We've had quite a few updates to some major apps today, so lets recap on what we got, shall we?
First up is Netflix, gets bumped to version 1.5. Is this the big Mango update with tons of cool new features that we've been hoping for? Nope. Just a plain Jane "bug fixes" update with nothing new, as far as we can tell. Find something we missed? Let us know in comments. Pick up v1.5 here in the Marketplace.
Next is MSN Movies. A nice freebie app from Microsoft that for some reason has ads (how tacky for a MS app, sorry), this baby though got a nice Mango update today. Hooray! So you get some fast-app switching and the ability to pin movies (but not theaters?) to your start menu. This is actually a pretty nice, minimalist movie show times app with trailers and movie news on board too, so it's worth checking out. Give v1.3 a spin here in the Marketplace.
USA Today goes Mango! Yes, one of the most popular apps on Windows Phone, USA Today finally gets fast app switching, double live tile (with weather on the backside now, just like they promised) and the ability to pin the sub-sections Pictures, Sports and Celebrities to your start menu. An already beautiful app gets even better, though we now have too many weather apps on our Start screen! Get your US and World news right here with v1.5 in the Marketplace.
And finally, Xbox LIVE Extras goes to v7.2. No new features are on board as far as we can tell, though we imagine this goes a long way in fixing a bug some of you reported to us, namely it erasing your avatar if you modified it. Ouch. Hopefully that's fixed now. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.
The other day, we demoed Justin Angel's proof-of-concept Pandora Radio app for Windows Phone. The concept was meant to show that Pandora's system and formats were extremely compatible with Windows Phone and that there's little reason for them to not release an app.
Since we have no final word on if Pandora is bringing an official player to Windows Phone (or anytime soon), Justin has evidently heeded the call of many who asked: He'll release his own Pandora app.
That's good news for us, especially since Angel is more than a competent developer--just give his United Nations News (video) or Neurons (video) apps a spin to get an idea of his excellent work. Speaking of...where are those Mango updates, Justin? :-P
NAVIGON hit the Windows Phone Marketplace a few days ago with mixed reactions. Some felt the navigational app was a really nice addition to the Marketplace while others were hesitant on the price. Some felt that having an option to download specific maps might help take the bite out of the hefty price tag.
Speaking of which, let me break the news to you right out of the gate in case you've missed it. The $29.99 price tag for the U.S. version of NAVIGON is an introductory price. After November 15, 2011 the price jumps up to $49.99. European introductory pricing is set at 59.49 Euros until November 15th and then the price jumps to 84.99 Euros.
With the price being amongst the highest for a Windows Phone app, it's natural to ask "Is it worth it?". Especially when lower priced alternatives are out there that can navigate you around town pretty darn well in their own right.
Over the past few days, we took NAVIGON out for a test drive and ease on past the break to see how things measured up. See if that $29.99 (soon to be $49.99) is a deal or a steal.
In the world of job hunting, producing an effective curriculum vitae (CV) aka resume for you yanks, is your best chance to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Uploading the finished document to job sites, attaching it to cover letters and more are just a number of ways to branch out and increase reach for yourself. We've now come across a different approach to publishing your CV to the mass. MonWindowsPhone has found a French CV for Thibaut Legendre in the Marketplace, which is reportedly the second app of its kind internationally.
While it may be different, original, available to thousands as a download and stand out, is the Marketplace really the place for CVs to be published? I'm not sure, probably not. It's the same principle as spam and useless apps. Even though this kind of app is genuine, there's little to no functionality and purpose for the average user. Should a trend kick off where we end up with thousands of CVs on the Marketplace, would we all be smiling?
I pass the question onto you, would you like to see a number of CV apps on the Marketplace? I'm thinking of charging £1.99 to download mine, should I develop one.
Boryana Miloshevska, over at WindowsPhoneGeek, has published an ebook today that covers Silverlight development for Windows Phone 7.5. The book itself contains 246 pages separated into 22 chapters. Full source code is available and the book contains all the controls from the Windows Phone Toolkit, plus it's up-to-date with Mango. Developers who are looking to start out with Silverlight on Windows Phone should definitely check this free resource out.
Check out the list of chapters and download links after the break.
