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Nokia is back to updating a lot of their core apps one of which we completely forgot about: Pulse.

We last covered Nokia Pulse when it was announced at Nokia World back in fall 2011. It’s Nokia’s social-app and at the time we had little use for it—there were no Lumias on the market and Nokia’s service wasn’t exactly all that feature-rich.

Today, Nokia announced that Pulse Beta (yup, it’s still not ready for official release) is going to version 0.9 within in the next day or two (ours is still at 0.8 in the Marketplace). The good news is there are plenty of new features coming with 0.9 that are making us reconsider using this app:

  • You can now sign-in on Nokia Pulse with your Facebook account
  • You can start a new conversation as soon as you open Nokia Pulse
  • The Nokia Pulse live tile now shows more information about unread messages
  • The overall performance of Nokia Pulse has been improved
  • You can now consolidate multiple email addresses for a person…
  • …and more easily correct a misspelled email address
  • Your friend who aren’t using Nokia Pulse just yet will get a direct link to the mobile client for their specific phone for a mobile Nokia Pulse experience

Nokia Pulse is kind of powerful. It’s basically a messaging app on steroids. For instance it allows you to send mapping information (via Nokia Maps) to a contact for a meet-up, you can create groups for mass messaging, add in notes, reviews, phone numbers all with a few taps.

Back last year, Nokia introducing a messaging service was akin to when Samsung announced ChatOn—it’s kind of cool but there are alternatives out there.  Flash-forward today though and it’s a bit different—Nokia now means something and we’re much more inclined to jump on their ship as opposed to Samsung’s (then again, ChatOn is multi-platform, Pulse currently is not. However, Nokia Pulse is going to Android and iOS presumably after it is feature-complete on Windows Phone).

You can download Nokia’s Pulse here in the Marketplace. Being a beta, it is not yet restricted to Lumia phones. Let’s repeat that: currently ALL Windows Phones users can try this out but our bet is with v1.0 it will land in the Nokia Collection, so grab it and try it now. Also remember, you're looking for version 0.9 as the latest which may show up in 12-48 hours (we're still on the old v0.8).

Take a look at the video demo and announcement after the break along with the QR code...

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The Sonos multi-room streaming music system is probably my favourite piece of musical gadgetry right now. I listen to a lot of music and it's often a pain to keep plugging in my phone or mp3 player into a system in each room. It took me plenty of deliberation, but eventually I succumbed to buying a few bits of the Sonos kit. Now I could have music playing throughout my small apartment. "Wonderful," I thought, until I realised there isn’t an official Sonos app for Windows Phone. Luckily, I found Phonos in the marketplace. How well does it stack up against the competition and of course the official offering from Sonos? Read on to find out..

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UK Windows Phone users should be pretty happy with this new application. VirginTrain Tickets arrived in the Marketplace today and looks to be a superb tool for commuters. With the app comes paperless tickets as your e-ticket will be sent straight to your Windows Phone. That means no queuing too!

There are a vast array of options within the app which you can see below:

  • Search times and fares for any train to any destination in the UK.
  • Buy tickets up to 10 minutes before you want to depart.
  • Book for up to 8 people at once.
  • Totally secure booking.
  • Absolutely no hidden booking or credit card fees (we hate those!)
  • Get tickets sent straight to your mobile or collect from our FastTicket machines.
  • Log-in to your account so you only need to enter your details once.
  • Check live departures/arrivals info to see how your train is running, before you even get on it.
  • And you get all this for the one-off payment of... nothing! Free things are always the best things in life

Sounds pretty good doesn't it? Even better news is that the app is free.

You can pick up Virgin Trains (snicker) here in the Windows Phone Marketplace (Great Britain only). Thanks, Stu M., for the heads up

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Rage against the train

The European Union has launched its own app for air and rail passengers stranded in the EU due to cancelations or delays to check their legal rights about refunds and rebates.

The app, simply titled Your Rights, is nothing extraordinary but what is neat is just how wide its coverage reaches. The app’s contents is available in 22 languages, uses local storage for data so no internet is needed and it’s available on Windows Phone, iOS, Android and Blackberry. It’s one of the first times we’ve seen such a massive simultaneous release and it’s nice to see Windows Phone right up there.

