Tag Archives: Windows Phone 7 Apps

Official London 2012 Olympics Apps

London 2012 Olympics Clock
London 2012 Olympics Clock (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Countdown has begun and the Olympics are right around the corner. Here is a list of Olympics apps for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.

Apps for Watching the Olympics

BBC Olympics App – The BBC app is a FREE comprehensive app with everything you could ever want to know about the London 2012 Olympics. It is available in iOS and Android flavors however, it appears for now only the iOS app is the only one that will let you watch streaming video. A screenshot can be seen below.

BBC Olympics App
BBC Olympics App

NBC “Live Extra” App – This app will give you live access to the Olympics however, there are some stipulations. To quote their website, “Access is free for subscribers to a cable, satellite or telco TV service package that includes CNBC and MSNBC.”

NBC Live Extra
NBC Live Extra

 Official London 2012 Olympic Mobile Apps

The London 2012 Olympics have come out with a few mobile apps of their own. See below for screenshots, descriptions and download links.

Official London 2012 Join In App – If you plan on being in London to watch the games, then this is the app for you. In their own words this app is a “mobile guide to help you plan, enjoy and share your Games experience”. This is a FREE app.

 London 2012 Join In app
London 2012 Join In app

The London 2012 Results App – This app is probably the one you’ll find most useful if you’re watching the games from the comfort of your own home. They describe the app by saying,”The Official London 2012 Results app provides all the latest news, schedules and results, allowing users to keep up-to-date with the latest action live across all Olympic sports and Paralympic sports.” It is a free app and so far the only one to include the Windows Phone family.

 London 2012 Results app
London 2012 Results app

Official London 2012 mobile game – Just for fun, London 2012 has launched an official mobile game that features 9 Olympic events. It comes in iOS and Android flavors and has a free and premium version. Visit their Facebook page to  learn more about it.

Official Mobile Game
Official Mobile Game

Keep checking back with Techie Buzz as we continue to update you on the latest mobile apps surrounding the Olympics!

Nokia Provides More Evidence of Being the “real” Windows Phone Maker

Nokia Lumia 900

On May 8, at the CTIA Wireless 2012 show in New Orleans, Nokia announced that they are partnering with a bunch of top-tier brands to bring their various apps and games to Windows Phone, with a lot of those apps and games being exclusive to Nokia’s Lumia line of Windows Phones.

Some of the highlights from their press release:

PGA Tour (exclusive to Lumia for 12 months)

In addition to live tournament scoring, highlights and player information, the app provides interactive, augmented coverage of select events and holes, showing each player’s exact position and scoring information. This allows fans to “get inside the ropes” and follow all players competing on the PGA TOUR.

ESPN (exclusive to Lumia until May 2013)

This app already exists on the Lumia devices, and is in addition to the ESPN ScoreCenter app that is available to all Windows Phones. The Lumia app will see some functionality updates and in addition, the ESPN Fantasy Football app (another Lumia exclusive) will be made available later in the Fall to align with the NFL season.

Rovio

After a back-and-forth on whether they are going to build Angry Birds Space for Windows Phone or not, Rovio is now building a dedicated design and development team to create games for Lumia and other Windows Phone devices. That’s quite a scoop for Nokia from the rather negative start that the game maker had with Microsoft and Windows Phone.

Nokia and Rovio will partner to develop innovative new consumer products and content exclusively for Nokia Lumia smartphones, alongside cross platform multi-channel integrated marketing initiatives.

EA

EA will be bringing some of their most popular titles to Lumia and other Windows Phones, including FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Jam, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®, Mirror’s Edge and Yahtzee to add to the several titles they already have in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Groupon (exclusive to Lumia for 6 months)

There is already an official Groupon app which is going to get some major updates, including a cool and innovative augmented reality feature to find deals near you.

Tripdots (exclusive to Lumia for 3 months)

Tripdots helps vehicle owners optimize their driving behaviors while connecting with other vehicle owners and sharing driving efficiency achievements via social networks. The app lets users monitor the operation of their vehicles to enable cost savings through better understanding fuel economy.

