Apps

It's been awhile since we've seen WeatherLive get some major new functions, so it's with great joy to see version 4.0 beta making the rounds.

While the poplar weather app has grown in functionality, it has also become a little sluggish too. In addition, some people missed the simplicity of the the versions 1 and 2 of the app over the more busy 3.x. Luckily, the developer has been listening and 4.0 looks to make everyone happy. Here are the major changes:

WeathLive themes

  • Faster - the app's transitions and loading times are much zippier and more fluid
  • Theme support - With three themes, including Metro Minimalist, Metro and the new Glass, users can choose how they want the app to look
  • Animated radar - the radar map is now animated with 'pinch and zoom' built right in
  • Graphic tweaks - improved and cleaner UI

We really like where 4.0 is heading with the themes support as it will seemingly make everyone happy who has used this app in the past. The performance increase is also welcomed as the app was getting a big bogged down with the latest updates.

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Grooveshark is a streaming service that allows you to pick any artist, song or album and simply create playlists to listen to on your computer, tablet or phone. Unlike Pandora or IHeartRadio, it does not give you new artists/songs based off of your listening preference. Instead, it's more like just streaming the music you want to hear with no experimentation.

The HTML5 site works well enough on Windows Phone for streaming in IE9 but Grooveshark have stated they have no intentions for a dedicated client for Windows Phone. That's too bad. However, the developer of MetroRadio (an unofficial Pandora app for Windows Phone) is now working on Groovyshark, an unofficial Grooveshark client for our devices.

Groovyshark

We took the alpha build (i.e. pre-beta) for a test drive just to show you that indeed you can hook-into Grooveshark. We also got a sneak peek at the new "screensaver" function that's coming to MetroRadio too which is very reminiscent of Zune's music player on the Zune HD and Zune Desktop. That latter feature is something many have wanted Windows Phone to have built in so it's nice to see someone is working on it.

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GoVoice

It's been awhile since we've seen GoVoice, an unofficial Google Voice client, get update so it's nice to see the developer Nick Yu still supporting the free app for Windows Phone.

The latest version, 3.4, just hit the Marketplace and brings some great features including:

  • Search! Now you can search all your SMS's and voicemails
  • Message list contact integration - no need to export contacts to Gmail to see contact names
  • Notification setup bug fixed. Now you can set up notification automatically
  • Bug fixes

Combined with the previous v3.3 update which brought Mango features (including the important fast-app switching, better notifications and pinnable new message), GoVoice feels like a pretty complete and solid Google Voice app for those who need it (we do since we have three different cell phone numbers, ahem and like free SMS).

Pick up GoVoice for free in the Marketplace here.

QR: GoVoice

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33

Nokia releases Creative Studio for Lumia Windows Phones

WP Central

Nokia has released Creative Studio for Windows Phone, available to all Lumia handset owners. This app is a simple (but free) photo editing suite that enables users to alter and then share photos taken with the smartphone. A number of effects, filters and tools are available to turn that snap shot into a more visually appealing photo.

What's also neat is the patented technology used in the app which allows live, in-camera effects to be active so users are able to see what the end result would be without taking the shot. As well as this, we also have a panorama feature, which many desire as built-in functionality. Hopefully, with the recent news of said functionality coming to Lumia handsets, we shouldn't need to rely on an app soon enough.

You can download Creative Studio on your Lumia Windows Phone.

Via: Techin5

WP Central

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3

Unofficial Trello app now available for Windows Phone

Trellizzo

We'll be honest---we had no idea what Trello was till just a little while ago. Evidently it's another free cloud-colloboration service that allows your group of co-workers, friends or colleagues to work together on a project. In short, you create boards, people can add notes and media to said boards and you get a timeline of those changes and who made them.

Now that we think about it, that does sound useful. So it's nice to know that (a) if you already use Trello or (b) you think Trello could be useful to you, there is an app for that.