From the app description:

“The Your Passenger Rights application provides users with clear and concise information on their travel rights within the European Union. Presented in a question/answer format, it allows users to easily identify the problem which they are experiencing and be provided with a clear explanation of their rights and the options available to them.”

Currently, the app only covers air and rail but it will extend to bus/coach and marine travel in 2013.

Sure, the EU as a concept and execution catches a lot of flak at times but it’s actually nice to see some pro-consumer legislation turn to technology for everyday use.

Pick up Your Rights here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Via:

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Are you into absorbing knowledge and facts? Would you like 80,000 articles in your Windows Phone to browse at your leisure? Well you can, with Encyclopaedia which is a Encyclopedia Britannica application now available in the Windows Marketplace.

The only downside I can see here is its price. At $4.99 and without a trial it isn't the cheapest app but it would appear you do get a lot for your money.

Features of the application include:

  • 80,000 articles in a fully searchable database
  • Tens of thousands of images, diagrams and charts
  • Ability to download articles for offline viewing, store your favorites and access your search history
  • Research noteworthy events and birthdates from 'This day' in history
  • An A-Z browse allows users to browse the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica

You can pick up the official Encyclopedia Britannica app for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace.

via: WPSauce

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Windows Phone App Review: myHealthbox


Ever given much thought about the medicines you are taking and needed bit more information about them? Well you can easily access all that and more with myHeathbox for Windows Phone.

The application is an extension of the and will allow for not only quick and easy access to medicine information, but in addition several extra cool features.

The application contains the following features:

  • Instant medication search by name and country.
  • eLeaflets
  • Alerts on drug recalls
  • News on new products
  • Instant access to local pharmacies using Bing Maps with the option to telephone the pharmacy from within the application

When opening the application for the first time you will be required to create an account. This is painless as only basic information is required such as an email address and a password. Once completed you will be emailed a link to verify your account. You will then have access to both the application and the myHeathbox service on the web.

As usual with Windows Phones apps the user interface is simplistic and user friendly. The various tabs at the top of the screen are all self-explanatory as are the search and maps icons at the base of the screen. The beauty of using this app is its syncing abilities. So if you are out and need to research some medication not only will the information be retained within the phone app but also on the web when you login to your account. Handy stuff.

Whether you are in the medical/pharmaceutical profession or just use medication on a regular basis I would highly recommend giving myHealthbox a try.  myHealthbox is a free app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Please keep in mind the the medical database covers over 800.000 healthcare products and information leaflets, support for 16 European countries and 16 languages. myHealthbox is a strong source for information on medicines and healthcare products in Europe. While available on the U.S. Windows Phone Marketplace, the app does not support U.S. healthcare products or resources.

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Official CNN app now available for all Windows Phones

"This is CNN...on all Windows Phones"

Well look at that, it looks like Nokia's 90 day exclusive on the official CNN app has finally expired--certainly a rare sight to see. The CNN app, which was developed in conjunction with Nokia and announced back at CES 2012, embraces the Metro design with unique features like the iReporter function for reporting news on your own.

For many on Windows Phones, the stranglehold on "exclusive" apps by Nokia was a thorn in the side--well, at least for those without a Nokia Lumia. But now you can download the exact same app with push notifications and local news to your non-Nokia device, resulting in what we imagine to be a loud cheer.

The CNN app ranks up there with the USA Today app as far as elegance and functionality. It's great to see it displayed on other Windows Phones for all. 

Pick up the official CNN app for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Scott H., for the tip!

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The Dark Knight Rises app for Windows Phone is now available to all Lumia handsets. We last looked at the recently released app back when UK retailer Phones 4u announced availability of the limited edition Batman The Dark Knight Rises Lumia 900. Should you not be able to pick up the special Lumia 900, but own a Lumia Windows Phone, don't fear as you can download the app and enjoy the experience.

What's included in the app? Trailers, wallpapers and ringtones, as well as a countdown to when the film is set to premier. Coupled with the counter, the app displays the nearest theatres that will be showing the title, using the location of the user. Directions to theatres are available on-hand so it requires little effort to get planning for the big day.

