Apps

29

Rowi gets a major overhaul with latest update

Rowi for Windows Phone

The popular Windows Phone Twitter app Rowi has undergone a major update. Version 2.0 brings a decent amount of enhancements, improvements and tweaks to Rowi as well as Mangofying the app.

Here are the highlights of the version 2.0 update:

  • Instant resume
  • Fast app switching
  • Pin tweets and messages to the Start Screen
  • Retweets are now included in the list timelines
  • Photo previews for tweets in timelines
  • Conversation views on tweet details page
  • Tweet details now show who retweeted it
  • Now Playing added to the tweet screen to let you tweet about what you're listening to
  • Image upload services through Lockerz, yfrog, Twitter and Twitpic
  • Toast notifications now display inside of Rowi and take you to the new tweets when tapped
  • New remaining character counter for new tweets or messages

And that just scratches the surface. You also have settings changes to make things a little simpler to tweak, layout changes to make things easier to navigate and read, as well as the customary refinements and bug fixes.  You can find the full list of changes, improvements, and additions over at Rowi's website.

The update makes a good Twitter client for your Windows Phone better. Rowi is a nice looking, well laid out app and if you're looking for a Twitter client, Rowi deserves a try.

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3

DecisionMaster decides to update to version 2.0

DecisionMaster for Windows Phone

DecisionMaster is a problem solving app for your Windows Phone (here's our review from way back when) where you input multiple options and criteria, compare these options, and find out which is the best option to pursue. In many ways, DecisionMaster weighs the pros and cons of a decision to help you choose the best course of action.

DecisionMaster was recently updated to version 2.0 which most notably adds the ability to send decisions via email and adds a trial version to let Windows Phone users try before they buy. The user interface received a slight face lift and there were a few customary performance tweaks with the update.

DecisionMaster

The premise of DecisionMaster is the same. You enter your choices/options, then your evaluation criteria, and then compare or rank each option based on the criteria. DecisionMaster then spits out how the options rank amongst one another. Once the numbers are crunched you have the options to save the decision or email your results.

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Plex

We broke the news just the other day that Plex (see site), a popular application for Home Theater PC users, was about to release their official app for Windows Phone which would enable users to stream movies, music and photos to their devices on the go.

That app is now live in the Marketplace and user reviews so far have been quite high for the app although some users are reporting a few errors. Still, due the popularity of Plex and the responsiveness of their developers, any issues present in a 1.0 release will surely be worked on soon enough. From the app description:

"The Plex application allows you to use your Windows Phone to browse and play your media (video, photos and music) using the Plex Media Server installed on your PC, Mac or Linux system. You can also view online media from a variety of sources.

YOU MUST HAVE THE PLEX MEDIA SERVER (version v0.9.6 beta or higher) INSTALLED AND RUNNING TO STREAM LOCAL MEDIA: http://www.plexapp.com/getplex"

The app fetches for $4.99 although there is a free, fully-functional trial that is limited to 30-second playback of media. You can pick it up here in the Marketplace.

Read more on Plex media and their desktop server apps at their site: http://www.plexapp.com/ Thanks, Bearach, for the tip

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Bazaar for unlocked Windows Phone

Bazaar is a Windows Phone alternative marketplace designed to provide both users and developers a means to share and install homebrew apps easily to your unlocked Windows Phone. Bazaar hosts and shares only free homebrew apps and is similar to the Deepshining Marketplace we mentioned some time ago.

While Bazaar has been available from the PC, it's now available through the Bazaar Windows Phone app. It functions just like your Windows Phone Marketplace app but delivers homebrew apps to your phone instead.

Bazaar supports a wide range of unlocked Windows Phones. Developer unlocked devices can browse apps from the Bazaar app but must install them via the Bazaar for PC application. Fully unlocked devices can browse, share, manage, and install apps directly from the Bazaar app.

If you're into homebrewing on your Windows Phone and are looking for an alternative marketplace, Bazaar might be worth looking into. You can find all the details and download both the Bazaar app and Bazaar PC application here at Bazaar's website.

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Plex

For those of you with Home Theater PC setups that use Plex Media Center for software, you'll be excited to know that the company is about to release their Mobile app for Windows Phone.