Trellizzo

Trellizzo, by Intertouch Media Technologies, is a free Windows Phone app that will access your account and evidently allow you to continue your collaboration via your WP7 device on the go--or at they very least, track those changes. The app is a little rough for a v1.0 with no Mango support...yet. But the devs are actively looking to update the app and are looking for user feedback (done through the app) which sounds good to us. Plus it is fast and nice looking.

You can sign up for Trello here on their site (or watch the video after the break) and pick up Trellizzo for your phone here in the Marketplace for free.

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6

Sketch Camera update brings new effects into play

Sketch Camera for Windows Phone

Sketch Camera is a photographic app for your Windows Phone that applies artistic filters to your images. We liked what we saw back in our review and the application was recently updated to bring a few more effects into play.

The new filters are:

  • Life on Mars (heavy sepia look)
  • Parchment
  • Alien skin
  • Wall sprayer
  • Over the foil
  • Canvass
  • Industrializer

You still have sketch, oil paint, pencil drawing, bathroom reflections and chalk effects that carried over from the previous version. The developer decided to remove the brick wall effect simply because not many liked it.

Life on Mars, Parchment, Over the Foil and Canvass Effects

Along with the new effects, there were some minor tweaks to fix some bugs and a few cosmetic changes to the photography app. The additional effects that the update brings to Sketch Camera are nice and expands the potential of a very nice camera app.

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Windows Phone App Review: Medicine Manager

Medicine Manager for Windows Phone

If you take medication with regularity, Medicine Manager is a Windows Phone application designed to help you remember to take your daily dosage. There aren't many bells and whistles to Medicine Manager but it does a decent job of listing your medications and reminding you when to take them.

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17

Windows Phone App Review: Skyrim Guide

Skyrim Guide for Windows Phone

Skyrim is a popular, addictive game that is available on your Xbox 360 console (as well as PC and Playstation 3). Skyrim Guide is a rather nice resource guide for the console game that is available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

I've just discovered Skyrim and there is a lot to this game.  Every where you turn an new cave, village, or encampment pops up. Skyrim Guide is designed to help you make heads and tales of all the quests, skills, character types, spells and other aspects of the game. Having all this information on your Windows Phone may help you avoid taking an arrow to the knee.

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27

Pinsation: a Pinterest client for Windows Phone

WP Central

Should you be an avid Pinterest user, you'll want to check out Pinsation for Windows Phone. Using official APIs, Pinsation provides a seamless experience with facebook connectivity and all the features you'd expect - upload pins, re-pin, like pins, create boards, delete pins, comment on pins, and more.

If you haven't heard of Pinterest before, it's a startup that allows users to find and "pin" useful content that's discovered around the web. Think of an e-pinboard and you'll understand the concept.

Pinsation also enables the user to pin categories, searches and favourite boards right to the home screen for more convenient access. You can download Pinsation from the Marketplace for free.

WP Central

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Garmin Streetpilot, the popular Windows Phone navigation app, has been updated to add a few new features to the mix. Most notably Foursquare, Facebook and Wikipedia integration.

While there isn't an official change log, here are some features we've noticed.

  • Create and save routes with multiple stops with Trip Planner
  • 3D building map layer
  • Public transportation is now displayed on the map as a layer
  • Wikipedia links map layer
  • Facebook and 4Square integration allowing you to check in/out of locations
  • Use of the compass (device dependent) 

We've also noticed the start-up time and overall speed of Garmin Streetpilot has improved as well.  Throw in a few cosmetic changes to the map view and the update covers a lot of territory.

Garmin Streetpilot for Windows Phone

Oh, speaking of cosmetic changes you have downloadable voices that includes a Yeti, Elfred the Elf and Dr. Nightmare voice.  You also have a healthy choice of automobile icons to download ranging from Star Wars to Sponge Bob icons.  While the update adds a lot to Garmin Streetpilot, I still wouldn't mind seeing downloadable apps come into play at some point.