Should you login and connect to your Foursquare account, you get to choose your side (Batman or Bane) and play a Foursquare-based mini-game titled Claim Gotham City. A map is presented to the user that enables locations to be taken over by either side (checking in), earning points and exclusive content. As well as taking over locations on your own, joint attacks can be performed with other players. It's a fun twist.

You can download The Dark Knight Rises from the Marketplace on your Lumia Windows Phone.


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Skype working on Tango has come and gone with Microsoft and Skype announcing that the rushed-to-the-market Windows Phone app will not run on devices with less than 512MB of RAM. We then saw Nokia announce to the world that the Skype app will run on Tango Windows Phones (specifically the Lumia 610) with minimal amounts of memory. This was reaffirmed by Justin Angel using the app on his 610 to feature on a recent Windows Phone Central podcast.

Now Nokia HK has turned around and stated that they have decided to recommend to Lumia 610 customers that the Skype app really shouldn't be used and will not be available to those wielding the device. See the below quote from an email reportedly sent by the manufacturer:

"Nokia values the user experience provided by its products and services. Therefore, although the Skype Windows Phone version is workable on Nokia Lumia 610, after in-depth testing, we found that the user experience is not up to par with Nokia and Skype's expectation and decided not recommending users using Skype on Nokia Lumia 610. In the future, users of Nokia Lumia 610 would no longer be able to download Skype Windows Phone version from Window Phone Marketplace. However, Skype Windows Phone version would still be available for other users."

Looks like devices that are hitting the bare minimum requirements for Windows Phone Tango will not be able to run Skype. At least for now anyway. We're still looking at the Skype app as a pressed result from pressure mounting up on the teams to get something out on the Marketplace. We do expect the teams to sort out the issues and get the app working on low-end hardware as well as the flagship Windows Phones in the future. Our Rafael looked at why there are limitations with Skype on Windows Phone altogether, which is also worth a read.

Source: (Bing translation)

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An official app for The Register has been released for Windows Phone this past week. The online publication is a reputable technology resource with millions of readers, and Windows Phone owners will be pleased to know that a seamless experience is now available while on the go.

Latest articles are pulled down with comments displayed for each article. Users can add their own opinion on the article, or share the article with integrated social networks. Favourite feeds can be configured in the settings, for a maximum of three subjects. This creates a more personalised experience with relevant stories being targeted for viewing with three panes dedicated to the chosen topics. All feeds can be viewed regardless of what's selected in the settings, thus it's not a limitation.

It's a basic and simple app, but the interface is great and fluid throughout. Unfortunately, there's no option to change font sizes and screen orientation is locked at portrait, but we expect future updates to be rolled out addressing said issues with new feature implementations.

You can download The Register from the Marketplace for free.

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Nokia has been a busy bee with bringing more big brand support to Windows Phone. We recently covered the manufacturer creating partnerships with a number of companies for new official Windows Phone apps to be developed, and to add one more name to the list we have Six Flags. For those who aren't familiar with the brand; Six Flags is an entertainment corporation that owns and runs multiple theme parks across the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Lumia Windows Phone owners will be able to enjoy a custom app, which will be available for all U.S. states, and Nokia will embark on a marketing partnership with Six Flags -- providing opportunities for the Lumia 900 to be advertised in amusement parks. Additionally, both companies will partner on national sweepstakes and retail promotions.

What about the app itself? The Six Flag app will sport unique content for each theme park, including an interactive map, attractions / ride information, cuisine and shopping, as well as special event listings. A customisable day planner enables visitors to plan their day ahead and check out rich media from Six Flags TV. Nokia will also provide discounts each night on select in-park retail, restaurant or games locations with Nokia Nightly Offers.

Check out the press release after the break. Source: PRNewsWireThanks Brian for the tip!

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Yesterday, Microsoft released a new app for Windows 7 PCs called Bing Desktop (it was in beta for the last few weeks). It's an interesting move as Google as had their Desktop app for years (it's also a little creepy as it can search your hard disk).

Luckily, Bing Desktop does no such thing and darn it all, it's awesome to boot.

For one, it can download the Bing wallpaper daily to your PC and makes it your desktop background. Next, there's a nifty Bing Search bar that sits on your desktop and allows super quick access to Microsoft's increasingly awesome search service. Pro tip: pin it to the top of your screen and you can tap to bring it down anywhere for quick lookups-- Microsoft really nailed the interaction here in our opinion.