Plex (see site) is a very popular software package that includes a server and PC software for viewing your movies, music and photos wherever, whenever. It's also available on iOS, Mac, the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, making it a fairly robust option for those with families and gigs of hardware space for storing their media. On top of that, the volunteer developer community around the project ensures that services like Hulu, Netflix  and other sites get supported via plugins.

Evidently, the company has been working on a client for Windows Phone for sometime as it has already been submitted to the Marketplace and is waiting for approval. In a newly created sub-forum on their site for Windows Phone, both a Plex developer and Plex blogger Elan both chimed in on the matter:

"You should take a forum being created for it as a good sign"

"The app has been approved by Microsoft, and we're in the process of making it live in the store! "

So now all there is left to do is wait until the app shows up in the Marketplace, which could take a few days. The app should have the same functionality as the iOS and Android variants, giving users the ability to stream all their media on the go with a slick interface. We'll keep you posted.

Take a peek after the break to see the iPhone version in action. Needless to say, it's a nice app...

Source: Plex Forums; Thanks, Sean M., for the heads up!

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WP Central

Pinsation, a Pinterest client for Windows Phone, has recently been updated and is now available in Marketplaces outside the U.S. Pinsation enables the user, once logged into their Pinterest account, to upload pins, re-pin, like pins, create boards, delete pins, comment on pins, and more.

Although Pinsation was released to the U.S. marketplace only, Windows Phone owners (and those with Pinterest accounts) who reside in Europe (and the UK), Australia, Canada, and South America will now be able to download the app. As well as the increased market support, Pinsation received a number of improvements and bug fixes in versions 1.2 and 1.3:

  • Added about page
  • Added globalization support
  • Added Spanish and German languages
  • Redesigned user page
  • User page now shows about, location, and website
  • Autoloads more following items on home screen

You can download Pinsation from the Marketplace for free.

WP Central

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Windows Phone App Review: Zero

Zero for Windows Phone

Zero is a task manager of sorts for your Windows Phone that, in many ways, marches to a different drummer. It might be more appropriate to call Zero a gesture based  "To Do" list manager than a task manager though. 

There's really not too much to Zero but there is a learning curve unlike any other Windows Phone app that you may run across. Zero relies on screen gestures for navigation and while the gestures aren't difficult, if you forget to swipe right when you swipe left you could have problems.

Once you get the hang of Zero, it's a really nice Windows Phone app that helps you tackle your To-do lists.

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Flud

Flud, a popular social RSS client on iOS, has been released for Windows Phone. We previously looked at Flud when it appeared at the Mobile Acceleration Week in New York back in November. With Flud you'll be able to know what your friends (fellow "Fluders") are reading, and vice-versa. This appears to be the norm with every social app now - to see exactly what your friends are up to.

The app itself is nicely designed with a clean Metro UI and features some interesting functionality, including Google Reader integration. Be sure to add "WPCentral.com" as a news source to get the latest from our feed. A quick run down of the features available in Flud:

  • Find Fluders who share your interests in news, blogs, and topics
  • Flud articles you love and share them with your followers
  • See what your followers are reading with the Activity Feed
  • Access your Reading List wherever you are, no Internet required
  • Easily add, reorder, or remove feeds
  • Connect to Google Reader, Twitter, and Facebook

Flud App

You can download Flud from the Marketplace for free.

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13

Windows Phone App Review: WeatherPro

WeatherPro for Windows Phone

There's little argument that there is no great shortage of Weather apps for your Windows Phone these days.  WeatherPro is one such Windows Phone app that was recently updated and after receiving several requests, we took a peek at it. With regards to features, WeatherPro is a notch above your basic weather app by providing both forecast information and animated weather radars.

Weatherpro is a nice app but its weakness rests within its navigation. While you can find what you're looking for fairly easy, there's a little inconsistency in how certain screens react.  It's nothing detrimental but rather something that I couldn't help but feel could be better.  The update (version 2.0) brings live tiles into the mix and mangofies the app, all of which helps WeatherPro's overall impression.

WeatherPro isn't a bad weather app, I just expected more for the $2.99 price tag.

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30

HTC Locations updated with offline navigation

HTC Locations updated

HTC has recently updated their Locations app for Windows Phone, which now sports handy offline navigation. Nokia beat the gun with implementing support for navigation not requiring data connectivity in their Drive app. Now HTC handset owners will be able to enjoy the same functionality as both Lumia and HTC Android owners.

