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3 years ago

WPCentral Exclusive Giveaway: Nextgen Reader v2.4--Closed!

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Sorry folks, the contest is now closed!

Here at WPCentral, we're pretty big fans of Nextgen Reader which is billed as "the fastest Google Reader client around" (we tend to agree). That's why we're excited to team up with the developer, NextGsoft, to give it away to all of you for $0 for the next 36 hours.

That's right, normally this highly rated app fetches for a $1.99, but for the next day and a half you can get it for nothing at all. The app hit v2.0 back in September with Mango support (see our video review) and since then it has received numerous updates, including version 2.4 which just went live in the Marketplace today. That version brings a bunch of new features and fixes to the table:

  • Live tiles now support images.
  • New manage sources hub with search, add, rename and delete feeds/folder.
  • Improved scrolling in article view.
  • Pin tiles easily to start screen from manage sources hub.
  • Added change password/account option.
  • Improved sharing page.
  • Bug fix: save post title in read it later.
  • Bug fix: support for Japanese font.
  • Bug fix: better support for multiple YouTube videos in article.
  • Many other improvements and bug fixes.

So how do you get the app for not a single penny? You just have to do the following steps to get an unlock code:

  1. reTweet this story and/or follow Nextgen Reader on Twitter (or both!)
  2. OR do the "Like" thing on Facebook
  3. THEN Fill out this form for your registration key and you're good to go (the key will be emailed to you within the week which will unlock the Trial)

From WPCentral and NextGsoft, enjoy your free Google RSS client! Grab the trial of Nextgen Reader version 2.4 here in the Marketplace and read more at the Nextgen Reader site for details on the update.

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3 years ago

Regional settings and clicking a number to call in IE9

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Dialing numbers listed on websites is supposed to be an easy task on Windows Phone. The OS basically highlights the numbers (like a hyperlink) and when you tap them, you get the standard "Edit phone number" screen and the option to call said number. The system is based on detecting sets of 7,10 or 11 numbers with their appropriate hyphens, periods, etc.

Interestingly, some folks at XDA have discovered that this seemingly only works for US devices. More specifically, devices who's 'Region format' settings under 'Region + language' are set for English (United States). Even folks in Canada evidently have this issue which is odd, to say the least.

We tried the list of numbers found in this post at XDA with our US region settings and they all worked fine except for the last number--just as expected. When we switched to Estonia (and rebooted) those numbers were now un-clickable just as others are reporting.

We're hesitant to call this a 'bug' because for all we know Microsoft did this on purpose for some strange reason. Still, if you want this function, you can head to Settings --> Region + Language --> Region Format and change that to English (United States) to get it to work for now as a workaround. And Microsoft, if this isn't on purpose then you may want to fix it for future updates, kthxbai!  As noted in comments, this is actually advertised as a US-only feature by Microsoft so if you want it, you'll have to use the above trick to get it.

Source: XDA; Thanks, James, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Study: Apps not that important to smartphone users

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We've seen the headlines, we've heard the pundits (looking at you, Scoble) that tout apps as the "big" thing on smartphones. And while initially this may hold true for new users, the novelty wears off, or so suggests a new study by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

In that study, 68% of users only use five or fewer apps at least once a week. Furthermore, 17% don't use any apps on a regular basis while only 42% of respondents even have apps on their phones. Those are certainly interesting numbers and what it suggests is people are downloading lots of apps but rarely use them on a regular basis. In fact, we hear this often from developers who don't get many ad-hits in their apps after a few weeks despite seemingly large numbers of downloads. Speaking of, the study also points out that judging an app's popularity by number of downloads alone is probably not a good metric (though app reviews and number of them may be).

In other interesting stats from Nielsen, Android users spend about 90 minutes a day on their phones, two-thirds of that time in apps (probably customizing their UI, just kidding). That suggest that even though few use many apps, the ones they do use, they use often and on a regular basis.

While no numbers are revealed for Windows Phone users, it will be even more interesting for our users since things like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are baked into the OS, reducing the number of popular services that people need to download separate apps for. That will only increase if Microsoft continues, as expected, to bake in other services as the OS grows and updates roll out. This of course makes us ask the question: Do you fit this model or are you folks app-fiends? (We're also pretty sure games don't count as apps for the purposes of this study).

