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A few days ago, we reviewed Starbucks Locator 2.0, which is a swell little app for you coffee fiends out in the world. Sure, you could use Cortana, but there are benefits to having a dedicated app for a frequently used function, including greater functionality and, in this case, barcode scanning for your Starbucks Card.

This morning, version 2.1 has gone out and with it numerous fixes, improvements and refinements to the user experience.

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We're still digesting all the information that has just been shared about the Microsoft Band, but there's one feature that seems really cool. You can pay for stuff at Starbucks using the Microsoft Band. We don't have the Band yet, but this is going to be one of the first things we're going to try out. Want to know how to load your Starbucks Card on your Microsoft Band? Read on for the 5 simple steps.

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Taking wireless charging to the next level, 100,000 Powermat spots are to be deployed in participating Starbucks and Teavana tea bars. Duracell today announced alongside Starbucks that the rollout will commence in the San Francisco Bay area, expanding Powermat to additional markets next year with full nationwide coverage planned over time at supporting establishments.

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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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Latté Locator is a simple, nicely laid out Starbucks finder app for Windows Phone. Latté Locator will not only discern the closest Starbucks but also map out directions to get you to that next cup of joe and pull up contact information for that particular café.

What makes the app unique though is where it gets its data. It’s not scrapping it from Google or Bing like other apps, but rather it is connecting directly to the Starbucks server via their private API. Think of how 6tag and Instance work with Instagram, and you have the same model for Latté Locator. The result? Highly accurate information and no “noise”. Throw in a nice UI with some cool features and we like what we see.

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Although people in the US can benefit from the CBS Sports app released today, what a lot of users are looking for is one from those caffeinated gurus at Starbucks. Yes, the mighty coffee giant has so far been MIA on Windows Phone, but things are starting to change.

Back at the beginning of August, Starbucks did release an app for Mexico and today, Russia gets ones too. We were planning to report on the Mexico app (the site WinPhollowers originally found it), but even Microsoft were unable to confirm its authenticity for us or future plans for the Seattle based company.

That tells us that Starbucks is going market by market akin to Domino's Pizza and not necessarily coordinating with Microsoft on a global level.  Still, it is a sign of good things to come. Let’s take a look at each app.

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Starbucks has remained on the side lines when it came to Windows Phone and this doesn't look to be changing any time soon. We've witnessed numerous unofficial apps hitting the store from eager developers, but what about official support from the popular coffee house chain? One of our readers provided some feedback about a need for a Windows Phone client and received a response from the company. Cut short: don't hold your breath for one in the near future.

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While we wait for official apps from companies we make due with 3rd party solutions. However, a lot of the times we get some great apps from the Windows Phone community and it's really hard to see what else an official app can add. You only need to look at 4th and Mayor and Metrotube to see examples of the active development community.

You can go ahead and add Starbux Card to that mix of examples. If you want to load up your Starbucks cards to your Windows Phone, check out Starbux Card for Windows Phone 7 and 8.

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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 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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Still steamed over the changes to the AT&T data plans? Head over to your nearest Starbucks starting July 1 and get free Wi-Fi without having to register. According to this tweet, registration-free Wi-Fi (requiring only 1 click to get you started) will be available at all US locations.

In addition to the free Wi-Fi, a new digital service called the Starbucks Digital Network is in the works. The Starbucks Digital Network will offer “free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services”. The full press release is available at the Starbucks Newsroom.

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We've been peppering carriers with questions regarding the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 on Oct. 6, and most are pretty mum at this point. But AT&T did drop one little nugget in regards to WiFi, which we've been waiting to hear about for some time now. And it goes a long way toward answering a question we tackled in this week's podcast.

So, here's the deal. We're leaving it in AT&T-speak. Starting Sept. 14:

  • AT&T will provide most users access to nearly 20,000 AT&T Hot Spots across the US, including Starbucks.
  • Beginning this month, customers with Wi-Fi-enabled Windows Mobile smartphones and unlimited and other qualifying data plans will receive unlimited access to thousands of U.S. AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots nationwide.
  • Eligible Windows Mobile customers can access AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots at over 20,000 nationwide locations – the majority of customers will be eligible as most have a qualifying data plan.
  • At no additional cost, AT&T customers with unlimited personal and enterprise rate plans on Wi-Fi enabled Windows Mobile smartphones can enjoy automatic, fast and secure access to the Internet at AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots.
  • AT&T Wi-Fi will be easy to use on Windows Phones because of auto-authentication – if you have Wi-Fi on, you’ll automatically connect
  • The service will launch on 9/14 with Samsung smartphones with other devices to follow in the coming weeks, and all 6.5 devices will be supported.

So, while we still don't know what AT&T has up its sleeve in terms of Windows Mobile 6.5 and current or future devices, we now know it's opening up WiFi to the masses. Hit up this link for a map of AT&T's free WiFi locations.

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