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.
• UI changes following Microsoft design review
• New Settings screen
• Added notifications silent mode
• Added ability to tap the app header after launching from a notification to go back to the news
• Removed Unification support
• Fixed several bugs
This update is relatively small but the product of a couple of frequent user feedback items and a design review with Nokia and Microsoft. The two highest priority items they suggested we address were the floating buttons and our settings screen.
Floating buttons used to be fairly commonplace in Windows Phone 7 days (see the old people hub) but they have been discouraged since the days of the Mango update, or 7.5. We've been reluctant to remove them as we don't like upsetting people with change but the time has come and we have to admit the app does look much cleaner with the buttons down in the app bar, plus they didn't scale too well on the new 1080p devices!
Our settings screen was an absolute mess full of gesture competition and too many pivots so we've introduced a styling much more in tune with the settings you'd find on your device, which in turn surfaces a few of the options you've chosen, hopefully you agree it's a much needed improvement.
Lastly, two feedback items we received often included the wish to be able to tap the app's header after loading from a toast notification to return to news, which is now possible (but note this will only work if you launched the app from a notification). We are also now offering a silent mode which will disable toast notifications between 10pm and 7am, although the tile will continue to update.
Oh and of course we continue to address a few bugs that have popped up over time, we now get a very low number of daily crash reports unless something crazy happens (like the AT&T routing issue from last month).
Windows Phone 7 Support
It is with this release that we must announce we will be discontinuing feature updates for our Windows Phone 7 version. That does not mean we will stop supporting it and indeed we still intend to fix bugs as they pop up and will ensure that the app continues to operate as well as it did the day you downloaded it. However, now that Microsoft is slowly migrating away from Windows Phone 7 it is becoming increasingly harder to maintain both versions of the source code, particularly now that Visual Studio 2013 will cease to support Windows Phone 7 projects.
So whilst you can expect to see revisions to v4.4, we do not expect to add any new features or design updates to the app, instead we will begin to focus on refreshing the Windows Phone 8 design once we have released our Windows 8 app.
As always we welcome your feedback and suggestions through comments here or through our dedicated forum, thank you all for your continued support!