News integrators like Flipboard are great if you are looking to stay in touch with latest happenings from around the world without having to spend a lot of time. However, these apps can not serve as true replacements for official clients of popular news agencies and TV channels. Dedicated apps offer access to exclusive content, news stories that are hot off the presses and other interesting material. So, it is certainly good to see official clients of famous news services coming to Windows Phone. The BBC
apps have been around in the WP Store for quite a while now, but it has taken Al Jazeera
more than two years to come to Windows Phone after Android
. Better late than never, and the app turns out to be pretty decent as well, bringing live streaming, picture galleries and the ability to preload articles for offline viewing.
Back in November, we covered Duolingo for iOS
, and were impressed. The app is great for learning a new language, and I have been personally using it (with varying frequency) for the past few months. Thanks to Duolingo, I can now understand Spanish to a certain degree, but the app is surely not for you if you want to learn a new language just for a single trip, where only the basics will suffice. In this case, you need something like Babbel - a service that has been around on the web, iOS and Android for quite a while. It is quite refreshing to see that Babbel now has a presence on Windows Phone as well. The virtual tutor has just released separate apps for 11 languages in the WP Store. All these apps work offline, and can be useful for both quick or detailed learning.
Windows Phone’s Facebook integration has always been pretty good, thanks to its presence in the People hub, along with a decent Facebook client. While Mango users have had some complaints regarding push notifications in the past, they work pretty flawlessly on WP8. Having said that, there is a limit to the kind of content that is pushed to users via notifications. If you follow a lot of Facebook pages, there is no way of getting notified whenever there is some new activity on them. That’s where Pages
comes handy. This aptly named Windows Phone app has been designed to let users pin Facebook pages to their Start screen, and configure notifications for them. The app also offers quite a good way to discover pages and make your timeline more interesting.
Despite having some of the best cameras, Windows Phone devices have always been plagued by the lack of good photography apps to go with the hardware. While the official Instagram or even 500px apps might not have arrived for WP8 just yet, the WP Store now has some really good third-party clients for such services. Shoopix
is a 500px client that is just about perfect for casual users of the photography website. The app lets you browse through the most popular sections of 500px in a really neat interface, and even lets you download photos to your camera roll. In addition to all this, if you like the dynamic lock screen feature of Windows Phone 8, Shoopix just might prove to be the app that you have always been looking for.
Camera quality has always been a major bragging right of the Nokia Lumia series. You can point out many shortcomings in the Windows Phone platform but when it comes to hardware, Windows Phone 8 devices can certainly hold their own against most competitors. Nokia realizes this advantage, and a lot of their apps focus on image editing and photography. Once it really catches on, the whole concept of ‘lenses’ is sure to make Lumia popular among photo-freaks even more. For now, Nokia is taking steps in the right direction, and has released three photo-related, apps exclusively for Lumia devices! Glam Me
all let you make changes to your photos in one way or another, and that too without spending too much time. Read More
All bloggers and most of their avid readers must be aware of the amazingly useful Disqus
platform that has become near-ubiquitous for blog commenting. The service is great for those wishing to easily manage discussion threads on their website, and for readers who don’t want to create a new account for every blog they follow and comment on. Most major services have their smartphones apps these days, but Disqus has been a clear absentee from the app collections of all mobile platforms. Rumors of an official Disqus client have been flying around for a few days, but we are sure not many expected to see it land on Windows Phone before any other platform. The app just arrived, and is surprisingly good. You get real-time push notifications, live tile support, a complete feed of activities containing posts from those you follow and of course, a full-featured dashboard for moderators.
and DS Marketplace
have shown in the past that there is room in the Windows Phone ecosystem for alternatives to the official Microsoft Store for apps. Both the aforementioned tools, however, focus mainly on homebrew developments and other similar tweaks rather than proper apps. Lack of quality apps has plagued Windows Phone for a long time now, but WebApps
is an app that takes a novel approach towards solving this serious issue. WebApps is basically a WP Store-like collection of web apps that are compatible with WP8. Not only is WebApps a great place to discover some great services, it can also be used to bookmark and maintain a list of your favorite web apps. WebApps comes with a complete list of categories, which can help you with browsing through the collection easily. You can also easily pin any app you find to your device’s Start screen.
No matter how good your smartphone is, storage space is bound to become an issue sooner or later. Windows Phone 8 is certainly an improvement over its older counterparts, but there are a few weird issues with it as well. With storage being such a valuable commodity in devices without SD card slots, WP8 annoys its users by inexplicably filling up the space over time. We are not talking about the apps and media that you voluntarily add to your device, or even the app data that gets accumulated due to your use; there is a section by the name of ‘Other’ in the storage details, and this part of memory contains junk files that can reach a considerable size with the passage of time. There is no built-in way of cleaning this useless cache manually, but Shrink Storage
is an app that offers a clever way of getting around this problem, giving its users some extra storage space on their WP8 device in just a few steps.
