audible

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Audible and Netflix both updated for Windows Phone

We love when apps get updated, especially big apps that are used daily by a lot of people. Audible and Netflix are two apps that we use often, both are great time killers whether you’re catching up with the latest bestselling novel or hit television series. Both also just received two updates on Windows Phone.

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Audible, the popular audiobook service, has bumped its Windows Phone offering and has launched an exclusive offer for consumers. Should you download and use the apps available for either Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, create a new account and reside in the US, you'll be eligible for a free audiobook for trying out the service. Pretty neat, eh?

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Looks like it’s a good day for Windows Phone 8 users. First they get an update for Kindle to fix loading issues and now Audible (which has had a few crashes too) is now patched in addition to getting some new features.

Yes, version 1.4 is now live in the Windows Phone Store and as far as we can tell, has fixed the stability issues. In addition, you can now do a doublewide Tile and even use voice commands. The voice command feature works by simply holding down the Start button to launch voice command and then saying “Audible…My Library” or “Audible…Play (insert book name)”...

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GroupMe v3.5 looking good

Although there aren’t many new major apps to announce for Windows Phone yet this week, two big titles just received some updates and one has some major changes.

First up is Audible, one of the more requested apps that took a long time to get to Windows Phone. It has now hit version 1.3 as of today. Unfortunately that is about all we can tell you at this point as there was no accompanying changlog. That’s not the first time Audible has done such and update.

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What's in version 1.2? Only the Shadow knows...

Although it has taken a very long time to get Audible on Windows Phone, the app has received two updates since its initial release just a few weeks ago. That’s some fast response time to what are presumably bug fixes and optimizations.

Version 1.2 just hit the Marketplace for Windows Phone with v1.1 happening sometime last week when it also popped up in the UK.

Unfortunately, the Audible folks don’t seem too keen on sharing release notes, so we’ll have to wing this one and just say “it got better, somehow”. We don’t use the app enough to figure out ourselves (we fall asleep to story narrations, we blame it on childhood) so we’ll rely on you to point out any new features or bug fixes.

Grab the free official Audible app for Windows Phone, now on mysterious version 1.2, here in the Marketplace. Thanks,  James M., for the heads up

Update: Reader Jack let us know that the app was also made available in Germany last week and this latest update fixes some translations issues for their language.

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With the announcement of Audible for Windows Phone being released last week, many of our UK readers were asking for the same availability which was absent from the UK Marketplace. Windows Phone Central reader Mark got in touch with the Audible team for information on a possible app for those who reside in the UK, and we have positive details to relay.

According to a representative from the company, the Audible.co.uk app is set to be available in the Marketplace within the next day, but we've now seen it available for download (via direct link) in the UK. Find an excerpt of the email response below:

"I am pleased to announce that we have just been informed that the UK version of the app on the Windows platform has launched today, and will be available in the marketplace as of tomorrow."

You can download Audible from the Marketplace for free using the direct link or QR Code.

Thanks, Mark, for the heads up!

 

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We heard mention of the Audible.com Windows Phone app yesterday at the Windows Phone Summit and today, the Audible.com app launched. The free app taps into Audible's audiobook library of more than 100,000 titles and delivers them to your Windows Phone.

If you haven't signed up for an Audible.com account, the Windows Phone app includes eight excerpts from various authors to let you try things out. There are listening achievements, Facebook and Twitter integration to let you share with friends what you are reading...err..listening to, and the app supports Audible.com, Audible.uk and Audible.de.

Audible for Windows Phone is a free app and you can grab it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.  We'll take Audible out for a test drive over the next day or two and get a review on the site shortly.

Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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We've been waiting for a long time for an Audible client for Windows Phone and that day is finally almost upon us. Currently the popular audio-book app is in limited beta testing but we managed to get our hands on a copy and to be honest, we're impressed. The folks at Audible have given time and consideration when making this app as opposed to rushing some basic player to the market and it shows.

The Audible app is fast, nimble and to the point allowing you to purchase your favorite audio books on the go and with ease of listening. Some of the highlights of the app include:

  • Primary Live Tile that flips with recent history on the back
  • Secondary Live Tiles based on book title; enables 1-touch playing of audio; flips to show bookmark history
  • Configurable "jump back" feature to re-hear a section (default is 30 seconds)
  • Button-less playback which uses gestures instead of buttons to control the audio
  • Badges and statistics viewer
  • Sharing of book info and general news via the Windows Phone built in social networks
  • Gorgeous UI

One small downside is that it uses the built in browser/embedded IE9 for book purchasing as opposed to a dedicated native marketplace. The embedded option works well enough but it feels a little jarring to be ejected momentarily from the app-experience.

The design of the app is really striking and in our mind, Audible has done a knock out job here. In addition, there are enough options to keep most users happy but not too much as to overwhelm. While purchasing audio books may not be everyone's cup of tea (gosh, they're expensive!) we know many of you really insist on this service and for you , we have just a few words: you won't be disappointed.

Look for the official Auidble app to hit the Marketplace in the next few weeks. We'll of course keep you abreast of when it finally is released here at WPCentral. Thanks to Jack K., for the assitance!

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Windows Phone users have been yearning for an official Audible app for Windows Phone for quite some time now. Recently, our own Rafael Rivera showed how it's very possible to make an app for Windows Phone using some aspects of the ancient Windows Mobile app of yore. Around the same time, we heard rumblings of a limited beta for an Audible starting to circulate, which gave us hope.

Now, some images of said app have appeared on Reddit by a poster who is reportedly in the closed beta program. He notes that the beta program will be going open in a few weeks and that he won't post the XAP file, so no hope there.

While we can't verify that these images are legit, we have reason to believe that these are indeed real. Hopefully we'll be hearing more in a few weeks.

