Apps

5

Windows Phone App Review: Phototastic

WP Central

Phototastic is a nice little photography app for your Windows Phone that lets you create photo collages or apply a series of borders and effects to your photos. You can create collages from twenty four templates and apply such effects as a photo booth film strip or Polaroid border to your pictures.

You can apply Phototastic's effects to newly captured images or choose a photo already in your Pictures Hub to customize. Phototastic supports sharing your creations through Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Photobucket.  Overall, Phototastic isn't a shabby little photography app and can give your pictures a little pop.

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26

TrueCaller heading to the Marketplace

TrueCaller for Windows Phone

TrueCaller is a global number search with integrated call blocking functionality.  TrueCaller has been available over on iOS and Android platforms and it will soon be available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

With TrueCaller you can see who is calling by connecting with yellow and white page directories from all over the world. TrueCaller also offers Social Caller ID that lets you know what your friends are up to before you answer their calls by displaying information from their Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

One of the more interesting features of TrueCaller is the ability to automatically block calls by adding unwanted numbers to a spam list. It also appears that you have the ability to tap into a centralized spam list.  A list that is created from other users on numbers that have been deemed as unwanted or spam.

TrueCaller is expected to be a free app that should be in the Marketplace any day now. Until then you can check out all the details on TrueCaller from their website.

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16

Windows Phone App Review: Sleep

Sleep for Windows Phone

Sleep is one of the many sound generators available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace designed to help you relax and fall asleep easier.  And we all know that a good night's sleep is essential for good health and fitness.

We've covered several and Sleep holds its own amongst the sleep/sound/relaxation apps we've tried. There's still some room for improvement but overall, Sleep ain't too shabby.

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Although we're in the third (and basically final) day of the Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona, we just got tipped earlier this morning that Nokia has their own Mobile World Congress app. Now there is a MWC app of sorts in the Marketplace called Mobile World Live but it's not very interesting nor of much use for those of us hustling and bustling between events (mind you, there are 60,000+ people here just for this event).

But the Nokia app, as perhaps expected, is simply amazing looking and actually useful. It's super fluid, fast, bold colors and a lot of Metro. The app allows you to view the conference agenda, venue maps offline, latest announcements from Nokia and Explore Barcelona (including how to use Scout).

Nokia's MWC 2012 app

The coolest feature though? The ability to submit an app request to Nokia on anything you see at the conference that you want for Windows Phone. Nokia is always big on feedback and here they're relying on end users to help crowd-source the next big thing. The fact that Nokia would consider building such an app (or working with the developers) is pretty great from our perspective.

So although we're a bit too late to take advantage of this (though others have going by the outstanding reviews) we still want to give a kudos to Nokia for it so that they make another one for next year.

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53

Skype for Windows Phone unable to run in the background

WP Central

The long-awaited Skype app, which was unveiled at this year's MWC as beta, has an issue that will affect any user that wishes to run it in the background hoping that incoming calls would alert for user input. The Verge took a dive into the beta app only to find out that should the app not be active on a Windows Phone, any incoming calls are diverted to a voicemail service.

Skype has informed The Verge that this is a limitation due to the OS itself with how notifications are too slow, stating that it takes too long to process information, open the app, and set up the call to make it practical. Unfortunately it would appear as though the team doesn't have native access and we don't expect this to be something that'll be fixed by the gold build release.

Of course we're all still awaiting integration with the OS itself, which would render the app somewhat redundant. Hopefully native access will be provided for said integration that would allow the team to have the service run in the background. Skype integrated into Windows Phone will add to the selling points for the platform thus Microsoft will need to have an efficient solution for those who use the service.

Another kink in the system is video calling, which is only in landscape mode. What's more strange is should you swipe to the text conversation mid-call the app will then switch the portrait. This is actually something Skype made the decision on and is looking to fix.

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Windows Phone App Review: Weather Stats

Weather Stats for Windows Phone

Curious what the weather patterns are like in Atar, Mauritania? Well there's a Windows Phone weather app that will tell you the weather stats for more than 26,000 cities world wide. Weather Stats published by Kitya is an app that will provide you with available weather stats on that particular location.  Weather Stats comes in handy if you're traveling and need to know what type of weather you're in store for.

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27

GroupMe returns to Windows Phone with an improved app

WP Central

Can we have a drum roll? Because GroupMe is back! The group-texting app for Windows Phone (which is also available on Blackberry, iOS and Android) went MIA late last year and not much has been officially said surrounding the app since, until a callout was published on the Twitter account looking for Windows Phone users who reside in New York.

Today we have an article announcing the app's return on the official GroupMe blog. So what's new in version 3? With the company being purchased by Skype (Microsoft), the team has been working closely with the software giant to revamp the app. As well as a visual (and code) overhaul, which looks much more fluent with the Metro UI, GroupMe also supports deep-link live tiles (with notifications) to chats and groups, photo sharing, contacts integration, and more.

WP Central

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Goal.com

We know some of you need a nice dedicated app for your favorite football (cough, soccer) teams out there, a way to follow the latest scores and stories. No one does it better than Goal.com so it's with great pleasure to see them release an official app for Windows Phone yesterday.