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WPRemote for Roku

Back in September we reviewed a handy remote control app for the Roku video streaming devices called ROKUbox. It mostly provided a convenient substitute for a real Roku remote control, plus a few extra features. Fast forward to 2012 and ROKUbox has now become WPRemote for Roku. The name change is a result of the Roku company’s desire for keeping 3rd-party apps from being confused with official ones. Of course, there is no official Roku remote app for Windows Phone, but you know legal types are.

Additionally, the app’s version 2.0 update added a handy YouTube video playback function. See, for some crazy reason the Roku company doesn’t want to pay Google for the rights to provide an official YouTube channel on the Roku. Never mind that the Xbox 360, Sony Blu-Ray players, and myriad other devices have such channels. Thankfully the folks at Localyf have created their own custom Roku channel that plays YouTube videos.

To enable the feature, you’ll need to follow the instructions provided in the WPRemote for Roku app. Basically it involves going to the Channel Store on the Roku device and inputting a code to download Localyf’s channel. Once you’ve done that, simply press the YouTube button at the bottom of the WPRemote app. The app’s YouTube section allows you to search for YouTube videos by name and view recently played videos. Once you choose a video, it immediately starts playing on the Roku and your HDTV. You can also pin a live tile for the YouTube search function to your phone.

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20

ICQ for Windows Phone finally arrives

ICQ now on Windows Phone

Back in November, Mail.ru Group, the new owners of ICQ, announced that they would be developing a client app for Windows Phone.  In addition to its namesake, ICQ interfaces with many popular chat platforms, including Facebook chat, GChat and AIM.  Users can conveniently sign in to all of them at once using just their mobile number and receive push notifications.  ICQ also allows for automatic adding of contacts right from the Address Book and retains a history of conversations.

ICQ can be downloaded for free here.

QR: ICQ

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TextPlus

In an interesting article over at GigaOm, the developers of the popular app textPlus (site) discuss why they decided to invest in Windows Phone instead of RIM's BlackBerry for their service, recognizing what we appears to be a growing trend in the market, that Windows Phone is the de facto third-way.

For those who don't know, textPlus is another free SMS app that uses a generated and assigned number to allow you to text anyone, anywhere (in the US and Canada) for free in addition from app-to-app. In the future, free VOIP calls will also be brought over to Windows Phone (it's available now on iOS and Android). The app was released a few days ago to the Windows Phone Marketplace for free and truth be told, while a bit slow it's done quite well.

The question GigaOm had for the developers was why did they go with Windows Phone before a BlackBerry client? The answer was simple, it's a beautiful and elegant OS. Scott Lahman, CEO and founder of TextPlus:

“The second we saw the OS and (Nokia) Lumia devices, we knew we wanted to support it. It’s a beautiful OS with a fresh take on what a phone OS can look like and that’s motivation for us to innovate. The OS brings elements that would be buried vertically to the top and you can see all your conversations, communities and contacts lists very easily. And you can pin specific conversations to the home screen. It’s elegant, easy to use, and it puts all of the elements at your fingertips.”

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4

Lync 2010 app updated for Windows Phone

Lync 2010

It's been awhile since we've seen any movement on the Lync front for Windows Phone, so it's nice to see the app get a small update to version 4.1.

The popular enterprise messaging and conference app for the Lync service had been a much anticipated release for Windows Phone and it finally came last December.

Unfortunately, there is no changelog published to detail what, if anything, is new (although more language support is a good bet). If you notice anything different, comment below for the rest of us!

Pick up Lync 2010 for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Eduardo V., for the heads up

QR: Lync

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4

LG releases Photo Exhibition for Windows Phone

WP Central

LG has released another app for their Windows Phone OEM store collection titled Photo Exhibition. As the name suggests, the app is a photo editing tool that enables the user to create humorous effects, add filters / frames, and more. Clipart and effects can be applied to any photo that is imported from the library.