Even though Navigon's Windows Phone app, NAVIGON, and the NAVIGON Traffic4all app are already available over at the Marketplace, we've received official notice from Navigon on the release of these two apps. Even though the release is dated yesterday and there's not much new in the press release, there is one little blurb about pricing we thought was important enough to follow up on.
According to the press release, the $29.99 price tag on the U.S. version of NAVIGON is an introductory price. The introductory price will run until 11/15/2011 when the price will jump to $49.99. We are trying to get clarification from Navigon if the $69.99 price for the European version is discounted as well.
As we mentioned earlier, the Traffic4All is a free, ad-supported app or you can pay $1.49 to remove the ads.
We're still working on a full review of NAVIGON and should have that posted in the next day or so. We'll try to give you a better picture on how good or bad NAVIGON performs plus how it compares to a few other navigation apps that are available for your Windows Phone.
In the meantime, you can find the U.S. version of NAVIGONhere in the Windows Phone Marketplace, the European version of NAVIGONhere and NAVIGONTraffic4allhere in the Marketplace. You can read the full presser from Navigon after the break.
Update: Just got tipped by Antonino over at Plaffo.com that the European pricing is an introductory offer as well. Up until 11/15/2011 the price for the European version will be 59.49 Euros. After the 15th, the price jumps to 84.99 Euros.
Although we're note exactly hearing anyone clamoring for an Acer Windows Phone, at least not with the reported specs that the Allegro has on board, it's still nice to see a low to mid range offering for those in the market.
TelecomPaper is reporting that the Acer Allegro is set to go on sale in Europe this holiday season (think Christmas) for EUR 299, which ain't exactly cheap for Europe, it isn't too bad either.
We're guessing that the Allegro is simply the W4, a device we've seen making a few appearances here and there. To refresh, the W4/Allegro has the following specs:
3.6-inch WVGA Capacitive screen,
Screen Resolution: 480×800
5mp Camera with auto-focus.
HSPA 850/1900 or 900/2100 /GSM quad band 850/900/ 1800/ 1900 MHz Support.
Qualcomm MSM 8255 running at 1GHz (same processor as in the Xperia Play)
Wifi, Bluetooth 2.1
Windows Phone Mango
So it's basically a Mango phone with Gen 1 features. Not bad, not great. Thanks, TheWeeBear, for the heads up!
Although we have Navigon, INRIX, Garmin and a host of other navigation/traffic apps out there, Waze is still one of those that many are waiting for to hit Windows Phone. For those who forgot, Waze is a combo GPS, social-network and traffic app that relies on use-interaction for live, up to date traffic data. With 4.5 million users, especially on the iPhone, it's become quite the app to have for those who do the daily commute.
But we'll be honest, while this is a noble attempt, it is a bit rough to use with some rough scrolling and controls that are a bit awkward. In fact, there is quite the list of known issues and limitations. Still, if you have a developer unlocked device and want to give it a shot, simply download the latest XAP file and give it a go and we should give the developer, Meir Tsvi, some slack as he's doing this on his own time (and it is Mango-ready). Perhaps we'll revisit this after a few more builds to see how it has progressed? Oh and don't let the above screen shots fool you, it works in English.
Go here for more info and to grab the XAP. Thanks, Amir, for the heads up!
Although AT&Ts Mango update program has generally been quite successful, there are a few missing pieces: Samsung Focus v1.4, the Dell Venue Pro and the HTC HD7S are still missing.
Looks like that last one, the HD7S, may be getting Mango slightly sooner than expected. The original leaked plans aimed for an end of October ETA, but now it seems they may have wrapped up testing earlier than expected. WinRumors received an internal AT&T letter stating that the Mango update for the 4.3" screen device should be starting today.
"On October 11, 2011, Microsoft is scheduled to begin rolling out the new Mango 7720 update to AT&T customers with existing HTC HD7S Windows Phone 7 devices. The update supports the same enhancements that began rolling out to AT&T customers using HTC Surround, LG Quantum, and Samsung Focus devices in late September."
Going to the official Windows Phone support page, we see in fact that the HD7S is in "scheduling" meaning a switch to "delivering" is easily done. However, the Focus v1.4 is still in testing and the Dell Venue Pro...well...