HTC Locations enables the user to "share your favorite locations with photo, voice and note. Share your favorite locations to your friends", with downloadable maps as well as offline navigation. It's a pretty simple app with neat functionality.

Should you own a HTC Windows Phone, you can download HTC Locations from the OEM collection of apps.

Via: Engadget; Thanks, SolunaKitty, for the tip!

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22

WP7 Root Tools 0.9 is here, with an SDK in tow

WP7 Root Tools 0.9

Windows Phone hacker Heathcliff74 is announcing the immediate availability WP7 Root Tools 0.9 today. 'Root Tools is a suite of tools for Windows Phone that we've been following since inception and already features a full blown registry registry editor, file system browser, and certificate injection capabilities. But the new version comes jammed pack full of additional new and exciting features that will no doubt re-energize the homebrew community. I'm talking about features such as:

  • True and unfettered root access
  • Better performance
  • Increased device support
  • A new policy editor
  • A new software development kit

The more exciting news here, however, is the shiny new SDK (0.1) in tow, offering homebrew developers a set of APIs that tap into the same root-level features that the tool relies on. An application wishing to wield such power, however, must first seek permission from the user. That is, the users must explicity mark a particular app as "trusted". Grumble all you want, this gate is in place for obvious and serious security and privacy reasons. You don't want all those private photos on Twitter, right?

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Windows Phone App Review: Newsy

Newsy for Windows Phone

Here's an interesting news reader for your Windows Phone.  Newsy is a news app that presents two minute videos on daily news stories that are compiled from various sources. A summary video of sorts that puts all you need to know on a current event/news item in a nice, two minute package.  As the Newsy tag line reads, "multiple sources, the real story".

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Good Technology

We don't recall seeing this at the insanity that was Mobile World Congress, but evidently on February 27th, Good Technology, who focuses on enterprise and security (and who used to be owned by Motorola) announced a partnership with Nokia to bring their "FIPS-certified 192 bit AES encryption and end-to-end mobile messaging" service to Lumia Windows Phones.

The service is set to roll out in Q2 2012, which means we should see this very soon. The press release goes on to detail the features coming to the Windows Phone app, which by the sounds of it will be only available in the Nokia Collection through the Marketplace:

"Employees will be able to access corporate email, contacts, and calendars through the Good for Enterprise application on their Nokia Windows Phone smartphones—just as they access Microsoft Outlook® or Lotus Notes® on desktop computers at the office—using the intuitive user interface with panorama and pivot views with which they are already be familiar. IT managers will be able to protect corporate data with data encryption and easy-to-apply policies, such as requiring passwords and preventing 'cut/copy/paste' capabilities from the Good for Enterprise app. They will also be able to establish role-based policies using web-based management tools and perform remote wipe of enterprise information only, leaving music, photos, and other personal data present elsewhere on an employee's mobile device intact in the event the mobile device is compromised, lost or stolen."

A big gap in Windows Phone services is actually in enterprise, specifically the lack of encryption on the device or secure, non-Exchange based messaging. Unfortunately, while many in IT departments want more advanced features on current Windows Phones, there seems to be no plans for an "enterprise update" for Windows Phone 7. Instead, Microsoft is putting off a major refocusing on this area till Windows Phone 8, expected in late 2012 (rollout early 2013) including 128-bit native BitLocker data encryption.

WP Central

While Windows Phone 8 looks promising, this partnership with Nokia for the Lumia 710, 800 and 900 devices will offer a nice stop-gap for mid 2012 and another reason to "go Nokia". Combined with AT&T's recent secure-messaging software for Windows Phones, Lumia 900 owners will have no less than three enterprise-focused messaging solutions: AT&T's, Good Technology and of course Exchange. We think that's a pretty killer combo for IT departments.

Read the full press release after the break...Thanks, bilzkh, for the tip!

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WP Central

Lawrence Gripper, the developer behind the free BBC News Mobile app, has published an article on his blog detailing issues with the app that result in the inability to read any articles pulled from the news source. Gripper has confirmed the problem and will be submitting an update this evening, which should be published within the next few days / early next week.

"I'm going to look to publish a fixed version this evening and hopefully it will get through the certification process in the next few days. In the meant time please be patient and hopefully the app will be back up and running again soon."

Just a heads up should you be experiencing said problem. In the meantime, you can read all the latest news on the BBC News mobile site beta, which sports a usable Metro look.

