Apps

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Instagram (beta) for Windows Phone is now here

Today, Microsoft and Facebook (Burbn) have announced the arrival of the official Instagram app for Windows Phone. It’s been a long time in the making but this is the moment you have all been waiting for.

Announced a few weeks ago in Abu Dhabi during Nokia World, Instagram for Windows Phone has been one of the most coveted and sought after applications for the rapidly growing platform. Constantly cited as the one big “missing apps” for consumers (and being one of the searched for in the Store), Instagram’s arrival has come at an opportune time, seeing as Windows Phone is gaining market share fervently these days.

The service is simple in concept and execution, but it was the right app at the right time. Users simply take photos from their smartphone (or taken live within the app) and can optionally apply a set of retro-filters, giving it a Polaroid-like effect. Users can then post the photo on their timeline within the app (also visible on the web) along with hashtags. By following and being followed, users can build up an audience around those who want a visual experience. Text is minimal as the focus is to let the image tell the story. Images can be cross-posted to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and more.

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Nokia has today released a substantial update to its Nokia Music app available on all Lumia Windows Phones. Not only that, but the company has completely rebranded the service. Say hello to Nokia MixRadio. To celebrate the launch of the software upgrade for its app on Windows Phone, Nokia is also looking to hold an event in New York on November 21st, but you can download the update today.

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Car Starter is a dashboard companion app for your Windows Phone 8 device that can come in handy while driving.  Car Starter’s layout places access to your music, contacts, app shortcuts, maps and more at your fingertips.

Car Starter was recently updated to version 1.5, which adds a few more app and settings shortcut options to the app, the ability to set more than two destinations, and a search assistant in setting destinations.

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Grantophone is one of those Windows Phone apps that may not appeal to everyone but could prove interesting for those who are musically inclined. It is a feature rich musical instrument that is full of expression and creative potential.

Grantophone has been updated several times since we last looked at the music app and after receiving several tips to revisit the app, we are shining the spotlight on it once again.

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Imagine you’re packing for a trip to Paris, France and plan to visit The Louvre (www.louvre.fr) while you’re in the city. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could get more out of the experience with your Windows Phone? That’s exactly what ArtGuru – Louvre does. It’s a companion app, which serves as a guide of sorts for the museum. Tour on pass the break to see what it's all about.

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Here in the United States, Square is a very popular solution for business owners wanting to accept credit and debit cards using their smartphones. They’ve got an app on both Android and iOS, but no love for Windows Phone. Our friends in Russia though just got a very similar app for the platform called LifePay. Let’s check it out.

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Did you know the #1 downloaded app on Windows Phone is Facebook? It is and that’s why all of you clamor for updates to the popular social network, especially the beta version, which sometimes gets features early.

Today, version 5.2.0.2 has gone live in the Store. Unfortunately, there’s nothing too exciting to report in terms of new features that we can discern, but if the (old) changelog still holds, then this is the standard “bug fixes and supports new languages.”

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With only a few days left until the hotly anticipated Xbox One arrives in stores, Microsoft has already unleashed their SmartGlass app for the news system.

SmartGlass, introduced at E3 in 2012, has slowly ramped up as a ‘second-screen’ service, allowing those with smartphones and tablets to augment what is seen on screen. The SmartGlass service is expected to get more robust with the power of Xbox One, and with this app available today, we should be ready for this Friday.

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It’s been over a month since we’ve seen an update for Hipstamatic’s Oggl and Oggl Pro on Windows Phone. The app was notable for many thing. Beyond being its own insular social network, it also allowed for users to “officially” upload images to Instagram on Windows Phone. Initial performance and usability of the app was mediocre, but the Hipstamatic team has been working hard since launch on updates. Today we’re finally getting some more, let’s check them out.

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There are certainly some choices when it comes to navigation apps on Windows Phone. HERE Drive is arguably one of the more popular choices among Windows Phone users, mostly because it’s free. But there are plenty of alternatives in the Store that provide features and functions you won’t get with a free app. We recently compared some of the top navigation apps on Windows Phone, but one of them just got updated today – Navigon. Let’s check out what’s new.

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Let’s put aside a moment the disdain many here have for Google and their products. The fact is, a lot of businesses, companies, organizations and even individuals rely on Gmail for their email service and while Windows Phone supports Google Mail directly, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that Gmail has on the web.

This morning, MetroMail has become available for Windows Phone 8 users. Mind you, this is no web-wrapper, but a native client. We’ve been beta testing it for a few weeks now and indeed, it’s quite a robust app for those who need all the power of Gmail on their Windows Phone.

MetroMail comes from the developer behind MetroTalk, one of the best Google Voice clients for Windows Phone. He’s spent considerable time on the app, making sure it meets all the needs of those who need archiving, labels or stars on their messages.

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Microsoft Research has just released an app for Windows Phone called Office Remote. Its function is entirely in the name of the app. Office Remote gives you power over desktop applications in the Office suite when you’re doing something like a presentation. It’s an app that we should have had from day one on Windows Phone 7, but it’s now here. Let’s check it out.

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WhatsApp, the popular cross-platform messenger, will soon sport the ability for you to easily clear messages in conversations. The beta version of the app (2.11.309) has been bumped with this functionality, showing off exactly what's on the way to the live release.

If you've been holding out for a way to effectively clear messages older than a certain date, without removing the entire conversation then this will be for you.

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Yes, we know it's a crowded field with regards to Windows Phone weather apps with plenty of quality apps to choose from.  However, we ran across a marvelous looking Windows Phone 8 weather app the other day and felt compelled to share.

MoWeather HD is a relatively new weather app and presents things in a very eye appealing fashion. From the weather backgrounds to the animated weather information, MoWeather HD is an attractive app making it stand out in a sea of weather apps.

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Fhotoroom, one of our favorite photo-editing apps for Windows Phone, just got an update to version 9.5. In addition to bug fixes, Fhotoroom adds 2 editing options. You can now play with Invert Tilt Shift and Straighten with your photos. Not sure what they’re for? We have a video to show you how they look, so watch it after the break.

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Nokia Photo Transfer for Mac just got an update, adding support for DNG file transfer. This comes just before the release of the Nokia Lumia 1520, which is the first smartphone to offer raw file output. The photos in lossless DNG (Digital Negative) file format allow you to adjust several things like white balance, contrast, or shadow and highlight levels on your computer without damaging it too much. People who are passionate about photography will have more flexibility editing the DNG files compared to JPEG files.

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People Search is a contact search app that is based off of the T9 system instead of a full-QWERTY keyboard meaning you can easily use it one handed.  In addition, you get a ton of features including customized searches, ability to share contacts, and a QR Tag generator.

People Search was recently updated to version 2.4.31 that separates that Windows Phone 7.x and 8 builds along with a little fine tuning that improve support for 720p devices.  Along with the update, the developer is marking down the price for the weekend.

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LockMix is a feature rich Windows Phone 8 app that allows you to customize your Windows Phone lockscreen to display everything from the weather to stock information to Chuck Norris quotes.

On top of delivering the information to your lockscreen, LockMix also gives you the ability to customize the layout.  You can have widgets of all sizes scattered about your lockscreen providing you with as much or as little information at a glance.

LockMix is an impressive lockscreen app for Windows Phone 8 in a growing faction of the Windows Phone Store.

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