"The HTC HD7S is currently Scheduling, while the Samsung Focus v. 1.4 is Testing and the Dell Venue Pro is in Planning."
Hit us up if and when you get your official update. Heck, our own George Ponder will be flashing his ASAP.
Welcome to the summary of the week, folks! Apologies for the late coming, unfortunately the British rail network let me down over the weekend and I was left stranded in Chatham, Kent, without phone and laptop chargers. Spending a good 24 hours with little Internet access was no fun, but I digress. Kicking off this summary we have episode 126 of the wpcentral Podcast and our Dave is back with what you could be missing out on over at our Windows Phone forum. Head on past the break for the full run down.
Apple is continuing the patent war with a new updated entry of the "In-App Purchasing" application they filed back in April of 2010. This update appears to cover most functionality of present app stores that allow the user to purchase additional content within an app. What's more is the patent also covers variations on the process, including the use of HTML 5 web apps.
Let's not forget that the previous Apple trademark injunction against Amazon for "App Store" was declined due to being too broad of a term. Is in-app purchasing really something that Apple patent? What do you guys think?
NAVIGON has landed in the Marketplace and boasts to transform your Windows Phone into a fully functional mobile navigation system. A system every bit as good as a personal navigation device.
We'll be taking NAVIGON out for a test drive over the next few days but here's what we know. It's a HUGE download. 1.6GB for the US version and 2.3GB for the Europe version.
When you buy the $29.99 app ($69.99 for Europe) from the Marketplace you only install the shell of the app. When you first launch NAVIGON, you are prompted that additional files are required and due to the size you'll need to connect to a Wifi Network or your computer. Once you hit the download confirmation, sit back, relax, have a snack and watch the progress meter move along ever so slowly.
Hit the break for more information on the latest Windows Phone navigation app and a video short take on NAVIGON.
We previously covered the contest Nokia was holding for an updated version of their well known ring tone. It has been altered in the past, but the winning tune for this competition has taken the ring tone, added some dub and a bit of step (gettin' down with the kids), and produced a constructed-reality-alternating mix, which is guaranteed to either blow your ears off should your headphones be on with the volume up, or freak out nearby passengers on public transport.
Valerio Alessandro Sizzi, an Italian DJ, is the brains and creativity behind the new tone that is sure to send him straight through the popularity chambers. This 24-second version of the iconic ringtone will be loaded onto 100 million handsets, which will be shipped globally. Valerio has earned $10,000 in prize money, has beat 6,200 other entries and won the minds of the seven judges.
The panel of judges included Kai Bronner, one of the founders of Audio Branding Academy; Julian Treasure, known for his TED talks and author of "Sound Business"; and Mark Dewings, head of Brand & Marketing Communications at SoundCloud. Nokia’s own SVP of Design, Marko Ahtisaari, was also on the jury.
"I never expected my version to be so popular and to be highly rated by Nokia, but hey! Nice surprise. I made a dubstep version of the Nokia Tune because the style has become massively popular during the last two years. I just thought that a sparkling, cool version of the Nokia Tune would attract young customers."
Yes, NAVIGON is having a big day today. They've released their famous GPS mapping software to the masses and we'll have our video/hands on up in a few. Until then, you can grab their ad-supported Traffic4All app in the Marketplace (or pay $1.49 for no ads).
The app is powered by INRIX, of which we already have a free version in the Marketplace. So why use Traffic4All? Dare we say it's much better than INRIX's attempt--you're getting NAVIGON's maps, INRIX's traffic info and the layout is much more smooth and easier to manage.
We really dig the forecast option, or more specifically, how it's implemented. Scrolling is also nice and smooth and the options seem top notch. Full feature list:
List view, arranged by distance to traffic congestion, plus display of report date and reliability
Traffic density forecasts based on data records
One-click function to reveal or hide disturbances shown on the map
Map zoom option
Map view in portrait and landscape format
“Current traffic density” – icon to report incorrect route colouring
Advertising-free version available to purchase
Languages: German, English, French, Dutch
Coverage: most of Europe + USA + Canada
We really like this app so far and are looking forward to putting it through some tests. Until the, pick it up here in the Marketplace.