Source: Lawrence Gripper

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WP Central

Sure we talk a lot about Twitter clients for Windows Phone around these parts, but many of you also need a dedicated one for your PC. For that, there really is only one solution: MetroTwit. Yes, it's Metro inspired and Metro loved, which means you need it.

We've discussed this popular client before and since then, a lot of hard work, spit and polish has gone into the app, making it one of the most popular around. In fact, it just hit version 1.0 a few minutes ago and with it comes a ton of new changes, including:

  • Added multiple account support
  • Added support for filtering
  • Added new out-of-box-experience for first time users
  • Added ability to preview larger user avatars
  • Added undo tweet functionality
  • Added Twitter events support for user follows, list membership and tweet favorites
  • ...and much, much more.

You can download the new free, ad-supported version right here from their site and read the version 1.0 changelog here.

What's more, to celebrate this huge day, we've teamed up with the MetroTwit devs to give away 10 "Plus" licenses ($16 value) which will allow you those multiple accounts and no ads. Ka-ching.

Sound good? All you have to do is comment on this post and tell us why you want MetroTwit Plus. We'll randomly select 10 of you to get the free license.

You have 24 hours....go!

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26

4th & Mayor: one year later

WP Central

Jeff Wilcox, senior developer at Microsoft and developer of the 4th & Mayor Windows Phone app, has published some statistical data on his blog covering the app's usage in the past year. Wilcox publicly released 4th & Mayor one year ago today, and the app quickly become an extremely popular choice with consumers.

The Foursquare client, which currently sits at version 3.2 / 3.3, boasts some bold statistics:

  • Used by over 60,000 people, most every single day.
  • Over 35,000 people have push notifications enabled.
  • Of users who’ve opted into sharing usage information, the app has been used to check-in over 7,650,000 times.
  • The app's been run over 8,000,000 times.

It's interesting to note that 4th & Mayor has been run over 8 million times in 365 days. That's almost 22,000 times a day. While one would expect a high level of use due to the nature and functionality of the app, it's still a positive sign for Windows Phone itself.

As for 4th & Mayor, Wilcox is set to release version 3.4 soon which will "add a lot more features for international users, including more map choices such as OpenStreetMap and Google Maps, plus business hours support".

Should you not have 4th & Mayor installed on your Windows Phone, you can download it from the Marketplace for free.

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GPS Calculator for Windows Phone

GPS Calculator is a tool box of sorts for your Windows Phone GPS.  The app won't appeal to everyone but it helps you determine distances, coordinates, and areas of maps (here's our review).  If you are in need of such tools, it's a very nice app and was recently updated to version 5.0.

GPS Calculator's new features include:

  • Sharing of location in any supported format via sms, email or social
  • Time zone, local time and sunrise-sunset calculations for any location
  • A new Altimeter function where you can not only view elevation profile graphs and get current GPS elevation, but also compare it using five different elevation data models.

The GPS Calculator Version 5 update also adds support for:

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WP Central

We've had the chance to look at an upcoming app from Igneous Software, who are responsible for the BBC Radio apps available on the Marketplace. Their latest project, BBC Podcast Lounge, does exactly what it says on the tin. The UI and design of the app is superb and follows on nicely from their previous radio apps, but it's the functionality and end-polish that shines in BBC Podcast Lounge.

On app launch you're greeted by the featured screen with tiles of top recommended podcasts. From here you can pan across and view all the genres (the BBC reportedly contains over 300 unique programmes) available, from Jazz and Rock all the way to Science and Soap, there's something for every taste. If you'd rather select shows by stations and / or region, a full list is present to break down the catalogue.

As well as the selection lists, programmes can be added to the favourites for more convenient access, but unfortunately they (or the radio stations) can't be pinned to the home screen. Search is also available, which will enable the user to filter through the programmes available in real-time. As well as the breakdown categories, featured, and favourites the main app screen also sports miscellaneous links for rating the app, etc. and providing feedback to the developers.

BBC Podcast Lounge App

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Official Audible app for Windows Phone

We've been waiting for a long time for an Audible client for Windows Phone and that day is finally almost upon us. Currently the popular audio-book app is in limited beta testing but we managed to get our hands on a copy and to be honest, we're impressed. The folks at Audible have given time and consideration when making this app as opposed to rushing some basic player to the market and it shows.

