word of the day. In case you missed it, yesterday’s word is also available. If you’re eager, you can also look at tomorrow’s word.

Each of the word displays its definition and example. Some words also include the pronunciation and their origin.

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Internally, we’ve known that Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (aka GDR3) used to have an option for three columns of tiles for smaller displays. That layout is now only found in devices with displays 5-inches or larger e.g. the Lumia 929 for Verizon and the Lumia 1320/1520. Below 5-inches and Windows Phone 8 will return to the traditional layout, as seen in the 4.8-inch ATIV S Neo.

Exactly why that feature was removed is not too clear, though presumably there were some usability issues that the development team were unable to fix. Now, Nawzil has posted a photo of an early build of Update 3 running on a Nokia Lumia 920 that reveals three columns were possible. The toggle for it was found under zDev, a common tool often seen on development devices.

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If you want shortcuts to important settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, rotation lock (GDR3 only), flashlight, and more on your home screen, you owe it to yourself to check out System Tiles for Windows Phone 8. This handy tool also just received an update to version 2.0. You can now change the background color for the quick tiles.

Head past the break to see what’s new in version 2.0 and watch our walkthrough video.

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You may think to yourself that you’ve heard the name WebApps before. You’d be correct in thinking exactly that as we’ve covered the interesting suite previously. It’s a superb concept, enabling Windows Phone owners to check out apps that aren’t currently available on the official store. These aren’t native apps, however and are instead web app counterparts.

The team behind this incredibly useful app are preparing to unleash a rather important update to introduce Live Tile support.

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Windows Phone developer extraordinaire Rudy Huyn, the mastermind behind TVShowFuseWikipedia, and soon Vine (unofficial) has a new app out that has blown us away with its design.

Counters is one of the simplest Windows Phone 8 apps we've seen and if even if you don't have a need for it, you'll want to gaze over it's UX. It's designed to help you keep count of things such as days until you vacation, number of invites to a party, or anything else that can be counted or counted down.

Counters also takes advantage of our Live Tiles by letting you pin individual counters to your Start Screen for easy access.  This really comes in handy if your counting down the days and need an easy reminder.

In a nutshell, Counters is a very clean, simple and straight forward Windows Phone 8 app to help you count.

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Ideas Project has launched a Nokia Lumia Start Screen Challenge. The task is to share your creativity in customising the Windows Phone start screen. Even if you don't own a Nokia Lumia you're eligible to enter. There are some awesome prizes involved. All that's required to enter is to show off your start screen and explain how your expertise have been utilised to personalise the layout to fit a specific lifestyle.

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Windows Phone UK has uploaded a number of new videos on its YouTube account. The first being a history on how tiles have evolved, from roof tiles to the tiles in the bathroom that have no choice but put up with awful shower karaoke. Of course, Windows Phone owners know Live Tiles as a useful way to provide information to the smartphone user without requiring to fire up any apps. 

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Earlier today we shared with you guys news about Microsoft looking to add more live tiles to Windows Phone. It would allow the interface to look better on displays with larger and higher resolutions, something that Windows Phone 8 currently might not excel at. A reader sent a quick mockup of what that would look like. We figured we’d share it with you all.

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We've already covered rumours of Microsoft looking to add 1080p support for Windows Phone later this year with the GDR3 update (this is all before the anticipated "Blue" update), but now the company may well be addressing the larger real estate issue that will occur with Live Tiles. Should you own a Samsung ATIV S, the three columns of tiles can appear to be rather limited at times, but Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet has learnt that the Windows Phone team is looking at a solution - to add more tiles. 

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It was only yesterday when we reported that Microsoft released an update for Windows Phone 7.8 hardware, which was believed to address the Live Tile issues consumers have been experiencing. Unfortunately this turned out to not be the case, but the company has begun rolling out another build that's confirmed to do just that.

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We've previously looked at a Live Tile issue on Windows Phone 7.8, but it seems as though the issue with the feature could be worse than we originally thought. Owners have complained that tiles are not updating correctly or are "bugging out" with massive amounts of data being utilised with consequences on the battery charge. This isn't good, especially when the Live Tiles are a major selling point of the OS.

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