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Windows Central Podcast 54: Apps in the Store

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Here’s a nice change from the usual endless runners of late, as a decent traffic management game is now available for Windows Phone. The company behind Traffic Frenzy, Games2Win (site) produces many short-attention-span games for iOS and Android, with this title being popular on the latter. The development house is slowly bringing over many of those games to Windows Phone, and this is one of those.

Traffic Frenzy is a free game with solid, bold graphics. Its purpose? You have to manage traffic by acting as a traffic light switcher. In theory, this sounds like the dumbest thing ever—what’s next, Teeth Brushing Frenzy? In reality, the free game is kind of a fun, no brainer.

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Better late than never. Flitsmeister, a very popular traffic analysis service in the Netherlands has just been released on Windows Phone 8. It has been available for Android, iOS, and Blackberry, but now Dutch Windows Phone users can join the fun.

Flitsmeister has advanced tracking and alert systems with a large community of over 400,000 active users. Drivers get an overview of traffic radars and congestion in the Netherlands.

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Microsoft's Bing Maps for Windows 8.1 is a breathtaking experience

The preinstalled map app within Windows 8 is quite good, but it comes nowhere near the detail and quality of map resources supplied by Google’s own mapping service. Microsoft intends to fix that idea and has just released their “Bing Maps Preview” application to the Windows Store.

Simply put from first impressions - we are impressed.

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On the heels of an official Windows Phone release of the popular traffic service Waze, a report from the well-established Israeli paper the Globe states that Google will pick up the company for $1.3 billion USD.

Google, Facebook and even Apple were all rumored to be interested in buying the Israeli-based company, with Apple gaining the most from the purchase as they could continue to distance themselves from Google and their Maps. Evidently, due to the high price though, Apple never submitted an official offer.

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Windows Phone Short Take: Rush Hour

Rush Hour by Winprovise is a handy Windows Phone app but caters to a narrowly focused audience. Rush Hour is a traffic monitoring app for the Klang Valley in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur region). Rush Hour alerts you of traffic problems to allow you the chance to re-route your travels and avoid the headaches.

The app tracks everything on Bing Maps and pulls traffic information from user reports. Rush Hour will also tap into traffic cameras throughout the region

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Windows Phone Game Review: AE 3D Motor

The Windows Phone Marketplace has several motor cross games where you can hit the dirt roads (MotoX Mayhem, Bike Mania, etc) . But what about those who prefer the flat top? AE 3D Motor is a motorcycle oriented game for your Windows Phone that has you racing up the highway, weaving in and out of traffic.

You race for as long as you can without crashing into a car, truck or semi. The further you go the higher the score. If you like motorcycle racing games and have a few minutes to blow, AE 3D Motor isn't a bad choice.

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It was a few weeks ago when Nokia and Microsoft announced that Bing Maps would be getting a bit of a backend overhaul. Specifically in two areas: new color codes for traffic and more detail on back roads.

Perhaps even more importantly, some countries which previously didn't have access to mapping data would be getting the feature in a timed rollout. All in all, 24 countries were being added to the list including Italy and the UK.

We can at least verify that those latter two now have traffic as an option on their devices. Users can simply launch Maps and tap the three-dots on the lower menu. There, the "enable traffic" option should now be available.

It's great to see such a feature comes to other regions as it's something many of us have taken for granted since Windows Phone 7 came out in 2010. If you've noticed traffic added to any of these other countries, sound off in comments: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or UAE.

via: Plaffo; Thanks Andrew, James, for UK info

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gMaps Pro for Windows Phone: Video Overview

gMaps Pro for Windows Phone was recently re-introduced to the Marketplace. Due to gMaps Pro being re-introduced to the Marketplace, previous versions aren't eligible for future updates.  To help those who will need to re-purchase gMaps Pro, the developer offered it as a free app this past Friday.  I managed to miss that day but as the app looked so good I parted with my money and made the purchase.

