Apps

Just the other day we posted about the new GroupMe 4.0 launching on Android and iOS with an IOU about the Windows Phone version being "on its way". Well, it looks like it was only behind by a few days as GroupMe 4.0 is now available in the Windows Phone Store.

The jump from version 3.5 to 4.0 is indicative of some major changes and indeed, it is. The changelog is quite detailed and mostly focuses on the new UI and design, bringing Microsoft’s new group-chat service up to date with a more “modern” look.

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Those of you who have just purchased a new Windows Phone 8 device might have noted that there are some gaps with regards to apps. Previously available apps are not showing in the marketplace and are in need of an update. One such app is the high profile Spotify offering.

The app was a long time coming on Windows Phone 7 and many subscribers rely on it greatly to get their mobile music fix. Even with the advent of Xbox Music and competing services like Rdio, Spotify still offers up a compelling selection, especially for those with specialist music tastes.

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Oh what a weekend it has been. With the launch of Windows Phone 8 on AT&T and Verizon and T-Mobile expected in the next week, it has been quite exciting but now it is coming to full steam with the release of Skype for Windows Phone 8.

Yes, the app is now slipping out to the Store and we managed to get our hands on it. Heck, we’re even going to give you a video demo of it after the break to see it in action.

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Looks like it’s a good day for Windows Phone 8 users. First they get an update for Kindle to fix loading issues and now Audible (which has had a few crashes too) is now patched in addition to getting some new features.

Yes, version 1.4 is now live in the Windows Phone Store and as far as we can tell, has fixed the stability issues. In addition, you can now do a doublewide Tile and even use voice commands. The voice command feature works by simply holding down the Start button to launch voice command and then saying “Audible…My Library” or “Audible…Play (insert book name)”...

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Here's an app that should excite some of you new Windows Phone 8 owners out there: Battery Level for WP8 by Alex Golesh. The first of its kind, as far as we know, the app allows you to constantly keep abreast of your battery life on your WP8 device with a simple Live Tile.

Just pin the app to your Start screen and choose one of three sizes (small, medium and doublewide) to suit your needs. The doublewide will even display the charging state (discharge or charging) in addition to the battery icon and percentage left. Oh and the app can also display a battery icon and percentage on the Lock screen. Yup, just head to Settings and choose it as one of your five options and you'll be good to go.

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Some banks are better than others. My own bank, BBVA Compass is not exactly terrific, but I don’t have an abundance of choices in my small city. One thing I’ve long lamented is the lack of a Windows Phone app to make checking my account easier. Heck, BBVA Compass doesn’t even offer a mobile version of their site, so logging in and checking my stuff on my phone has always taken longer than necessary. Those difficulties finally came to an end this week, as there is now an official BBVA Compass app on the Windows Phone Store.

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Nokia have announced the general availability of their exclusive Redbull app for their Windows Phone 8 handsets.

The app has the ability to share video using NFC, pin your favourite athletes to the start screen and more. Check out the full story after the break.

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22

Windows Phone Central Roundup: Financial Apps

The need to manage your finances is common and your Windows Phone can help you keep track of your expenses, earnings, and other financial tasks. This weeks roundup focuses on financial apps that are available in the Windows Phone Store.

To help save a little, we chose the top five free financial apps for the roundup and they include banking apps, a stock management app, and a personal budget manager. As always with our roundups, these apps only scratch the surface on what is available at the Windows Phone Store. If you have a favorite financial oriented app that isn't in this week's roundup, feel free to recommend it in the comments below.

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GAME Reward app now available for Windows Phone 8

Leading UK video game retailer GAME has released an app for Windows Phone 8. It's a useful tool for those who wield a GAME Reward card and can take full advantage of offers and points collected through purchases and other means of accumulation in the loyalty programme. 

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GroupMe version 4 for Windows Phone on its way

GroupMe, a service which enables the creation of chat groups via data connection (or SMS as a backup), has bumped all mobile apps available on multiple platforms to version 4, except Windows Phone. According to an email sent out today, the app on Microsoft's platform will be updated soon.

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GPS Voice Navigation updated, major style redesign

The Windows Phone navigation app GPS Voice Navigation was recently updated to version 4.0. The update brings a handful of new features and improvements that range from a new Windows 8 style redesign to additional language support.

The style design gives GPS Voice Navigation a cleaner, more user friendly feel to it with menu pages that include a Quickstart Page, your favorite locations, recent destinations, a contacts page, and a point of interest page.

The QuickStart Page has options to view the map, find a destination, access the settings and shortcut commands to create a route home (set in the map view), show your trip information and clear your trip.