Update: Confirmed. Paul Thurrott has just posted more screenshots, moving this from rumor to news.

Source: Reddit; via 1800PocketPC, Go Windows Go

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I like experimenting and tinkering with software. A lot like how a circuit bender tries to get electronics to emit beautiful music, I attempt to coerce software into doing things it wasn’t designed to do. Often, like my recent Windows Phone Hackathon, I fail spectacularly. But rarely, I do make notable progress. Cue Audible.

Audible.com (Audible for short) is a service owned by Amazon that provides digital audio books. They put out software that works across a slew of devices such as the iPod, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, and even PC. Old hats may even recall that Audible supported Windows Mobile 5 devices such as the HP iPAQ Pocket PC. One platform void of support, however, is Windows Phone.

We – along with our readers – have been keeping the pressure on Audible for quite some time now, to no avail. Support technicians would say an app is in the works but has no ETA. Now they're saying this month. Who knows when this is really coming out? More importantly, what’s taking so long?

I sat down one day and decided to figure out why this was taking so long, or at least try. I started by downloading the old Windows Mobile 5 software. In the dusty CAB were a number of skins and resources, to support the fragmented Windows Mobile market, along with some key application files. Disassembling the Audible Player executable revealed they all relied on a single dynamic link library (DLL) to perform all the needed functions: AAXSDKWin.dll.

AAXSDKWin.dll is a library compiled for devices containing a StrongARM processor, like the iPAQ mentioned earlier. Without going too deep, it was compiled using an instruction set (ARM4i) that is still used in today’s ARM (e.g. Cortex) processors. At this point, you’re probably thinking “Hey… doesn’t Windows Phone sit on top of ARM too?” Yep, it sure does.

I took the library and started weeks of disassembly, study, and boozing, excruciatingly dissecting bit after bit until I had enough of their APIs worked out to use the damn thing in a proof of concept. I jiggered it into a Silverlight for Windows Phone application project and deployed it onto my Samsung Focus test phone. I was able successfully parse an Audible book and light up my UI with relevant metadata (e.g. title, author, etc.). I remember thinking “Holy crap, it worked.” (The app shot below is not a functional application.)

How Audible for Windows Phone could look like.

I continued my research efforts, with the goal of playing a book in mind, but stopped short for two reasons: One, Audible’s books are protected with a DRM scheme. This meant I needed to reverse engineer their account activation, authentication, and decryption logic – something I wasn’t keen on doing. Two, we reported that Audible was warming up for a late March release. I had no intention of busting hump to later be superseded by a better and official application. But with the success of the concept application, I couldn’t answer the original question – What’s taking Audible so long to put out an app?

I can only surmise as to why. We know getting legitimate native access on Windows Phone is easy and possible. I also know that all the APIs they need are there. So from a technical perspective, an Audible app is possible. But perhaps Amazon, in a move to increase Kindle interest, decided to not continue porting Audible to newer mobile devices. Or maybe there’s some behind-the-scenes political or logistical clashing we’re not privy to. Or more likely, Audible just didn’t have the Windows Phone marketplace numbers to justify paying a team to rework their ancient source code into something usable on Windows Phone.

Regardless, an Audible application official or otherwise is coming.

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Windows Phone and Audible.com have not had the best track record together.  Over a year ago, we thought an Audible.com app may be close to hitting the Marketplace, only to find out it was for WinMo 6.X.  Then we found out this summer that one was en route, but no ETA was given.  Well, hopefully, that is all water under the bridge, as one of our readers reports that the long lost ETA may be March 2012. 

An email received by said reader (who chooses to remain anonymous) says:

Dear ,

An Audible app has been in the work for quite sometime. It was not until recently that we were given a tentative release date. If everything goes as scheduled, the app should be making its debut on Windows phones near the end of March 2012.

Sincerely,

Audible Customer Support

While we always take such matters with a grain of salt, we remain hopeful that this is indeed true.  Audible remains one of the few marquee apps to remain absent for Windows Phone.

(Thanks for the tip, Unamed Reader!)

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7

Audible for WP7 is still in the works

Audible is one of the few, last remaining marquee apps that Windows Phone is lacking. The popular "spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming" (aka books on tape) application is currently on every platform but so far has received little attention from the Amazon.com owned company. The last we heard from them was in October where they were non-committal.

Though official "support" can be a finicky source for stories, if we are to believe them, they do have a Windows Phone app in development with no ETA available:

"... our app developers are working on a WP7 app, but no date has been announced as of yet."

So that's that. Wish we could say more, like it's right around the corner, but we'll just have to wait till more info comes forth. But hey, it sounds promising.

Source: Twitter, (Thanks, Patrick H., for the heads up!)

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While we know many of you love using Audible whenever you can, support from them has been....lacking to say the least. Even their interface with Kinoma is dun broke, despite Kinoma's best effort to work with/around them.

Lately, Paul Thurrott has been keeping the flame going, with both hopes of support for the Zune HD (unlikely, evidently supported, indirectly) and Windows Phone 7 (more likely). Audible dropped a possible hint in a conversation with a listener that a WP7 app would be ready "within the month", but alas, it appears they may have been talking about WM6.x:

Thank you very much for contacting Audible.com about the upcoming Windows 7 Phone. As of right now, there is no information regarding the release of this application for the Windows 7 Phone. However, the version will eventually be supported once we have resolved the current issues with the Audible Air Application for 6.0 and 6.5. This being said, there is no estimated time frame or release date for this device.

Oh Audible, we want to love you but seriously...you need to get your act together on this already :-/ Well, at least their may be hope for you Windows Mobile users who will be sticking with the platform for a bit. Silver lining?

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