Pepper is a popular Windows Phone app here in the UK (www.pepper.so). The service is essentially a music social network that helps you check out live events and gigs across the country with friends you know and share interests with. Venues and events are listed with times, artists and other details that make it that much easier to get down and enjoy local music.
Also available for iOS and Windows 8, Pepper remains within the Microsoft ecosystem using Windows Azure for backend systems and releasing new updates to Windows 8 and Windows Phone first. Since the Windows 8 version of Pepper has been released, the team behind the service has worked hard to completely rewrite the Windows Phone application, sharing code from the desktop app.
While the complete rewrite is by far the largest change in the latest release, we're also looking at an array of new features. Login with Facebook integration is now possible when starting up the app for the first time. The company will connect through your account to open a Pepper profile, but fear not as no sensitive information is stolen. Once you're connected and logged in, you're good to go.
The update focuses on improving the social features, as well as the overall UI. If you're a frequent user and have only just updated to version 18.104.22.168, you'll notice the new look and feel. Don't fear that change is bad, however. The structure of the app itself remains untouched, but optimised. Searching through Pepper is now much more streamlined and it now performs more efficiently, as well as sporting HERE Maps integration when looking at locations.
Trending artists enables you to stay on top of who's popular and worth checking out. This list (pictured above) is regularly updated to reflect which artists the Pepper community is interacting with the most. When not stalking your favourite bands, to keep up-to-date with friends' interactions, the activity feed will show the following:
- New Friends
- Events added to calendar
When actually visiting an event and watching a band perform live, one can "check-in" in then "shout" about the event, which effectively opens up a discussion thread where other attendees can engage in conversation, sharing photos and more. When not at an event, SoundCloud support has been added with over 55,000 tracks available to play through the app.
Adding artists and venues as favourites will open up new possibilities with the service taking what you like or love (the rating system is out of three stars) and promoting events that you're more likely to enjoy. The best part about the service is that it works on the web too. If you share an artist or event and whoever clicks the link on social media websites doesn't have the Pepper app, they'll be taken to the website and the respective profile page (with an icon to launch the apps).
Artists are also tagged when sharing from Pepper.
This update is only for Windows Phone 8 for the time being. The Windows Phone 7.x version will be updated within the coming weeks. You can download Pepper from the Windows Phone Store (also available for Windows 8). It's only targeting the UK but we'll have some rather exciting news for US consumers (as well as other markets) later this week.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.