PayPal

Yet another “key” app missing in the Windows Phone ecosystem is for the popular PayPal service. PayPal is going to work with Nokia to not only bring their app to Windows Phone, but also use functionality like Live Tiles to enhance the user experience.

AOL Entertainment Hub (exclusive to Lumia for 3 months)

Whether you want to listen to one of 55,000 radio stations via SHOUTcast, stream free music albums with AOL’s Listening Party or view Trailers and Movie listings, the AOL Entertainment Hub delivers everything you need.

Yet another app where Live Tiles are going to be used to enhance the user experience:

“The live tiles on Nokia Lumia helped us create an awesome app that makes it easy to stay in the know on what’s happening in Film, TV, Radio, Concerts and Music right from your home screen,” said Sol Lipman, Director of Mobile First products at AOL.

TIME magazine

Utilizing the stunning Windows Phone UI, the app will enable users to view TIME.com content, receive breaking news alerts, watch rich media content including video and share stories via the Windows Phone People Hub, while delivering the latest news and stories to users first via Live Tiles.

Newsweek – The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast app delivers the latest content through Live Tiles and combines the unique style of The Daily Beast with the Windows Phone UI to deliver a stunning experience. For users who only have minutes to digest the latest news, the app also delivers The Cheat Sheet – your one stop must have reads from across the world – uniquely designed for Windows Phone.

Box app for Windows Phone

Box, another oft-requested app, will finally come to Windows Phone with support for nine languages.

 

Short Review: Skype Beta For Windows Phone 7

Yesterday during Nokia’s keynote at the ongoing Mobile World Congress 2012 Microsoft released a beta version of Skype for Windows Phone 7. It took the company a while to come up with the version and there is some room for improvement. I downloaded the app and gave it a short try, here’s what I’ve found.

The good:

  • Can be used on first-gen Windows Phone 7 devices
  • Does not require a front-facing camera
  • Pleasant interface (animations for the splash screen and notification are subtle and nice)
  • App supports landscape mode for chat
  • Panoramic navigation within the video call—this is pretty cool

Now for the bad:

  • The app does not run in the background; you’re online as long as the app is open
  • No push notifications

The app’s inability to run in the background is a deal break. However, being beta I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two features in the final version. Here are some screenshots of the app:

 

The audio calling and chat interfaces:

Skype WP7

Windows Phone Gets Foursquare Menus Before iOS [4th & Mayor Updated]

Last week I wrote about how Foursquare is now expanding and setting itself to compete with Yelp. The Foursquare Explore and restaurant menus features introduced to the web (and subsequently to the Android app) is quite promising.

When Foursquare introduced the restaurant menu feature for Android, I cringed. There was a voice deep down within me that said, “Oh well, WP7 won’t be getting any love soon.” But to my surprise, 4th & Mayor released an update yesterday that brings menus to Windows Phone 7. Within a week of opening push notifications to users with v3.1, 4th & Mayor v3.2 adds restaurant menus & checkins using QR codes.

While Foursquare has an official app for Windows Phone 7, the app isn’t as good as the widely popular 4th & Mayor. The developer behind 4th & Mayor is Jeff Wilcox, a senior developer at Microsoft. For a brief period, Foursquare directed users to 4th & Mayor as the official client. In my opinion, 4th and Mayor is one of the best apps on the platform and probably a superior Foursquare client on any mobile platform.

Timely updates to apps with new features and more apps is what Windows Phone needs.

EA To Bring Need for Speed Hot Pursuit To Windows Phone 7

Towards the end of 2011, I went on a rant against EA and their support for Windows Phone 7. It was around the time when Microsoft and their partners announced a new range of Windows Phone 7 handsets. A year ago with the first wave of devices, EA announced 4 titles for the platform. I continue to be a fan of the Need for Speed series and while I may not be as hardcore today as I was, I enjoy the game a lot more than any other racing game I’ve tried. Need for Speed Undercover was among my first purchases when I got my Samsung Focus and I still play it from time to time. Today, on the official Windows Phone blog, Microsoft shared details about 4 new games headed to Windows Phone 7 in February, the first title in their list?—Need for Speed Hot Pursuit.

