BBC News Mobile for Windows Phone, developed by Lawrence Gripper, is a highly rated app that absorbs all the headlines from BBC's news division and presents it in an aesthetically pleasing interface. We've continuously praised the work that Lawrence has poured into the project, but he's showing no signs of halting anytime soon. Version 4 is well on its way.
So what's new in version 4? Well, it's probably easier to ask, "What isn't new?" as the app has been completely re-written from the ground up. Lawrence states on his personal blog that the code utilised in the current version of BBC News Mobile is two years-old, which takes us back to the launch of Windows Phone itself - fairly old ones and zeros indeed.
Since the app is built from scratch, Lawrence has been able to improve stability, performance, compatibility (with Windows Phone 8) and the overall experience without working on old code and simply implementing fixes. We've taken the beta for a spin (it's available on the blog) and immediately noticed performance improvements, which are warmly welcomed with the increased specifications of Windows Phone 8 hardware.
Speaking of Windows Phone 8, BBC News Mobile version 4 supports both wide and medium Live Tiles that present relevant information to the user, not to mention lock screen wallpaper integration for photos from the BBC photo blog to be pulled down and applied as daily wallpapers. While the app is well on its way, it's not complete and there's still a few miles of mountain left to climb, but what we've seen so far is exciting indeed.
So what's missing from the current beta?
- Offline reading mode
- Next and previous story buttons when reading story
- Share story
- Secondary live tiles for sections
As well as the above, Lawrence plans to implement a welcome experience, which is expected to be in the form of a walkthrough to help new users in setting up Live Tiles, lock screen wallpapers, feeds, as well as configuring other options. It's going to be a superb version of BBC News Mobile for Windows Phone 8. Check out our quick visual walkthrough below:
You can download the current version of BBC News Mobile from the Windows Phone Store for free, and the beta XAP for the upcoming release is available over on Lawrence's development blog (note you'll require a developer unlocked handset). We expect the new version to be released in due course.