official app

Last Saturday we had an update for the Official WPCentral app that introduced transparent Live tiles in Windows Phone 8.1, fixed bugs, unlocked all features for trial users and more. But we don’t let Jay rest too much, which is why you’ll find a new update in the Windows Phone Store. Curious as to what’s new? Of course you are, so read on to find what.

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We're excited to announce another patch to our official Windows Phone app today, which you can download right now here in the marketplace (Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7). Whilst this version 4.4.18 is not the biggest update we've ever announced we suspect a fair few people will be quite happy.

Following a flood of e-mails and messages complaining about our live tile's compatibility with the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 we've made sure that tile transparency now works correctly for both of our live tiles. The other headline change is that we've now made all features of the app available to all users.

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Although the app-gap for Windows Phone dwindles each and every day, there are still a few banner apps missing. One of those is Starbucks for the US market (there’s already one for Mexico and Russia, who are managed by different companies).

The Starbucks apps aren’t just store locators, like the well-done app we covered this morning, but they help manage your account, keep track of awards and lets you replenish your pre-purchase card. The apps on iOS and Android are quite popular, but Windows Phones in US are left on the sidelines.

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Just in case you thought we actually slept around here, we have new updates to share with you today. A fairly substantial one for our new Windows 8 app which is already live and waiting, and a small patch for our trusty Windows Phone offering which we're expecting to be published later today.

You can pick up the Windows Phone app from the marketplace right here including a free unlimited trial with ads, and you'll find our Windows 8 app here in the store for free with advertising. Curious as to what we've been working on this time? Check after the break to find the full change list for both apps.

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It was just a few days ago that the official Instagram (beta) app for Windows Phone received another update. At first this looked to be a small, quick big update since there was no changelog accompanied with the update. And the app was updated a few days prior to that with performance improvements and UX refinements. Turns out there was a hidden new feature in the latest update, let’s check it out.

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It has been a whirlwind year for Windows Phone 8, especially in the last few months. Today, Microsoft gets another feather in their cap with the unveiling of Path beta for Windows Phone 8.

Announced back in July during the Lumia 1020 reveal, the app is now available to download for Windows Phone 8 devices and finishes the 2013 blitz of apps and games.

Path, launched in November 2010, is yet-another social network. It originally made waves on the iPhone, later expanding to Android and iOS in general (iPad). It’s claim to fame? Path is a private social-network, where the user can purposefully limit who views and accesses their timeline to just friends and family. In fact, it’s limited to just 150 contacts max with no “public view” at all. Users can share messages and photos with those closest to them, without any fear of accidentally posting something publicly i.e. the opposite of Facebook.

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A new job listing by Fitbit confirms an official app is inbound

With Bluetooth 4.0 LE now a viable technology for products and Windows Phone, so-called “smart devices” are the next big wave in mobile technology. Windows Phone, up until this point, has been playing on the sidelines due to lacking hardware or drivers for the Bluetooth 4.0 stack. That, however, has changed as Nokia enables 4.0 on their Lumia hardware.

One big player in wearable technology is Fitbit. We’re big fans of the wrist-bound pedometer and activity level monitor. In fact, some of us own the One, Flex and Force in addition the Aria scale, making us prime candidates for an official app from the company.

Now, the firm has posted a job request on LinkedIn for a ‘Product Manager - Windows Mobile’. Before everyone gets into a tizzy of the usage of ‘Mobile’ over ‘Phone’ let it be known that this position is for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.

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First Direct is developing an app for Windows Phone, but unfortunately the app won't be available on the store before the year is out. According to the official Twitter account for the help team, the UK bank has its elves working hard on the official solution, but since it's Christmas, children of course come before those who wish to perform mobile banking.

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Nokia has announced another exclusive app for their Lumia customers. Redbox Instant by Verizon is now live in the Nokia Collection and will allow users to stream movie content right to their Lumia Windows Phone. After 60 days, the app will go to all Windows Phone owners, so don’t fret.

The Redbox service (US only) has a free trial and normally runs for $8 a month (and a $1 for Blue ray access), which is similar to what Hulu or Netflix charge. But in addition to just streaming, you can also rent up to 4 DVDs per month. That’s kind of a really good deal, if you ask us. But it depends also on how many movies you watch (and how many on your phone).

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It's been fairly quiet in terms of updates to our own official app for Windows Phone in the last couple of months, other things tend to get in the way especially when the big focus is something for bigger screens. That said we have some good news today in that version 4.4 of our app has just gone live and is available for you to download to your Windows Phone 7 or 8 device right now from the marketplace.