Tim McDowd, writing for Microsoft says the game will have 24 tracks (day & night) and 48 career events, doesn’t sound like a lot but I am not complaining. I expect the game to be priced at around $6 ($5.99 or $6.99) like most popular Xbox LIVE titles. McDowd shared just one teaser screenshot from the game:

Along with NFS HP, first person shooter fans should be excited about Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell availability on the platform. Toy Soliders: Boot Camp and BulletAsylum are the other two games.

Windows Phone Apps of the Week

Every week (and sometimes I skip!) I pick three of my favorite Windows Phone apps. I include both paid and free apps as well as games. If you are an app developer and want me to feature your app here, drop me a line.

News360

News360

News360 is an intuitive app that delivers news headlines and stories from more than 300+ English newspapers. The stories are personalized to your location and global news sources are collected by sophisticated linguistic algorithms.

You can share your feeds with friends via Facebook or Twitter. You can also add the people or companies you want to track to your Favorites. News360 is a comprehensive app for news junkies, and at the price of nothing, it should be a favorite of many.

News + Weather | Free | <1MB | Download

Perfect Scan

Perfect Scan

Perfect Scan turns your Windows Phone device into a portable scanner for documents, receipts, business cards, whiteboards, etc. You can email your scanned documents or upload to Dropbox and Google Docs.

Perfect Scan features automatic perspective correction and allows image enhancement like cropping, rotation, and color adjustments. The ability to add text to your documents is useful to fill out forms or sign documents. Perfect Scan is an easy app with a seamless interface and allows both PDF and JPEG formats. Although, there are several similar apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace, Perfect Scan is better in terms of processing and output scans. However, most users would miss support for SkyDrive.

Tools + Productivity | $2.99 | 1MB | Download

Kinectimals

Kinectimals

Cuteness has arrived on Windows Phone! Visit the island of Lemuria and spend time with your very own cub. While you play with and care for your cub, you might just fall in love. Kinectimals features delightful animations and is a visual delight.

If you already play Kinectimals on Kinect for Xbox 360, Kinectimals on Windows Phone would allow you to unlock five new cubs on your console.   The mobile game though allows newer ways to play with your cub than the console version.

Games | $2.99 | 85 MB | Download

Paid-Apps On Windows Phone Microsoft Journalists Recommend & Use

When Microsoft announced the apps worth $25 free with new Windows Phone 7 devices I wondered what apps I would’ve bought. I looked at my list of installed apps and there weren’t many that I bought. I searched the marketplace for apps I might want to buy, I surprisingly didn’t find many. I then decided to ask some of my peers from the Microsoft beat as to what apps they use. Here’s a list of apps (both paid and free) suggested by those who follow Microsoft everyday.

Adam Lein at PocketNow (PocketNow.com  @adamzea)

Daniel Rubino at WPCentral (WPCentral.com  @malatesta77)

He’s behind my favorite Windows Phone blog and he sent me a long list of apps he likes. Here are the paid ones:

  • BoxFiles for Dropbox ($1.29) — A Dropbox (and SkyDrive) client; there’s a free version  (ad supported without SkyDrive support)  too.
  • Fuse ($1.29) — News reader
  • Weave ($3) — RSS reader that has a free version as well.
  • Thumba Photo Editor ($1) — the best $1 you’d ever spend on an app. It’s like Photoshop on mobile.
  • WeatherLive  ($1.50) — I personally use AccuWeather, it has ads, is free and the live tile works.
  • Garmin StreetPilot  ($35, no kidding!) — expensive navigation but if you’re a fan of Garmin’s devices it might be worth it .
  • Handyscan ($2.5) — the app acts as a scanner and document manager. Scanned documents can be uploaded to Dropbox, SkyDrive or saved as a PDF and emailed. There’s a free version too.
  • IM+ Pro ($5) — Multi protocol chat client that has a free version too. Gtalk, Skype and a bunch of others. I’d still prefer Mango’s native Facebook integration for Facebook chat.
  • NextGen Reader  ($2) — a Google Reader client
  • Ffffound  ($1) — a WP7 app for the ffffound.com blog, brings you inspirational and creative images.