Photo Exhibition also sports Facebook sharing, so friends will be able to see your handy work. Of course, should you not have an LG Windows Phone, there are a handful of decent photo manipulation apps available for all, including Pictures Lab.

Via: Plaffo (translation)

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WP Central

Applyf are pleased to announce that the much anticipated YouTube client PrimeTube is now available on the Marketplace. We previously took the app for a spin in a preview of the client and immediately noticed the heavy Metro focus. So what's great about PrimeTube? Features include:

  • Search for videos; filter and sort results.
  • Like/Dislike videos, read and reply to comments.
  • Pin videos, playlists and authors (featuring live tile support) for instant access.
  • Share videos via social networks, email and SMS.
  • Create playlists and manage your subscriptions.
  • Complete music + video hub integration.
  • Multi-region support.
  • Supports Fast-App Switching.

Applyf states that the app adheres to the YouTube ToS and will be updated when API changes are published. The next version is already in the works, which will see video recording / direct uploading support, upload queue management (with background transfers and notifications), list of live events, as well as a number of minor bug fixes in the subscriptions section.

PrimeTube App

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WP Central

AdDuplex has ran another marketing and monetization interview with a Windows Phone developer. This time they've managed to get 4Bros Studio, developers of the incredibly successful Taptitude, on board for some insightful answers.  

Taptitude passed the 100,000 downloads checkpoint earlier in January and is arguably the best rated app for Windows Phone. This positively reflects just how much revenue the free ad-supported indie game is raking in. While no exact numbers have been published as-of-yet, they do note in the interview that they've earned over $70,000.

"Taptitude has been out for just over a year but in the first 4 months we only made $500.  At the time we were pretty happy with that, but in reality it wasn't even enough to cover a much needed server upgrade. Our great user community ended up donating the required funds for the upgrade.

Despite being a slow start, we're now pulling in 10-15k per month in ad revenue, and yet we've never been very highly downloaded (ranked 150th ATM). The lesson here is to never give up, just make the game you want to play and you’ll be rewarded one way or another. If nothing else, you'll learn something that can be applied to your next project."

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Calorie Counter vs Calorie Tracker

The Windows Phone Marketplace contains a number of apps for counting and tracking calories. The two most popular by far are Calorie Counter by Fat Secret.com and Calorie Tracker, from developer nVentive and LiveStrong.com. Both are currently free on the Marketplace, so which should you choose, dear fitness-conscious reader? Read on to find out.

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Our own Matt aka RogueCode has a new app heading to the Windows Phone Marketplace this week. Built off of the success of the Ffffound app (plus Tweet This Song! and Project Mosaic) but going further, Pocket Meme is an app for accessing those popular single-panel comics from QuickMeme.com directly to your phone--no ads, no chrome, just hilarity.

The app will allow you to save, view in high res and share (SMS, Email, Social), giving you full access to both the front-page as well as each meme's own section. Plus the coolest part: the random Meme selector (a 3D cube that you spin around).

Pocket Meme

Other features include the ability to Pin-to-Start individual memes, shake to randomize and in a future update, Live Tile support. All in all a fun app if you're a fan of QuickMeme (we are, in fact we asked Matt to make this!).

The app should be hitting the Marketplace this week and will fetch for $0.99.

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Hey DJ

We covered the app Speak to Play at the end of January as being one of the first voice-controlled music apps for Windows Phone. In short, you tap the button, tell it to play <artist>, <song>, <playlist> or <genre> and the app will start up whatever matches in your music collection.