As I have been so impressed I thought the app was worthy of a video demonstration or walk through to give everyone a feel for the app. As you can see there are some great features built into the application and it looks good too.  Features include:

  • Discover places or use local search
  • See your friends and share location with Google Latitude
  • Navigation with direction and rerouting
  • Multilingual. Supports more than 40 Google languages. Fully localized for 8 languages
  • Layers Weather, Bikes and all other maps
  • Share map by email/message

The latest update, version 1.23, includes 'street view' which seems to work pretty well.  

Although Bing search on Windows Phone does a similar job I much prefer gMaps Pro. There is a free version of gMaps available but it is ad supported, which may not appeal to everyone. The gMaps Pro version is currently running $1.99 and a worthy purchase if you ask us.

You can find the free, ad-supported version of gMaps here and the ad-free version of gMaps Pro here (has a trial version) at the Windows Phone Marketplace.


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Today Nokia has announced that their mapping data, specifically traffic info and geocoding ability (more on that in a bit) is powering Microsoft's Bing Mapping services. While this collaboration has been in the works since the Nokia-Microsoft partnership was announced, we're now seeing the results of it.

In short, if you launch your Bing Maps (either on the web or your Windows Phone) and enable Traffic, you'll notice two things right away:

  1. New color codes - green, yellow and red (maybe black?)
  2. More detail - Where once only major roads have it, now we're seeing our local streets with live traffic data

Nokia is now offering what was before only available in their Nokia Maps app to everyone who uses Bing. What's more, that info is available in 24 countries including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, UK and US.

Besides traffic, there's also geocoding which is something that's very important and here's why: geocoding algorithms take latitude and longitude information and connect them to a "readable address"--basically that whole ability to translate your GPS coordinates into a usable street number and name. Many apps use it, including what powers Foursquare or any app that sends your location e.g. WhatsApp. In theory now, it should be more accurate and help with directions too.

All in all this is great news for everyone on Windows Phone and anyone who uses Bing. We're looking forward to more of this Nokia-Microsoft partnership.

Read more at Nokia Conversations

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Arnaud Michelet, developer behind the France traffic app on Windows Phone, has provided some statistics regarding device usage and the above graph shows something interesting (particularly for anti-WP Nokia fans). Nokia has been pushing hard, not just only in the UK, but France too. This shows with the line for the Lumia 800 shooting up through the roof, and still climbing steeply after taking the lead from the Samsung Omnia 7.

Should this chart be taking into account as a valid indicator on how well the Lumia 800 is performing in France, it also shows that majority of new owners are migrating from other platforms, since the massive incline is not met by a steep drop across the board for first generation handsets. While these aren't official numbers from Nokia (though they back up previous sales reports), it's worth checking out and feeling good about the data in-time for the festive holiday.

Source: MonWindowsPhone

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Yes, NAVIGON is having a big day today. They've released their famous GPS mapping software to the masses and we'll have our video/hands on up in a few. Until then, you can grab their ad-supported Traffic4All app in the Marketplace (or pay $1.49 for no ads).

The app is powered by INRIX, of which we already have a free version in the Marketplace. So why use Traffic4All? Dare we say it's much better than INRIX's attempt--you're getting NAVIGON's maps, INRIX's traffic info and the layout is much more smooth and easier to manage.

We really dig the forecast option, or more specifically, how it's implemented. Scrolling is also nice and smooth and the options seem top notch. Full feature list:

  • List view, arranged by distance to traffic congestion, plus display of report date and reliability
  • Traffic density forecasts based on data records
  • Community reports
  • One-click function to reveal or hide disturbances shown on the map
  • Map zoom option
  • Full-screen mode
  • Map view in portrait and landscape format
  • “Current traffic density” – icon to report incorrect route colouring
  • Advertising-free version available to purchase
  • Languages: German, English, French, Dutch
  • Coverage: most of Europe + USA + Canada

We really like this app so far and are looking forward to putting it through some tests. Until the, pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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INRIX Traffic gets Mango update too

INRIX, the popular and free traffic app which is on various platforms, has been bumped to v3.0 already. We've been playing with it for the last few days (preview) and now you can too as it's live in the Marketplace.