Let us know in comments....

via USA Today; Thanks Mark W. and ZX9, for the tips

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3 years ago

Nokia Collection being added to the Windows Phone Marketplace

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For some the Nokia Collection area of the Marketplace has been featuring all of the OEM apps available for Windows Phone (much like HTC, Samsung, LG, etc. have on their handsets), but for others this collection of apps has been missing since the Lumia handsets have been released. 

We've had the Nokia Collection missing from our European handsets, but our U.S. colleagues have had access to the collection. Our Jay Bennett has just noticed the additional menu entry just above 'applications' (see above screenshots) being made available, but I still can't see anything on the Lumia 710 (unlocked) or 800 (unlocked and carrier locked). Though the Nokia apps can be found via Marketplace search, should a reinstallation be required.

Let us know if you're able to access the Nokia Collection on your Nokia Windows Phone in the comments.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Sports Now

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3 years ago

My Starbucks Card hits the Windows Phone Marketplace

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My Starbucks Card is a new app over at the Windows Phone Marketplace that lets you use your Starbucks card right from your Windows Phone. No need to fumble around for the card, just run My Starbucks Card and your card can be scanned straight from your Windows Phone.

When you first launch My Starbucks Card you will be prompted to enter your card number and Starbucks.com credentials. A virtual card will be generated on My Starbucks Card's main screen and the app will even pull up your current balance.  

While My Starbucks Card isn't an "official" Starbucks app, it does looks like it would come in handy if you are a Starbuck's frequent flyer. The app will run you $.99 and you can grab it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

From the WPCentral Forums...

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From the WPCentral Forums...

Who would of thought that one of the most talked about topics of the week in the WPCentral forums would be Google? If you don't know what I am talking about check out this from our front page: Google is watching every step you take. I started this thread: "Google... It's over for me" wanting to know if I was the only one but the answer seams to be that I am not alone. What is it all about? You will just have to read the thread. Once you have absorbed all of that you might want to know how to Switch from Gmail to Hotmail in three steps. What are the advantages? This thread has some helpful information that might answer some of your questions: "Any reason to switch to a live account instead of Gmail?"

Forums member SebLC wants you to know "Metro is not just a pretty face for Microsoft" resulting in an interesting discussion about our favorite design philosophy.

We told you we have a Meta forums for announcements and we made one today "Ranking stars change", so check that out for the latest on forum rankings.

It has been a slow week for Windows Phone--call it the calm before the Mobile World Congress (MWC) storm--but that didn't slow down our developers any. We have a fresh new batch of Apps and Games in our Application and Games Spotlight Forums. Here is a sampling of what has been posted this week:

Applications Spotlight:

Games Spotlight:

Remember the forums are more fun when you register, so sign up today!

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3 years ago

TripAdvisor gets a Mango makeover in latest update for Windows Phone

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For those who travel a lot, the official TripAdvisor app seems like one of those things that you would want to have on your Windows Phone. Providing info on hotels, restaurants, reviews, detailed descriptions and the ability to dial directly, the app in theory is great. In reality, the previous version received many complaints and it maintained a low 2.5 stars out of 100 reviews.

But anyone can turn things around and TripAdvisor has done that with version 2.0--a major overhaul of the app itself in terms of functions and UI. The new UI is very Metro influenced and looks great in addition to being very smooth with transitions and data loading. We've been playing around with it for the last hour and we think it's a keeper. Kudos to the TripAdvisor devs for making a solid app update.

Pick up TripAdvisor for free here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Steve F., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft's Ben Rudolph curing "Droidrage" with 20 free Windows phones

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Following what looks to be a massive adware outbreak on the Android marketplace, Microsoft's Ben Rudolph is looking to ease the pain of 20 affected users by giving them free Windows phones.  Rudolph asked what may be 5 million victims to share their stories via Twitter today, in hopes that their "Droidrage" might be cured.  Those who have the best stories (or worst, depending on how you look at it), will receive one of the 20 devices.  It's not clear what kind of phone winners will receive, but hey, a free WP7 phone is a free WP7 phone!

Microsoft has been pretty keen on these light-hearted promotions, pitting Windows Phone up against other mobile operating systems.  This is the second time that Android users have received such an offer, the first being back in December, when a smaller malware outbreak occurred.  And at CES, Ben Rudolph was challenging attendees to speed tests in the "Smoked by Windows Phone," which may even become a traveling affair.

Source: Ben Rudolph (Twitter)

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3 years ago

Nokia's 'The Amazing Everyday' in Austria

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Nokia Austria is attacking the public with effective marketing and dominant advertising with "The Amazing Everyday". From covering trams in Lumia advertisement material, to handing out small packages containing food. The video montage illustrates how the manufacturer is working with retailers to set up stands and ensure the Lumia handsets are getting maximum exposure.