Enough chit chat though, go and download it here and read the Bing Team's description of it here. We think it's awesome though. You?

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We reported a few weeks ago that Good Technologies was planning on releasing their Secure Enterprise Messaging app for Windows Phone in a deal with Microsoft giving business users a new tool in their arsenal.

This morning Good is evidently alerting users that their app should be hitting the Marketplace in the next 24 hours:

"Good announce Good for WP Good for Enterprise™ Windows Phone® Available Tomorrow!

Good Technology is pleased to inform you that Good for Enterprise – Windows Phone will be available tomorrow for download from the Marketplace. This release will support Microsoft Exchange and will be available for Windows Phone with OS version 7.5. Most features require upgrading to the latest Good Mobile Control and Good Messaging servers for Exchange. To ensure that your users can take advantage of the new Good client features, we encourage you to upgrade your Good for Enterprise servers."

That's some good news (morning pun!).

As we previously mentioned, Windows Phone has not been the strongest contender for enterprise even with Exchange support. Giving companies the additional option of having Good Technology on board in combination with the extremely popular Nokia Lumia 900 seems like a win-win for Microsoft in getting their mobile OS the attention it deserves and a nod to enterprise.

The full feature set for the Good for Enterprise™ Windows Phone® app is listed after the break. We'll keep you posted when it goes live in the Marketplace.

Thanks, WPMan, for the heads up

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Apps on Windows Phone boot up fairly quickly and the user only has but a few seconds to wait for the software to fully load, but what if the operating system itself could predict what app(s) you're likely to run that exact second? Cue FALCON, a project undertaken by Microsoft Research. The "Fast App Launching with Context" allows the faster execution of apps by preloading the software in memory (multitasking stack).

One of the researchers, Tingxin Yan, describes FALCON as:

A context-aware mobile app preloading component for mobile OS. Based on intensive data analysis of app usage across multiple mobile users, FALCON presents a decision engine which exploits temporal and spacial characters of user behavior to pre-load apps ahead of time, thereby improves the responsiveness of smartphones.

How FALCON would achieve this is by anticipating what apps the user is likely to launch using algorithms, and is part of a larger project called "Context Data OS (ConDOS)". Microsoft Research aims to improve the mobile experience with ConDOS by integrating context into the platform OS.

The team is set to present their research at the MobiSys 2012 conference this year. It'll be interesting to see such functionality built into Windows Phone to further improve responsiveness beyond competitor platforms.

Via: iStartedSomething

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Microsoft and Nokia are looking for new Windows Phone 7.5 apps to showcase in their next UK advertising campaign.  They have kicked off a new competition in which developers can submit their apps for consideration, and if chosen, get them displayed across the UK.  Those selected will appear in banner ads, the Windows Phone Marketplace, press materials, events and social media outlets.

MS and Nokia are looking for "innovative" apps geared toward UK consumers in the following categories: casual games, kids, family, health and fitness, shopping, social, travel, and utilities.  For the time being, there are two monthly campaigns for May and June.  Submissions for the May run should be submitted no later than April 20, while entries for the June competition will be accepted until May 15.  If you have a newly-developed Windows Phone 7.5 app that you want to show off, simply go the competition website and click on "Tell Us Today."

The Appvertising competition's aim is not just to spread the word about Windows Phone, but also to engage people by enticing developers to create for their platform.  This is one more example of shrewd advertising on the parts of both Microsoft and Nokia. They have been finding new and different ways of creating interactive advertising.  Be it serving up beverages in Nokia's Amazing Vans or challenging consumers not to get Smoked by Windows Phone it's been interesting for sure.

Source: Microsoft UK

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The official Qantas app for Windows Phone, which we have been anticipating since MIX '11, has now been released on the Marketplace. The app enables users to keep track of their upcoming flights with the operator. As well as mobile check-in, the app also displays the status of the customer's frequent flyer programme with accumulated points.

The free Qantas app provides a boarding pass for the selected flight that can be used for a more efficient experience, just remember to charge the Windows Phone the night before (nothing worse than relying on your dead smartphone for checking into your flight). Should you have access to the available lounges at numerous supporting airports, the app will also provide information as to the location and opening hours of said areas.