New features, for Mango devices only, include:

  • Live Tiles: Mango's vast improvement to Live Tiles gives consumers the ability to bookmark pages from apps like INRIX Traffic on their Windows phone home screen for quick reference when they’re on the go. Drivers can save traffic map views around common destinations like home or work or bookmark a stretch of road along their route for one touch access to real-time traffic conditions on the most critical part of their commute.
  • Local Search: Integration of INRIX Traffic with Bing Search. Users enter a place of interest in Bing search and through the new apps area under local instantly pull up a map showing real-time traffic around that location.
  • International Language Support. INRIX Traffic is offered in all markets where Windows Phones are sold and available in Spanish, Italian, French, German, Hungarian and Dutch.

The Live Tile isn't really "live" though. Basically the app allows you to create multiple tiles with titles, with those tiles being specific map areas--but they don't show any live info, nor flip as far as we can tell. Still, the addition of that and other features including traffic-forecasting, make INRIX a great addition to your phone.

Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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INRIX Traffic gets an update, looks into the future

We mentioned INRIX Traffic last month (here's our video overview) when it was released over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It's a nifty little app to show you where traffic problems are occurring in your area. INRIX Traffic pulls traffic information from commercial fleets, in-dash GPS units and other consumer devices (over 5 billion data sources). INRIX Traffic users also contribute to the data stream by sending anonymous "GPS Speed" data to the INRIX servers which is digested to determine traffic flow.

Well, tomorrow (8/10/2011) INRIX is set to release an update for INRIX Traffic. Version 2.0 will not only tweak things under the hood but also add the following features to the mix.

Traffic Forecasts: Look up to 8 hours ahead to see what you can expect when you hit the road. This features helps drivers determine the best time to leave based on how traffic conditions are expected to impact travel times.

Quick Reporting: Report accidents and police activity along your route to help improve the system's reporting and to help other drivers avoid congestion, save time and travel safely.

Landscape Mode: Now you won't be stuck in the portrait frame of mind. With the update, INRIX Traffic will have landscape support to add to the versatility.

For those already enjoying INRIX Traffic, look for the update sometime tomorrow.   If you need help with avoiding traffic issues, INRIX Traffic is worth checking out.  INRIX Traffic is a free, ad-free app and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Traffic and Travel UK available and updated

Planning a holiday to the United Kingdom anytime soon? Based in the UK and just need some help in avoiding traffic headaches? Traffic and Travel UK is available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace that may help you get around the UK a little easier. Billed as the most comprehensive app for finding information on Road, Train and other travel disruptions throughout the United Kingdom.

Traffic and Travel UK was recently updated to version 2.1 bringing traffic cameras in Wales, improvements to the push notifications to the apps Live Tile, and with the Quick Traffic feature you can see a listing of traffic instances in order of distance from your current location. Additional features of Traffic and Travel UK include:

  • The only app providing specific and detailed travel information for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, London, and Sheffield area.
  • Road maps and lists detailing traffic information in the UK.
  • Live Tile Push notifications displaying traffic updates from your selected region without opening the app.
  • View specific Traffic and Roadworks information for UK roads by Motorway or A road.
  • View Traffic Cameras in Scotland, Northern Ireland (Belfast Area), Wales, and Sheffield area.
  • London Traffic information selectable for each area of the city including roadworks and congestion charging information.
  • Access Transport for London ‘s 182 CCTV cameras on major London roads.
  • National Rail disruption information, UK Stations Map, and find your nearest by distance to current location.
  • London Underground and DLR line status and delays information for now and the coming weekend as well as maps of stations, and distance to current location.
  • Searchable list of 850+ Private Hire Taxi firms in greater London area with details of each company.
  • View map of piers, and timetables for Thames Riverboats.
  • UK ferry port map.

There is a free trail version available for Traffic and Travel UK with the full version running $1.29. You can find both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Dan for the tip!

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Getting around with INRIX Traffic [Video]

INRIX Traffic has hit the Windows Phone Marketplace. INRIX is a traffic information app that will highlight reported traffic delays in your area. INRIX pulls from over 5 billion data points from commercial fleets, in-dash GPS units and other consumer devices to collect traffic information to make your travels as smooth flowing as possible.