You'll likely only notice a few of the changes straight away so as usual you can read all about them after the break, as well as an important announcement about our Windows Phone 7 support from here on in.

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Today, Windows Phone users are finally treated to a new app and service that has been long in the making: Waze. First announced back in June, Waze has been undergoing a private (but detailed) beta testing period to ensure the highest quality. Although it was reported as having no ETA back in October, the app is finally ready for public release. That despite unfounded concerns that its new owners, Google, would cancel the project. But today, Microsoft and Waze are announcing its general availability.

Waze is an extremely popular navigation and traffic app that relies on social interaction for real-time updates. Considered to be a community-driven application, Waze differs from regular GPS navigation apps by relying on user feedback for traffic, travel times, accidents, police traps, and more with user ability to modify maps and roads. It’s a fascinating service with around 50 million users worldwide, mostly found on Android and iOS. 

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Today, Microsoft and Facebook (Burbn) have announced the arrival of the official Instagram app for Windows Phone. It’s been a long time in the making but this is the moment you have all been waiting for.

Announced a few weeks ago in Abu Dhabi during Nokia World, Instagram for Windows Phone has been one of the most coveted and sought after applications for the rapidly growing platform. Constantly cited as the one big “missing apps” for consumers (and being one of the searched for in the Store), Instagram’s arrival has come at an opportune time, seeing as Windows Phone is gaining market share fervently these days.

The service is simple in concept and execution, but it was the right app at the right time. Users simply take photos from their smartphone (or taken live within the app) and can optionally apply a set of retro-filters, giving it a Polaroid-like effect. Users can then post the photo on their timeline within the app (also visible on the web) along with hashtags. By following and being followed, users can build up an audience around those who want a visual experience. Text is minimal as the focus is to let the image tell the story. Images can be cross-posted to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and more.

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Channel 4 (www.channel4.com) is a UK public television broadcaster, operated by the Channel Four Television Corporation. The broadcaster (just like other companies) has its own branded catch-up service, enabling viewers to remain up-to-date and on top of shows. Should you find yourself missing numerous episodes of a series, this service is an invaluable resource.

We bear good news, as an official 4oD app is now available for Windows Phone 8.

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During Nokia World last week, one of the big software announcements was for Instagram on Windows Phone. The process in getting the app officially on Microsoft’s platform has taken months (if not longer), resulting in copious amounts of frustration from users and ammo for critics.

Nokia today thanked users on Twitter for their effort in convincing Instagram to allow their app on the platform.

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There have been a number of new apps launch on Windows Phone and there are many more on the way (including Instagram). Today we're taking a quick look at CamScanner (www.camscanner.net), which was covered in the official Microsoft blog post. Available for Windows Phone 8, the app enables you to transform your Windows Phone into a mobile scanner. Prepare to throw away that bulky unit you've been using.

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There's nothing worse than running over your contract allowances when using your smartphone. It's easy to do should you include data-intensive services and numerous friends requiring social time. Luckily, mobile operators have been releasing apps that help customers keep track of exactly what they're using, whether it be data, calls or SMS.

Vodafone NL has launched such a solution for Windows Phone, offering a free tool to Windows Phone customers to help them remain on top of contract allowances, as well as general account management. Better yet, it's well designed and is yet another official solution from a mobile operator that's beginning to back Windows Phone.

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Looks like another official app has launched for Windows Phone 8 and it slipped under our radar. 7 Eleven (http://www.7-eleven.com), the popular convenience store chain in the US, released their Windows Phone 8 this last Wednesday.

The app itself has a unique UI, featuring a swipe based gesture system to navigate to the main sections. It’s actually the same layout as the iOS and Android apps, keeping the company design consistent. Those sections include special day-only deals, in-store goods like sandwiches and wings, coupons that you can redeem and a store finder. The app has all four of those sections laid out as tabs and you can merely tap or swipe to get to them

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We announced a few weeks ago that the popular electronic music streaming site Digitally Imported (www.di.fm) was beta testing their official app for Windows Phone. Tonight, we figured we show you the current status of the beta and how it all works.

Digitally Imported is a free music streaming site, though users can opt for a paid “Premium” experience like on Pandora. That feature enables 256kbps streaming with no ads and that membership level is reflected in the app.

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When it comes to cloud storage on Windows Phone, most users seem content to utilize Microsoft’s SkyDrive system. After all, it ties into Xbox, PC, tablets, Windows Phone itself, the web and it is constantly being improved upon by the company.

However, people live different lives and have different circumstances, including having job requirements that require access to other cloud storage options. So with that, it’s good to see Copy (www.copy.com), an official app from Barracuda Networks, land on Windows Phone 8 (they already have clients for iOS and Android).

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