The Nokia Arch also makes a return in a shopping centre, sporting interactive demos. An interesting video that's well worth checking out.

Source: YouTubethanks, Ellis, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Microsoft: Windows Phone 8 will run all your old Windows Phone 7 apps

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In response to circulating rumors regarding Windows Phone 8's lack of application backwards compatibility, Microsoft's Brandon Watson -- Director of Developer Experience -- confirmed today that the upcoming OS revision will run older Windows Phone 7 applications. Yep, that means Sally's Salon will port over just fine.

But from a technical perspective, how existing apps will work unmodified is fuzzy. For example, if the new resolution rumors pan out, should we expect some sort of zooming functionality akin to Apple's iPad (running iPhone applications)? And what about those awesome premium apps (e.g. Youtube, Tango, Navigon) with native hooks into the underlying OS? We presume everyone using native code is on Windows Phone for the long haul, but it's worth asking.

Anyway, stay tuned. We expect both Windows Phone "Tango" and "Apollo" to be detailed at Mobile World Congress next month. Rest assured we'll have feet -- at least Daniel Rubino's -- on the ground providing updates.

Source: WinSuperSite

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3 years ago

ESRB game ratings start to appear in Windows Phone Marketplace

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The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) recently launched an initiative to expand their converge to mobile games. Meant as a guide for parents, the system boasts that familiar "Rated E for Everyone" slogan we hear during TV commercials for PC and console games. Whether you agree with it or not, it is a system (albeit arbitrary) that serves as a framework for keeping parents in the know.

Microsoft signed up for the mobile ESRB system while interestingly Google and Apple have both skipped out. Now, we're finally seeing the first rollout as a few games are receiving their "E for everyone" stamp in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Our only concern is that this is one more hoop for Xbox LIVE developers to jump through to get their games approved thereby potentially slowing down the process of publishing. So far, we've seen Angry Birds and the indie game MathZia Free with the ratings being displayed.

So why are Apple and Google eschewing such a system? Mostly because they already have age-restricted controls for parents in the Marketplace that can serve as a cutoff. Devs supply info for "ratings" when their app is submitted and that is what qualifies the app for age requirements. In other words, it's self policing and both companies seem okay with that method. The ESRB is an outside, independent board that "parents can trust" but it too relies on devs filling out "a detailed questionnaire" which then results in an automated rating. The big gaming titles are fully reviewed by the ESRB while smaller titles are left up to self-policing, making it an analogous system to what Apple and Android already have. Granted, if a game receives complaints the ESRB will investigate and review the game in question, but for the most part it is based on the honor system.

Personally, we'd rather see Microsoft implement their own system with age-restrictions so that parents can be best served and adults could get more "mature" games on our platform. Because right now, the ESRB-mobile rating system seems to confirm what we know: Microsoft will only allow "E for Everyone" type games on the Marketplace and that to us is an unnecessary limitation (we're looking at you, "green blood"). [Evidently, Twin Blades is now "T for Teen" though we're not confident that games with red blood and/or "M for Mature" will be allowed on the Marketplace]

Additional ESRB-mobile information via GigaOm; Thanks, jc_agga, for the Angry Birds tip

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia Windows Phone launch party in Prague [Video]

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Taking note of a number of Lumia 800 launch parties occurring across the world, the Czech Republic has joined in with Nokia putting on a show in Prague on January 26th to celebrate the launch of the 710 and 800 (February 1st). Two hundred journalists, developers and devoted fans were selected for the event, which featured a number of cool presentations and gimmicks.

From Windows Phone cakes to a water-rippling Lumia 800 floor projection, it looked like a unique experience to say the least. Nokia also began advertising the 710 and 800 in Prague (and beyond) as can be seen in the below photo, taken by Martin Suchan in a subway. 

Source: YouTube, @MartinSuchanthanks Thomas for the tip and video!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Bubble Eyes

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XIMAD has a new Windows Phone game over at the Marketplace. Bubble Eyes is a chain reaction, puzzle game that is well animated and rather challenging.

The goal is to remove all the eyes from the playing field within the allotted moves or touches. The fewer the touches, the higher the score. Bubble Eyes has Scoreloop integration to manage the online leaderboard and has two game modes, Arcade and Challenge. Plenty of gaming to keep you entertained.

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