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Official Twitter Client for Windows Phone 8 updated

Seems like the minor tweaks and adjustments for apps for Windows Phone 8 keep on coming, this time it’s the official Twitter client.

The update is now showing as version 1.3 for Windows Phone 8 while the Windows Phone 7 version is holding steady at 1.2. A quick scan of the changes doesn’t reveal an awful lot of changes so we’re putting this one down to some general tweaking in the absence of any change notes.

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14

Fhotoroom: Windows App Review

There a plenty of photo editing options available for your Windows Phone. One such option is Fhotoroom. Fhotoroom is a nicely featured photo editor that has recently migrated from our Windows Phone Store to the Windows Store on your Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 PC.

We took the Windows RT version of Fhotoroom out for a test drive recently and found Fhotoroom to be a capable photo editor with potential but with some room for improvement.

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App Discovery by Windows Phone Parent is a Windows Phone app designed to help you discover apps for your children. The application is the official Windows Phone app for WindowsPhoneParent.com and sorts apps by age group and categories.

Categories include foreign language, math, memory, skill development, literacy and more. Age categories start at the toddler years (18-36 months) to the teenage years.

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Rowi tease their Windows Phone 8 optimized Twitter app

Although Windows Phone 8 is technically out most users are still waiting to get their hands on the new OS. Luckily, we're already seeing some major apps get bumped with new features such as CNN, SkyDrive and even Nokia's apps.

Rowi Twitter app is one of the more popular apps on the Windows Phone Store and they just posted a video showing off the new super-quick load time. The increase in speed is due to Windows Phone 8 just handling app launching and processing more efficiently, those 1.5GHz dual-core CPUs and in this case by removing the boot screen. The app also has the "fast resume" trick enabled whereby tapping the Live Tile after it is already running will not re-launch the app but instead just resume it.

No word on release but hopefully it won't be too long. 

Source: Rowi (Facebook)

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We're still early on in the US election and while some in our audience are very enthralled with the politics we're geeking out over the technology. Tonight is Microsoft's first real widespread use of their new SmartGlass technology--the augmentation of their Xbox 360 media offerings via smartphone and tablets. In fact, SmartGlass just launched on iOS this very evening to coincide with the election coverage (provided by NBC).

We decided to give it a little video coverage ourselves, showing the service in action. The SmartGlass app allows you to participate in the live polling questions, get up to the minute electoral map coverage, details on various aspects of national and state elections and more. Overall, it's quite a fun experience and we're looking forward to more of these interactive and expanded events on the Xbox 360.

Kudos to Microsoft to really bringing something unique to our living rooms.

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Last night we noticed our 920 getting a few updates including Nokia Transit aka Transport and Maps. Nokia has now given some details on version 3.0, which also includes Windows Phone 8 support (basically just adding a double wide tile). 

The new Maps brings all sorts of goodies including offline support (it shares the offline downloads of Nokia Drive, saving space), venue maps (we can see our local mall) and it now gives you detailed walking directions. Heck, it will even hand itself off to Drive for car navigation, making Nokia’s apps a little more seamless.

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Although Windows Phone users have Microsoft’s new Xbox Music service to show off to friends, some folks still have their favorite streaming services, with Slacker Radio near the top. We’ve always liked the Pandora-like player for Windows Phone so it’s great to see it getting optimized for 8 and a Windows 8 RT version as well.

The Windows Phone 8 version is not too different and current users even on Windows Phone 7 can get the update. The new version just allows usage of the doublewide tile with no advanced features like Lock screen wallpaper.

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38

Nokia Transport 3 for Windows Phone 8

We’re pleased to report that Nokia Transport has hit Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices today, signalling the completion of their location based app line-up for the next generation OS.

The new app boasts an improved user interface and takes full advantage of the now built in maps platform to deliver something a little bit more special as it hits version 3.

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Nfc Interactor is a new app available for Windows Phone that enables users to create and scan NFC tags. The Near Field Communication tag reader / writer app provides the tools for a variety of content to be added to a tag, which can then be scanned by a compatible device that sports NFC capabilities.

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Election Day apps for your Windows Phone

Tomorrow is Election Day here in the States where millions of voters will go to the polls to not only decide the outcome of local political races but also decide the outcome of our Presidential race. There are a handful of Windows Phone apps to help you keep track of Election results and help you find your way to the poll.

We've put together a small roundup of these apps that you may find useful in keeping track of how your favorite candidate is doing from your Windows Phone.

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PDF Reader is a documentation viewer that can open and display PDF files. As well as being able to access said formats on Windows Phone, the app enables users to bookmark pages, manipulate zoom levels, search content, and resume viewing from last saved point. It's a fully featured PDF viewer.

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