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The Official Windows Phone Central app for Windows 8.1 is now available

Today I’m experiencing the wide variety of emotions that comes with launching a new app into any store. I’m thrilled that we’re finally able to share it with you, exhausted from all the time spent getting the underlying code functional and incredibly nervous about how it will be received and whether there will be any major bugs!

So with all of that in mind I’m very proud to present to you the official Windows Phone Central app for Windows 8.1, version 1.0 of hopefully many! Windows store apps can take up to 24 hours to show up in search results but you can find our app ready to download right now right here! If you want to go and grab it then come back and read this article please do, but I’ve got a lot to share with you so make sure you come back!

Introducing Windows Phone Central for Windows 8.1

Welcome to our new large screen news reading experience. We’ve developed this app from the ground up for Windows 8.1 for users of touch screen Windows 8 or RT devices, that being said it will work for those of you who prefer viewing on a traditional PC or Laptop as we’ve been sure to support mouse scrolling and button presses for all actions. We've tested the app on as many devices as we could get our hands on so hopefully you'll find a good experience on all screens and all sizes.

Whilst we’ve not reached feature parity with our long running Windows Phone app, a lot of the core experience you’ll find is ready to go, and of course we’ll be adding new features over time to bring the app up to the high standard we know you all set for us. For now, here are the features you’ll find when you pick up the app today:

  • Live tile with all size options available
  • Rich front page reading experience
  • Portrait and landscape support for every page
  • Full article viewing with inline images and tap-able links
  • Swipe left and right to move seamlessly between articles
  • Swipe up from any article to read and reply to comments
  • Share articles with your favourite apps
  • Light and Dark themes available in the app’s settings
  • Watch YouTube videos (currently through the website)
  • Full screen image viewer with the option to save images to your library
  • Section pages allowing you to look back over the last 100 articles in each category
  • Search experience with quick list view then the ability to view each article in the full viewer
  • Offline caching of news: load the news once on WiFi then read through it later when you’re out of signal

We know that there are far more features in the Windows Phone app but with a little time we hope to add in all the awesome suggestions we’re bound to receive from you all. And we hope you won’t begrudge us any missing features for now, as we’re offering this app free.

Going Free

As recently discussed on our site, we are aware that the landscape has changed significantly since we first released our Windows Phone app, so we’re going to be trying out offering our Windows 8 app free with advertisements in-line with the content. The placement and frequency of these adverts is not finalized and may well increase or decrease in the coming months, but with so much screen space it was much easier to include adverts in a way that didn’t interfere with the experience.

As we also now have in app purchases available (something that was not possible when we released our phone app) we plan on offering some form on in-app purchase to remove the adverts in the future. Right now that will not be possible whilst we get a feel for how effective adverts are on the Windows 8 platform.

We are also discussing our Windows Phone app’s strategy going forward, in the meantime I would like to remind you that we offer a free version of our phone app with banner adverts that will never expire, just tap “trial”.

Feedback & Bugs

We love your feedback, especially when it’s constructive and gives us ideas for tweaks or new experiences we can deliver to you. We’ve created a dedicated forum just for supporting this app which you can find here, (there’s also a link in the app’s settings) and we can’t wait to engage with you there.

We also know there are going to be lots of bugs in this first release (there's already several we know about but weren't quite important enough to wait on shipping the app) that you find in the next few weeks. There's a light version of my WPClogger ready to report any critical ones but you can submit any others through the forum. I'll be working hard to clear up any major issues with the app in order of importance. We were expecting to run a beta of this app but unfortunately Microsoft do not allow any betas on the Windows Store - public or private - so instead we've polished up the features we have right now so we could get something into your hands.

Finally, I want to personally thank everyone for your interest in this app over the past year, your passion has been demanding and somewhat daunting at times (I’ve thrown out the entire source for this app and restarted twice in the past year), yet it’s been a wonderful experience to hear how much everyone wanted to see a Windows 8 version of a project I’m immensely proud of.

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Reader comments

The Official Windows Phone Central app for Windows 8.1 is now available

400 Comments

Awesome stuff! Much respect Jay! Unfortunately I can't test it on my Surface RT as I forgot it at my moms house :'( But, my desktop will do fine for now! Will try it out inmediately!

Yeah Jay is awesome I'm in the camp of paying this man for his work. So as soon as a paid version comes out count me in

1. Congratulations to Jay!
2. Willing to pay/donate right now (need a donate button!)
3. Willing to pay even more for a no ads version!
4. Suggestion : Searching for 'WPCentral' on Windows Store does NOT bring this apps listing, Jay may want to add appropriate keywords to make sure the official apps gets listed when searching for 'WPCentral'

As we said in the post, it can take another 24 hours for our app to appear in searches. Trust me "wpcentral" is one of our keywords :)

Excellent work, I have no problem paying a couple of bucks for an app I plan to use more than a couple of times. Any plans to put a paid version too?