INRIX Traffic also pulls anonymous data from users to determine traffic flow. The information is layed out nicely on INRIX's maps with highlighted roadways that indicate trouble spots (e.g green highlight for fast/smooth flow, red highlights for stop and go traffic). Additionally, traffic cone icons are available to pull up additional information on the traffic conditions.

Additional features include:

  • Real-time traffic conditions: Quickly view real-time traffic flow maps in cities across 20+ countries; this includes freeways and arterial roadways.
  • View traffic incidents – including construction, accidents, and live police.
  • Local events: Games, concerts, construction and road closures can significantly affect driving times; knowing when and where these happen can help you better plan your route.

INRIX Traffic is a free app available here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Armored Drive - Review

Elbert Perez has developed his fair share of Windows Phone games. From Steam Castle to Impossible Shoota to Traffic Cop, his efforts have produced some interesting, entertaining games. One of his latest titles, Armored Drive, continues in this tradition.

It's a road race, dodge traffic and balls falling from the sky type game. It reminds me of a Spy Hunter game or Steel Avenger but unique enough not to feel like "just another road game where you have to dodge traffic and fight off the enemy".

To read more on Armored Drive, zip on past the break.

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Traffic - App Spotlight

Like those sliding block puzzles? If so, Traffic might be a Windows Phone 7 game just for you.

Traffic is being billed as an addictive sliding block puzzle based off Rush Hour, a popular iPhone game. The goal is to help the red car get out of the parking lot by rearranging the other cars and trucks.  The Windows Phone game includes 7 levels of difficulty with over 200 original levels within each. There's enough gaming with Traffic to drive any Parking Lot Valet crazy.

Traffic is a free game for your Windows Phone and you can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Review: e-Mobile Traffic


Do you have a commute to work through frustrating traffic? Would you like to have real time traffic updates, including accidents and traffic flow? Then you should start looking at how your WM phone can help you with this. Today it is a 50 / 50 chance that any given WM phone has built in GPS. We wanted to take a look at a possible Traffic solution for those who do not have built in GPS in their WM phone. To see if e-Mobile Traffic ver 1 is the smartest $19.99 you ever spent to save you hours in your daily commute or if it is a gimmicky option that is not worth the money... read on.

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Free Mobile Traffic Cams for WM

Here's something that is sort of under the radar: evidently a company called Mobileyes has teamed up with various local news networks to release customized live Traffic cam apps.

Available for for WM Pro and Standard devices, you can download the app for your region and then select via various sub-menus locality and specific highways.

Word of caution: no 320x320 support, so while it works, we get that blocky look. We'll be dropping them a note in their feedback box. Not sure about those crazy VGA devices you folks are sporting these days. It appears that this uses some type of .NET programming as the app itself is tiny and seems pretty generic. One other criticism: we're not really sure how to find all the separate downloads as Mobileyes' website is a bit odd to navigate. We'll list a few of the major ones below.

What is neat though is although I downloaded the NY version, you can go under Settings and select "Travel Mode" which basically un-hides all the other major U.S. cities, so you are not technically restricted to your region. Overall the quality is pretty nice and the selection of cameras is impressive. All for free.

New York; Connecticut; D.C.; Los Angles; MyFoxMobile; Detroit

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Realtime traffic from the likes of Windows Live Search or Google Maps will tell you what traffic is like now. But honestly, what you really want to know is what traffic will be like when you're in that spot. Enter Inrix, which just released a consumer traffic client that puts regular traffic clients to shame.

Got a trip you're going to be making this weekend? Inrix knows whether there'll be a big basketball game or road construction on that route and will be able to guess that you don't really want to go through that particular part of the city on Saturday. Nice. Compatible with WM5 and 6, both Smartphone and PPC (erm, Standard and Pro for WM6), it's 40 bucks at Handango.

Basically, it gathers data from thousands of various sources and then runs Bayesian statistical analysis models to identify traffic patterns. Based on this data, it is possible to actually predict where the congestion will take place, allowing a user -that's us- to circumvent the traffic. It also analyzes
event data (such as sports games, exhibitions, etc.), school schedules, weather forecasts, and more.

Read: Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine Expert: Alan Zaks - I wish I'd brought it to CTIA!

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