Tom Warren of WinRumors  (WinRumors.com  @TomWarren)

Techie Buzz has learnt that Tom Warren would have you pay for only two apps:

  • Network Dashboard  ($0.99) —  Network Dashboard is a very handy utility. It’s on my useful apps list as well. The app now costs $0.99 but was initially free. A simple app that creates live tiled shortcuts for WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth and Airplane mode. The live tiles have multiple templates and the app will even remind you to turn the WiFi or 3G ON/OFF.  (Toggle is a free alternative.)
  • Pictures Lab  ($3) —  Pictures Lab is a photo manipulation app. It lets you apply filters, frames etc., the usual stuff.

Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet (ZDNet @maryjofoley), Scott Lovegrove (@scottisafool) and Kip (@kipkniskern) from LiveSide (LiveSide.net)

When I asked MJF, she had an interesting answer, she said was a person of few apps and she’d be willing to pay for apps local to her city. The one example she had was museum guides. For her, games aren’t very exciting either. Now if I look at Adam’s list, he has 2 apps and 3 games. Scott and Kip both said they didn’t buy a of lot apps (Scott bought 1). When I looked at my list, I bought only two apps—Thumba Photo Editor and Thumba Cam. I did however buy a few games (NFS, Assassin’s Creed, Angry Birds, Flight Control, Fruit Ninja, PES and Revolution).

I decided to look at the iTunes top 10 paid apps list and I wasn’t surprised to see 8 games and just 2 apps. Android however, had 7 apps and just 3 games. The thing about Android’s list is that, of the 7 apps, 1 was a music player (probably the default player sucks?), a ROM manager (for those who love root access), an alternate keyboard (maybe like the music player, the keyboard sucked too), a File Manager (yea, well, it’s Android…) and a widget manager (I don’t even want to start on that). The thing is, the default Android setup (UI/UX) till ICS looked pretty bad to me compared to Windows Phone & even the iOS. All this in addition to Android not being a great gaming device, perhaps, would explain the list.

I wonder whether mobile applications actually are great revenue generators when there is no subscription involved.

Windows Phone Apps of the Week

Every week I pick three of my favorite Windows Phone apps. I include both paid and free apps as well as games. If you are an app developer and want me to feature your app here, drop me a line.

Yammer

Yammer

If you are on Yammer, you really wanted this app. If you aren’t, you still won’t bother. Yammer is a private, secure social network for your company. We, at Techie Buzz, are big fans of Yammer and we use it to connect with other authors and editors to share ideas and broadcast information. Plus we bitch about other blogs.

The Windows Phone app works well, and includes Live Tiles notification for new messages. The performance could be better and you’ll note sluggishness if your network is fairly active with frequent posts. One big annoyance of the app is the inability to view files attached with the posts, including images and documents.

Business | Free | 1MB | Download

Jet Car Stunts WP

jet-car-stunts

Jet Car Stunts is an addictive, 3D driving game with massive jumps, mid-air hoops, floating platforms, spiral roadways,and outlandish maneuvers in impossible environments. Jet Car Stunts for Windows Phone features over 70 levels spread across three game modes:

  • Platforming – Just get to the finish line
  • Time Trial – Race against the clock
  • Freestyle – Perform stunts for score

Jet Car Stunts is not the usual car racing game but tests your stunt skills. The game gets interesting as you figure out new moves and stunts to execute, and of course needs a lot of patience. While the controls are pretty good, the game graphics are nothing to write home about. Great game, and worth the price.

Racing + Flying | $2.99 | 28MB | Download

The Guardian

guardian

I checked twice if the app is really good or I’m just blown away by the colorful Live Tiles for news on my Start screen. The Guardian app for Windows delivers all the latest news and best content from the Guardian and Observer to your Windows Phone in a highly customizable app.

The app allows you to read news stories, watch videos, listen to podcasts (on background audio too), and browse picture galleries while on the move. The app allows you to add multiple Live Tiles to your start screen; different colored tiles for different news categories. It beats my why the developers haven’t allowed the app to run as a background task so that the Live Tiles can update automatically.