Goal.com

"The Goal.com app gives you all the latest breaking news, exclusive interviews, transfer gossip, live scores and much more. Whatever and wherever the story is, Goal.com offers the most comprehensive and expert coverage from the major domestic leagues and competitions, as well as all the major international tournaments."

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WhatsApp Video

Just as Kik gets an update so does the popular alternative WhatsApp which has now surpassed the former in features. Hitting version 1.8 the WhatsApp team is slowly but steadily adding many new features to the app on Windows Phone and version 1.8 will make many happy.

For one, it finally brings video recording and sharing to the table. Hit the video record button, make a video and off it goes to your contact. Pretty seamless and it should be a big hit for those who want such a feature. Other notable changes include:

  • Enhanced location support
  • Set group icon with web search
  • Abe to block contacts and manipulate block list
  • More accurate "last seen" time
  • Other bug fixes

Quite a huge update when you think about it, so kudos to the WhatsApp team for the continued development and support. You can pick up WhatsApp here in the Marketplace for free.

QR: WhatsApp

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Kik

Last time Kik Messenger, the popular IM app that we use a lot around here, received an update was way back in October. That was the big Mango update which was very popular due to all the new features.

Just now we got the notice that version 2.1 is on the Marketplace though there's no changelog to be found, leaving us to guess what has been altered. The one thing we notice right away is it seems faster to us e.g. a "performance update" but we're human and prone to placebo effects, so perhaps not. Other than that there's no new features to be found which is a bit dissapointing...then again we're really not sure what we're missing either.

Update: As noted in comments by ptosan, their blog has the details:

"Now, you can have longer conversations without interruption and the app (conversations, included!) will load faster. We’ve also updated the keyboard for smoother typing. We’ve taken measures to improve the overall WP7 experience and performance."

Grab Kik here in the Marketplace for free.

QR: Kik

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1

Save My Spot! gets updated, drops ads

Save My Spot: Look Ma' No Ads!

Save My Spot! is a decent app for your Windows Phone (here's our review) to help you remember and get back to various spots in your life. Be it a favorite restaurant or where you saw that special something something for your wife, Save My Spot! will record the GPS coordinates for the spot as well as tons of descriptive elements to get you back there.

Save My Spot! was recently updated to version 1.1 to add functionality to manage categories in the settings and to remove the banner ads. The latter is a welcome fix in that Save My Spot! may have been the only paid app that had ad banners. Kudos for the developer to stepping up and taking corrective action on this oversight.

The developer tells us that there is more in store for Save My Spot! with future updates (maybe a trial version?). Save My Spot! is running $.99, is now ad-free and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Save My Spot

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runtastic App Lead

It's Fitness Month here at WPCentral and Mobile Nations, as you all already know, so we thought we'd take a look at some health-related apps for your Windows Phone that can be used to keep on top of those pesky New Year resolutions you may have made for 2012. I've personally been using runtastic for Windows Phone, a fitness tracking app / service that's also available for Blackberry, iOS and Android. So, just how can this app help keep owners fit?

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11

Hands on with Nokia Transport and Reading [Video]

Nokia Transport & Reading

Besides all of the new phone goodness today, Nokia also showed off a few new apps heading down the pike for their Windows Phone users. One of those is Nokia Transport, an app dedicated to public transportation including bus and train schedules for more than 500 cities--something us urban folk desperately need. The app nails down your position and shows you the nearest stops and schedules around you, allowing you to save and even pin to your Start screen a route of you choices. That Live Tile can then flip around showing you the next train or bus always keeping you in the loop.

Nokia Reading is an eBook app that also supports audio books. It turns out it runs through Nokia's store where you can browse for new books, including a lot of free ones, save and basically use it as solid eReader. The selection of books looks decent enough but we'll have to see more when it is closer to launch.

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WP Central

Carbon version 1.2 is now live on the Marketplace after being submitted twelve days prior. We covered what's new in this update previously, which includes video preview (on the timeline) and a new quote screen gesture (tap on a tweet with two fingers). As well as improvements made to the app (speed, performance, etc.), the team has also introduced a trial mode that wasn't present in v1.1 - this trial has limited functionality but sports no advertising.

What else has been patched in version 1.2? Check out the bug fixes and changes below:

  • Read It Later bug that failed to save links to Read It Later service
  • Timeline context menu bug
  • Camera share bug that did not select pictures from Pictures hub
  • Broken image upload
  • List Timelines on Quickline Bug where it didn’t load older Tweets when tapping on “More”
  • Minor changes & bug fixes with Live Tiles
  • Default Image service changed to Twitpic instead of Twitter(to be reverted back soon)
  • Quickline bug that did not load all of the lists
  • General cache, and storage fixes/enhancements
  • Smoother Timeline scrolling experience and faster image fetching

You can download Carbon (and the trial) from the Marketplace for $1.99.

Via: CarbonWP

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38

Quick tour of Skype beta for Windows Phone [Video]

Skype!

As you all know by now, the Skype beta for Windows Phone is now out in the Marketplace. We just gave Rafael a call and was happily shocked at how good it sounded.