The Audible app is fast, nimble and to the point allowing you to purchase your favorite audio books on the go and with ease of listening. Some of the highlights of the app include:

  • Primary Live Tile that flips with recent history on the back
  • Secondary Live Tiles based on book title; enables 1-touch playing of audio; flips to show bookmark history
  • Configurable "jump back" feature to re-hear a section (default is 30 seconds)
  • Button-less playback which uses gestures instead of buttons to control the audio
  • Badges and statistics viewer
  • Sharing of book info and general news via the Windows Phone built in social networks
  • Gorgeous UI

One small downside is that it uses the built in browser/embedded IE9 for book purchasing as opposed to a dedicated native marketplace. The embedded option works well enough but it feels a little jarring to be ejected momentarily from the app-experience.

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15

Nokia Music updated to version 2.0

WP Central

While Nokia appears to be on an OEM app updating spree, the Finnish manufacturer has also included their Nokia Music app for Windows Phone, which has now been bumped to version 2.0. This follows both Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive that were both recently updated.

Nokia Music enables Lumia Windows Phone owners to listen to genre mixes, and is the manufacturer's attempt to provide consumers with a solution should Zune not be readily available. The said mixes are available to play offline and can be pinned to the home screen for convenient access. Background playback is supported, but there are some limitations such as the inability to rewind the mix, it's best to think of this app as a personal radio.

The mixes are updated every so often with new tracks included and the best part of the service is it's completely free. "Progressive downloading" is taken to the next level with the included functionality for "Music DNA" to scan your PC library and tailor the mixes to your personal taste. If you'd like to have even more control over what content is available to you, you can even select individual artists for the app to take into account.

Nokia Music App

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Windows Phone App Review: FlightPredictor

FlightPredictor for Windows Phone

FlightPredictor is a Windows Phone app that delivers a hefty amount of flight information to your Windows Phone. FlightPredictor covers flight times, status, and also has a series of major airport maps to help navigate the friendly skies.  Flight information is provided by FlightCaster.com and if you need to keep track of flight times, delays, along with a little help finding your way around airports, FlightPredictor is worth a try.

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Play To

Nokia today just rolled out their Play To app for Windows Phone which enables the user to share photos and video via DLNA to your large screen TV or other DLNA-enabled devices. The addition of a DLNA app was speculated back in December as coming to Nokia.

Play To has been available for Nokia Symbian devices since early 2011, so it's finally great to be able to extend that feature to their Lumia Windows Phone line up. This software, similar to what LG, HTC and Samsung have offered for their devices brings Nokia Windows Phone closer to their competition in terms of feature support and should be a welcomed addition.

WP Central

The software is beta at this point, which simply means you need to head to the Nokia Labs page, sign up and they'll give you the Marketplace link to download the app. Much like Nokia Drive, we expect to be testing for a few weeks before it is finally released for all Nokia devices to download.

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Windows Phone App Review: Weather Flow

Weather Flow for Windows Phone

Looking for a basic weather forecast app? Take a look at the Windows Phone app Weather Flow. The app is from the developers of AppFlow and Cocktail Flow and is a visually appealing app that presents you with current conditions and a five day forecast.

Throw in an hourly forecast, two design layouts and an interesting live tile and Weather Flow is a basic, very nice looking weather app worth considering.

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Transport

For those of you lucky enough to have a Nokia Lumia device and happen to live near an urban center around the world, you may want to take a peek at Nokia's latest software release, Nokia Transport (see our earlier hands on video)

Continuing with their geolocation focus for apps, Nokia Transport combines their location-finding abilities with Nokia Maps to deliver an app that helps you navigate around your city's public transit system. The app is simple enough: it detects your location, you enter your destination and it plans your route for you using trains, buses and walking. Those routes are then displayed in a time sequence for the next few hours, letting you better plan when you want to leave, how long your trip will be and when you will arrive.

With a strong, bold Metro look, the app is certainly very stylish and fast to use. Nokia Transport was demoed at Mobile World Congress last month and had been in beta since then with the final version being approved in the last few days for public release. While the app is nice, like other Nokia offerings e.g. Nokia Drive, it lacks contact-lookup which is really frustrating if you want to visit a friend or a saved establishment from your People Hub. In that regard, we still see some room for improvement.

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