From our opinion, the app worked quite flawlessly but we lamented that you still had to find the app, launch it then hit the microphone button--a few too many steps in our mind. Luckily, the app has under-gone a little makeover since we last reported on it and it has the following new features:

Hey DJ

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Weatherbug

It's been awhile since we've seen WeatherBug get an update, let alone a significant one. So it's nice to see version 2.0 finally (finally!) land in the Marketplace with some advanced Live Tile and Mango support. The full change log is as follows:

  • Live Tiles - New standard live tile and Live Cam views.  We've also added detailed one-day forecast and two-day summary forecast secondary tile options.
  • Visual Forecasts - Easy-to-read, at-a-glance displays of essential weather information you need quickly and easily.
  • Bad Weather Warnings & Alerts - Receive dangerous weather alerts faster from both the National Weather Service and our exclusive WeatherBug Network
  • Live Cams - Scroll through and view live shots from HD cameras in the WeatherBug Network

New tiles

Of course the new stability (and hopefully reliable background updates) should be the real story here, but those new Live Tile options are quite nice as well. This app falls nicely after the Microsoft Weather app in that it offers many more functions but has ads for support. The app seems zippy enough and we really like the layout (though we'd gladly pay $0.99 to remove those garish ads).

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UC Browser for Windows Phone

UC Browser is an alternative to Internet Explorer on Windows Phone, one of the first of its kind. It's been around for some time (it was on Windows Mobile) but only supported Chinese for the Windows Phone build which under went beta testing a few months ago. The browser was recently updated and now has language support for English.

UC Browser is a well designed web browser and pages loaded with a little zip. There's still some work to be done to complete the transition to English and a few features we've yet to discover. But all in all, if you're looking for a change of pace from IE9, UC Browser is worth a try.

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Ronny Gydar and Gydar Industries, the developer behind the fantastic Windows Phone Game Trine's Hangman, is working on a new Windows Phone project. Nope, the new app isn't another word puzzle game but a contacts search engine for your Windows Phone.  What started out as a project to help his mom with her Windows Phone has become People Search (Finn Folk for those in Norway).

People Search Beta for Windows Phone

People Search is designed to make the process of searching for contacts and contacting them with your Windows Phone a little easier.  People Search indexes all your contacts by user selected fields (name, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.) and as you dial the number, name, email, etc. a list of contacts is generated above the dial pad.  People Search reminds me of the old Windows Mobile type that would pull up a list of contacts as you began to dial out the number.

As you see the contacts and tap on the contact of choice, you will see options to call, text, email, and other options depending on how much information you have on that particular contact.  People Search looks like it could be a useful app but Gydar Industries needs your help to iron out all the kinks.

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It's been awhile since we looked at iHeartRadio, the popular radio app available across devices and for the web. It was in October that the app went to v3.0 and received Mango support and a few days ago, version 4.1 hit the Marketplace bringing a nice make over with some bonus features on board.

Gone is the grey photo background and instead we have just pure black with red text. The UI now is much more minimalist and Metro, giving the app a fresh new bold look which we really like.

iHeartRadio

But the biggest feature is the addition of "custom radio" which is very similar to Pandora. You choose a station to create based on a song, artist or genre and iHeartRadio will select tunes based off of that criteria. You can then thumbs up/down songs and from that, refine your musical selection. Likewise you can still pull down lyrics, pin the station to your start screen and purchase/download tracks from the Zune Marketplace.

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Smoked

Microsoft has pushed out yet another update for their Insider app--the app that gives you free Bing wallpapers, ringtones, tips and more from the Windows Phone Team.

What's unique about this update though (and smart) is the inclusion of the Smoked by Windows Phone logo/wallpaper which you can then use for your Lock screen. Pretty cool idea, although if we could offer some criticism: the text on the wallpaper overlaps with the Lock screen info, making it perhaps not the smartest decision for reading visibility.

Smoked

A smaller, notable change is also the new Bing logo in the wallpaper info-bar area. Don't worry, it doesn't save like that.

The Insider app is updated about once a month to include new ringtones and wallpaper and seeing as its free, we see no reason to not have this on your phone (we really like 'Aphex' for our ringtone). Pick it up here in the Marketplace. Thanks, @WobblyChair, for the tip!

QR: Insider

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