The app is pretty simple with your contacts and history and barely any user settings. You can make voice calls, chat or even video calls as expected and all calls are free over WiFi. In addition you can use the dialpad to call out any numbers should you have Skype out minutes.

Though long in the waiting, it looks to be a solid release even if it still has the "beta" label. Pick up Skype here in the Marketplace for free.

QR: Skype

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34

Skype Windows Phone app hits Beta!

Skype Beta for Windows Phone

We've heard rumors about a Windows Phone Skype app and now a Beta version of the Skype App has hit the Windows Phone Marketplace. The app will allow you to:

  • Make and receive voice/video calls and instant messages to anyone else using Skype, whether on a Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Mac, PC or television.
  • Use your Skype account for free at home, at work, or on-the-go (WiFi connection or mobile data plan required).

There is a disclaimer pointing out that this is a pre-release product and you may come across occasional bugs and issues. You can find the Skype Windows Phone here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Skype

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Blue Tomato

Just days after we reported that Blue Tomato, the brand renaming of Sonic's Jewels, was submitted to the Marketplace, we're excited to announce that it's back and ready for downloading.

Blue Tomato is the Sega Game Gear and Master System emulator that first appeared on the Marketplace a few weeks ago. Since then, Sega appropriately exercised their copyright claim on "Sonic" and any Sega images from the emulator, causing the app to be pulled from the Marketplace. Now it's back with a new name, new graphics and even a sound engine on board making this in our opinion well worth the $1.99 $1.29 should you so desire this type of app.

Folks who previously bought Sonic Jewel's should be able to just "update" to this version with no new incurred costs. Hit us up in comments and let us know what you think. Grab Blue Tomato here in the Marketplace for $1.99 $1.29 with a free trial.

QR: Blue Tomato

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19

Windows Phone App Review: Cool Camera

Cool Camera for Windows Phone

Here's a short take on a new app for your Windows Phone. Cool Camera is a camera app that gives you an alternative to the native camera app.  Cool Camera is a decent camera app for your Windows Phone with some very nice features.  Not sure if it can overtake the native camera app on your Windows Phone but it's worth a try to decide for yourself.

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13

Windows Phone App Review: MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal for Windows Phone

MyFitnessPal is a neat app for your Windows Phone to helps you track your workouts and diet as you work towards an established weight goal. It's a rather simple tracking app that taps into a healthy amount of resources. MyFitnessPal boasts the largest food database with over 1.2 million items and based on using the app over the past few days, I believe it.

The interface is easy to pick up on and a bar code scanner just in case your meal isn't listed in the database, MyFitnessPal is an impressive fitness and health app for your Windows Phone.

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We saw an early release of it back at CES in January and now the official CNN application for Windows Phone is live on the Marketplace. Of course, only Nokia-branded devices need apply at this point as they have an exclusive on the app for a few months, so we've heard.

CNN

The app itself is fantastic with gorgeous transitions, breaking news alerts, built in video, plenty of sharing options and pinnable sub-sections. The iReport feature is also pretty impressive, reportedly allowing you to submit news stories through the application itself it could very well improve "breaking news" moments.

So for all of those with Nokia Windows Phones, here's your Marketplace link. Enjoy! Thanks, Benjamin C., for the link!

QR: CNN

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WP Central

Never ones to back down from a challenge the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have created a neat little utility to allow one to transfer files between phones or devices using just Bluetooth. You can even send over XAP files for installation of Windows Phone apps giving users yet another option for file distribution.

WP CentralThe bad news is you'll need a fully-unlocked phone meaning dev and interop devices need not apply. That also limits this currently to Gen 1 devices (as you can see initialization fails on the Titan for obvious reasons).

Still, it's an impressive piece of work and hopefully it will lay the ground work for future hacks, assuming Microsoft doesn't give us the function first.

Source: XDA; via Facebook (Bazaar)

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11

Fitness Month: Windows Phone for vegans and vegetarians

Windows Phone for vegans and vegetarians

Over the past few years, as consumers have become more concerned with how and what they eat, the number of people choosing to lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle has increased dramatically.  And while being vegetarian has become much easier since I first started over 13 years ago, it can still be a challenging road to navigate, be it grocery shopping, traveling, or just trying to keep things new and different when cooking at home.  Thankfully, with Windows Phone it's that much easier, whether you are a seasoned veggie veteran or just starting out.  With February being Fitness Month here at WPCentral and Mobile Nations, we thought we take a look at several vegetarian apps.

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Xbox Companion

Good news for you Xbox 360 users out there (we hope that's most of you), the Companion app has received a nice little update to v1.1 this morning in the Marketplace.

Unfortunately, no word on what the changes are as there seems to be no obvious new features on board. But perhaps coincidentally, our Xbox 360 just received a system update to its OS and maybe the two are related. Or not.

(Edit: Today's Xbox 360 update is "... to quickly fix some voice recognition issues affecting our non-English speaking members" according to Microsoft's Major Nelson.)

Go download the app in the Marketplace here and in the meantime, we'll work on nailing down a changelog for ya. Thanks, Kyle S., for the heads up

QR: Xbox Comp

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