We need a WiFi/Bluetooth app! Tired of all the clicks I have to do just to turn on Bluetooth and connect. Hook us up, Jay! I'll throw cash at that damn app!

Great work but I'm not sure I like the design, esp. the colors . The shark pink is a bit to over bearing, it makes it look like some teen girl magazine . Perhaps a little bit of blue could have have been added to even it out ?

We wanted to go bold with our branding initially, but we do plan on allowing you to customise the app's theme colour in the future

i like the pink, the app looks amazing.

btw, one thing i notice is that while viewing the comments in vertical view, ots hard to scroll with my left thumb, when replying to a post, the text will disapear off the screen once you reach the roght edge of the box and will not show the text wrapping. also, when posting, the on-screen keyboard remains displayed, must hit the up button on the top left of the keyboard to start from the top and remove onscreen keyboard.

So glad to have your app on my 8.1

Yeah you can't scroll with your left thumb because that hit area is the swipe to go back up to the article, I'll see if I can change that.

As for the comments in vertical, I noticed that too (although after I submitted the app unfortunately!) and will make sure to resolve it in the first patch

Whoo! Will be giving it a try as soon as I can. This is one of the best apps on windows phone and will be one of the best apps on windows 8

Tell me about it, I wasn't expecting to see that for this thread! I didn't make it to the Windows Store screenshots though :-(

Just shut down my Surface. Thanks for your continued support, Jay! Where's the "Donate to WPC" button??? I'd love to contribute :-)

Jay? First, thank you for the diligence in banging this out one. Long awaited for sure.  Question, when I read one of the more excellent articles on WP Central, I expect to return to where I left in the list but it drops back to the front page every time.  Is that how it supposed function or am I doing something wrong?

LOL! But seriously, that would be awesome. But submitting to the Xbox store isn't very easy, especially for apps that aren't "entertainment" and gaming.

Thank you Jay!! This is excellent and I know none of us can wait to watch this app grow as we watched the Windows Phone app become what it is!

Good job Jay! Love your work. One of the best WP devs OVERALL in terms of quality...

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Yeah, they mentioned previously that they sat down with Microsoft and talked about the design, worked very well!

haha yes strange live tile is updating , now suddenly the app asked me to send an email to mobile nation with some logs(bugs/errors) , so i did hoping for a quick reply from the team :)

Have been waiting for this app for so long! Writing this message from the app, its fast and well made - just one issue, too pink for my taste :) Hopefully it will be theme based in future (or at least color choice)

Great job! Love what you did with comments, much easier to see who replied to you. WP app needs that too.

Ummm..i have a problem. I just installed the app but get "network error, there was a problem retrieving 5 of the news feeds." my internet is fine by the way. Can anyone help me out?

Well people... It's time to pop the champagne... YAY!!! You did it! Congratulatios Jay. I'm looking forward to the many hours I'll spend using your app.

So, pop dem bottles and toast with me, don't let me get drunk by myself.

But seriously, congrats!

-SERGIO

I love, love, love it...so much so I paid the 99 cents for the mobile version! WPC app is visited several times a day on the desktop, my 2520 and my 1520.

as long as i can not increase the font size, i can not read the terribly small text.  at least in the web site i can pinch to zoom and see something... i removed thevapp and will continue to read wpcentral daily on the web.  learn from weave: let the user choose font size!!!!!

1.0, dude! We have plenty of things to add and improve in the coming months! (And technically this is a beta, but the Windows Store doesn't allow public betas, so it's '1.0')

Not good enough. I need the font size X5 larger then what the app called "use large fonts in articles". Weave has much larger fonts and not only in articles. In the web version I can zoom to huge fonts

As Dan points out we do have the option to pinch to zoom font size in the Windows Phone app, and we will be having custom font sizes in the Windows 8 app in a future update. In the meantime as you say, I guess the app is not for you

Why not try pinch zooming in the WP app and see what happens to the text size? Also, try writing some software some time so you can get a little concept of what it takes for even simple programs. Better yet, just write a better one, if you can.