News + Weather | Free | <1MB | Download

ChevronWP7: Windows Phone Unlocker Now Live

ChevronWP7 Labs

ChevronWP7 Labs

The ChevronWP7 team launched the ChevronWP7 Labs site today. This site provides a tool which allows anybody to unlock their Windows Phone so they can load applications which are not in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

If you are not a Windows Phone registered developer, there is no (easy) way for you to sideloadan application. Sideloading is the act of bypassing the Windows Phone Marketplace to load applications on your device. Now enthusiasts and hobbyists can sideload applications like Screencapture v3 on their device without registering as an AppHub developer with Microsoft.

ChevronWP7 is the brainchild of Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng, who had earlier released a hack which enabled the same functionality via undocumented APIs. That hack was later pulled by the team, which they said, was based on Microsoft’s direction.

Despite that move, the team’s relationship with Microsoft remained positive. In fact, Microsoft developer relations team invited the ChevronWP7 team to Redmond to talk about the best way to support the enthusiast community without possibly breaking warranty and making the phone unusable. ChevronWP7 Labs is the result of the cooperation.

All you need is a Windows Live ID (for authentication purposes only), $9 and a Windows Phone device. After paying the fee, and downloading the tool, the phone is unlocked so you can deploy any application you want to on your device. If you get to a point where you have an app you would like to publish, it would have to be done with the AppHub, which requires a $99 USD/year fee. ChevronWP7 Labs even has a step on their site, which enables de-activation of the ChevronWP7 lock so you can developer-unlock the device.

Step 1: Paypal

Step 1: Paypal

Step 2: Unlock tool

Step 2: Unlock tool

This is a very good move (originally spearheaded by Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Developer Evangelism) by Microsoft to encourage and support enthusiasts in the Windows Phone community. With this tool, and the fact that it is inexpensive, jailbreakingis not necessary on the Windows Phone platform.

Congratulations to the ChevronWP7 team, and a big thank you for doing this, from an enthusiast!

Update: I had a quick chat with Chris Walsh on Twitter about ChevronWP7. Interestingly, they are going to have a place to list homebrew apps, and anyone who has an unlocked device will be able to sideload those apps, not just ChevronWP7-unlocked. More good news!

 

Microsoft India Offers Free Windows Phones to Developers and Students

Windows-PhoneThanks to the availability of cheap Android handsets, smartphone usage in India has exploded over the past couple of years. Now, Microsoft is looking to make its presence felt. As a starter it is trying to woo the developer community, who are often the early adopters and opinion makers. Earlier today, it announced the new I unlock Joy’ initiative under which developers and students can win free Windows Phone handsets and other gifts.

Mr. Moorthy Uppaluri, General Manager, Developer Partner Evangelism, Microsoft India said, India is a vibrant developer market, and we see a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around the availability of marketplace for customers in India. We believe that opening up this marketplace will provide the developer community in India with an opportunity to showcase creativity. He added, The best part about Windows Phone Marketplace is that developers will be able to use familiar development tools and technologies. They create global market opportunities for themselves and reach out to a large user base.

This program is already available to developers and will conclude on March 30, 2012. The main offer has three categories:

Submit and Receive: Developers get a chance to receive a Windows Phone by submitting three distinct, original and non-trivial Windows Phone applications.

Port 2 Apps and Receive: Developers submitting two Windows Phone applications that are ported from existing Android and iPhone applications will get to receive a Windows Phone.

Women Special: The first hundred women developers to submit one Windows Phone application will qualify to receive a Windows Phone each. The applications can be based on entertainment, fashion, leisure, sports, recreation or travel themes.

In addition to these categories there is also a special offer for students. Each student to submit a Windows Phone application will receive a Merit Certificate, a Windows Phone T-Shirt and a 2GB USB flash drive. Students submitting four apps will additionally receive a Windows Phone. Submissions for the student category will close on December 18, 2011. Any app submitted under this initiative will be considered as a valid entry only after it passes Windows Phone Marketplace certification testing.