Live tiles are present with the ability to pin flights to the homescreen for up-to-date details regarding the scheduled time of departure, etc. The official Qantas app is a convenient companion for any frequent traveller, it's just a shame that there doesn't appear to be any way to book flights through the app itself. It's pretty much identical to the British Airways app, which is also available on the Marketplace, basic but sports enough features.

You can download the official Qantas app from the Marketplace for free and find the press release after the break. Via: Techin5

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In partnership with both Nokia and Microsoft, Aalto University in Finland will use an €18 million (a tad over $28 million U.S.) investment kitty set up by the two companies to launch an app development program. The program, named "AppCampus", will act as an umbrella for the development of innovative apps to take place for Windows Phone, Symbian and Series 40.

AppCampus will attempt to attract students, developers and entrepreneurs to the Windows Phone platform and help boost the quality of apps found on the Marketplace. While it's pleasant to see Symbian and Series 40 still receiving some attention from Nokia (as well as Microsoft with this investment), it'll be exciting to see how the program will affect the situation with Microsoft's mobile platform.

"Within the AppCampus program, mobile entrepreneurs can benefit from comprehensive support, training in mobile technology, design and usability, and funding to create innovative new mobile apps and services. Windows Phone Marketplace and Nokia Store offer local and global business opportunities to program participants via distribution to consumers around the world. Mentored by veterans in the mobile industry, program participants will be given insights and business coaching to help them commercialize their ideas while retaining the full intellectual property rights for their innovations."

With Windows 8 just around the corner, along with the "three screens" dream for Microsoft and Nokia's apparent tablet plans, we wouldn't be surprised to see development for Metro apps outside of the 480x800 resolution. Exciting times for developers and consumers, nonetheless. Check out the press release after the break.

Source: AppCampus, via: Gizmodo

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If you're not aware of the positive news this week surrounding our Windows Phone app, we've been nominated for Nokia Conversations' March Madness contest. The WPCentral app is in the "news & entertainment" category, and you guys requested an update as to when you'll be able to vote. The time is now, fellow WPCentralites!

Be sure to head on over to the Nokia Conversations' article to vote for the WPCentral app, should you wish to do so, as we're up against All About Windows Phone. While we're flattered that our work has been considered for the contest, we do have a secret desire to win with flying colours. On a serious note - we thank our readers for continued support and wish every app the very best in this contest.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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There has been some interest shown for a Draw Something app to be made for Windows Phone. There are already apps available for both iOS and Android, allowing friends (and random people) to compete against one another by drawing illustrations and guessing correctly. A thread over at GetSatisfaction has over 800 people wanting the app brought to Microsoft's platform.

Joseph, an official representative from OMGPOP (developers of the title), has stated "if there's a high demand for it", then they'll definitely look to develop an app for Windows Phone.

Be sure to head on over to the thread at GetSatisfaction to show your interest should you desire Draw Something for Windows Phone. You can also get in touch with OMGPOP directly.

Source: GetSatisfaction; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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We're just going to come out and say it: Zero, the new to-do list app from tomzorz labs, borrows heavily in inspiration from an iPhone app called Clear (see the iMore review). What makes that funny is Clear is understood as borrowing heavily from Microsoft's Metro UI design language meaning we're finally coming full circle with Clear Zero coming back to Windows Phone.

The to-do list/task manager app is very minimalist in design with zero chrome, ahem. It is primarily gesture based forgoing the traditional bottom-bar method found in most Windows Phone apps--in that sense, it actually deviates against Metro UI but only because it's going more minimalist instead of less. Gestures are simple and universal: up/down to create, left to delete, right to check off, pinch in to go back, pinch out to re-order lists. Because of the gestures, you'll need to tap through a brief (but well done) tutorial at first but you'll lean the system quick enough.

The app itself is clean, fast and to the point and because of that we like it a lot. The Live Tile adds a nice counter though it could perhaps be augmented with a rear tile for more info (space permitting though). Likewise, tying into the Toast notification system could be a good idea in the future to make this a true "reminder" app. We are looking forward though to the back-up feature which we presume will be based on SkyDrive.

You can pick up Zero with a free trial here in the Marketplace for $0.99.

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