1. there is no ability to pinch zoom an app in win 8.1 nor in win phone 8.
2. I am a programmer over 35 years, before there were pc's in the world... I expect software to get better and have more options as technology advances, not the opposite.
3. Hey - some suggestions and ideas for improvements are not a negative thing, but wishful thinking for a better future.

first i want to appologize if my "unmannered" comments have offended anyone.  my intention was to suggest an idea that will enable many more people to enjoy your wonderful articles, not to make anyone angry...

if all you wanted was to get a zillion wows and praises for yhe new app, then you got it.  i thought constructive critisizm is more helpful, and i never expacted you to implement my suggestion immediatly or in any rushed priority...

regarding pinch to zoom text - you are right - i checked and realized that since in my settings the font was set to large, pinch to zoom did not do anything sice it was zoomed already to the max.  pinch to squeeze did work...

someone suggested double tap with two fingers but that is a terrible way to read since the text does not re-wrap and you need to constantly scroll sideways in order to read...

 

Also, if you need actual zoom and have a Nokia phone, you can enable that in the settings, two finger tap and scroll.

I've been on a beta for a Win8/RT app which didn't use the store. Is there a reason this other option wasn't used?

We aren't aware of any beta programs that work well with Windows 8 as they often require dodgy sideloading of apps. But would welcome hearing about the one you mention

Awesome, now i don't have to pull out my phone when reading WPCentral news while using my tablet.

I'm very happy right now. Aside from Weave, this was one of my most anticipated apps for Windows 8. Thank you Jay and to the whole WPCentral team for what you do.

Very nice! Great work! Two things, however.

Given Windows' Metro design language, I'm curious as to the reasoning behind using serifs for the articles and titles. I know the New York Times app does this (and Facebook's testing this approach), but why not use serifs just for the titles and headers, then sans serifs for the body text? The whole article in a serif font seems a bit much. When I compare reading on the NYT app with this, the serif is a bit jarring to me.

And I kept clicking on photos in articles to enlarge them to no avail. Obviously the WP8 app does this, but I'm just mentioning that it's an odd transition to make when coming from the one app to another to think "oh, this doesn't behave the same way as the phone app." I know the link is there at the end to view images, but just something that struck me right off the bat. I'm pretty sure you know this though as the article addresses the fact there are differences in features between the two apps.

Just my two cents. Minor nitpicking aside, fantastic job!

I agree about the serifs. First thing I did was go into settings to change the font (which doesn't exist yet). But I was able to change the theme to light.

As far as clicking on images, I did the same thing as you. I guess when we're raised to do something... I actually hope this app one-ups the WP version and allows clicking on images and then being able to swipe through all of them, instead of just the one clicked on. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Another thing I'm noticing while typing this response-comment using the app ( on my DV8P in portrait): the text box cuts off the last 30 or so characters from each line of text I type. (so if there's any mispellings or weird things happening, I can't see them.

In theory the font styling is consistent with Microsoft's recommendations for reading long text on Windows 8, so I followed their conventions. I suspect I'll make that customisable at some point though

I think it looks terrific. Supposedly serifed fonts are easier on the eyes for long passages so if the resolution is high enough to support them it seems to be a good functional choice. "Metro" and "authentically digital" don't mean monolithic and compromising and you show that here, Jay.

was thinking the same thing.. especially on the main screen it doesn't look metro to me.. but if microsoft says it is, then it probably is. ;)

A bit buggy as mentioned, but I have no doubts the app will get regular fixes and additions. Great job, looks awesome so far, and look forward to it's maturation process. =)

Jay Bennett is the best i love him WPcentral it's actually my favorite app can't wait to try this out cheers Jay❗❕

Although I haven't used the app yet, I have high hopes that it will be as good as expected. 

As much as I love Windows Phone version, I think there is room for improvement. I think the design of the Windows Phone app is not that intuitive. 

 

Check out for example the ESPN app for Windows Phone or BING apps for that matter. They are so good.

I am not saying Windows Phone version is not good. Its just that the way it looks is kind of old  now and I think that needs to change.

 

Jay has been a great inspiration for all Windows users,

 

Thanks for all your effort. Also, thanks Sam Sabri and other contributors.

i love this app but i wish the news storys scrolled vertically like on the web page as well as the app. scrollling left to right just feel wrong.

Personally I like the horizontal scrolling. Mosts of the Win8 apps do this. Bing News/Bing Finanace/etc. If it becomes an option in the settings I think it would help those that prefer vertical.

Awesome, unfortunately I had to reinstall w7, my time ran out with the enterprise 90 day trial.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Congrats Jay on your new acomplishment. You are an awesome developer and your apps are always welcomed by the WPCentral community. The app looks beautiful from the screens posted. I'll try it out for sure once I get back home.
 

I totally agree with you. he has been great at what he set out to do. Giving us great experience on our phones and tablets. 

Windows Phone and WIndows are so beautiful. Opened great new design trends for developers so that we get these beautiful apps to work with.

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