It might have taken longer than expected, but Microsoft’s promise of bringing better apps to Windows Phone 8 is finally coming true. After the WhatsApp overhaul
last week, Twitter has received a significant update as well. Until now, Twitter’s Windows Phone client resembled the service’s web version rather than its smartphone counterpart, but finally the situation has been rectified, with the new update bringing a tabbed interface and better notification support. The ‘Connect’ and ‘Discover’ tabs have finally been added to the app. You can also configure lock screen notifications on WP8 devices quite easily. No Windows Phone app update is complete unless it improves the live tile, and Twitter is no exception. The app now supports a double-sided tile that shows alerts for mentions and direct messages.
has been around on Windows Phone for quite a while now, the app has never been as good as its Android and iOS counterparts. Apart from the usual interface and live tile support issues, WhatsApp (both on Mango and WP8) didn’t even have lock screen notifications. Thankfully, the app’s latest update has brought this much-needed functionality to Windows Phone. In addition to a better notification system, it is now easier to personalize the app as well, thanks to a host of new options in the app’s settings. The attachment options have seen some improvement as well, letting you share media, contacts and your location with your contacts.
Windows Phone has had an official Last.fm client
available since the pre-Mango era, but the app has a glaring omission - scrobbling. While there are other, more complicated ways of scrobbling from Windows Phone, most people end up ignoring them due to the cumbersome steps involved. iOS and Android have Last.fm’s official Scrobbler app, but the Windows Phone Store has been overlooked in this regard so far. A few third-party apps with scrobbling support that we have seen so far are either paid, or riddled with bugs. That is why the new ScrobbleMe
app might establish a loyal fan base pretty soon. The app is really simple, devoid of absolutely any bells and whistles, and offers you dead-simple Last.fm scrobbling, along with support for publishing your playlist with a certain delay, so that the scrobble list can be curated beforehand.
Almost all Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) users were frustrated at the announcement of Windows Phone 8, since it sounded like the end of major updates for WP7 devices as they weren't to get updated to WP8. However, Microsoft surprised everyone with their intentions to bump all Mango devices to WP7.8, bringing several features of WP8 to them. After months of anticipation, the Portico update has finally started rolling out, and unsurprisingly, the Nokia Lumia series is the first to get the goodies. The rest of you don’t have to despair either, since there is quite an easy method of getting Windows Phone 7.8 on any Mango device right now. If you know for a fact that the update won’t be rolled out for you in the near future, go ahead and try this rather safe method; all it requires is a simple desktop tool and some spare time.
Syncing files between two computers isn’t a novel concept and services like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive and many others
have simplified it greatly. If you want to able to access files from your PC on your smartphone; you can sync them over one of these services. The only problem here is that given the limited storage space, you can’t sync all your files; and you will always have to choose the files to sync by adding them to your cloud storage folder, or setting a custom folder to sync (offered by only a few such services). Tonido
is service with free apps available for Mac, PC, and Linux and free mobile clients for Android, iOS, Windows Phone
, and Blackberry that allows you to access all your files on any device from another. Additionally, it lets you sync 2GB of files between your devices for free. Though instead of offering both these services from the same apps, Tonido splits file access and file syncing between two different apps. Here is a simple breakdown of how you can set it all up.
Creating a simple reminder in your iPhone might help you in getting started on a project, but it is much easier getting things done when you break a big venture down into smaller and more manageable parts. This is the idea upon which the ‘Get Things Done’ (GTD) methodology of task management is based, and Chaos Control
is the practical manifestation of this method. Chaos Control has been around for Android since last August, while its presence on PC and web predates even that. Up until now, iOS was the obvious absentee in the list of platforms supported by Chaos Control. The app has finally made its way to the iPhone, offering the easy list management and syncing features that distinguish it from its competitors. You can create projects, add tasks to them, set reminders and view pending tasks in the context of your daily routine.
A disaster does not give one time to prepare and usually strikes when it is least expected. You might not be able to avoid a calamity completely, but once you are in the middle of it, timely assistance and some common sense can save countless lives. If you ever find yourself stranded somewhere due to a hurricane or earthquake, the first thing you're bound to do is reach for your cellphone to call for help or to check on your loved ones. It is for such situations that Microsoft has released HelpBridge
for iOS (Update:
Now available on Android and Windows Phone as well). This useful app lets you create groups of important contacts that you can instantly get in touch with in case of an emergency. The app lets you contact others via Facebook, email and SMS. Apart from being your aid during emergencies, HelpBridge is also a great medium for finding ways you can reach out to others who are in need. Users get recommendations for volunteering and donating to various causes, along with every necessary detail regarding the philanthropic organizations listed in the app. Read More
A lot of people thought that if Windows Phone 7 failed to make an impact in the smartphone market, this might spell the end of Microsoft’s mobile adventure. Contrary to this belief though, 2012 saw the announcement and release of Windows Phone 8. While WP8 is pretty much a whole new OS, you can’t say that it is fundamentally different from its predecessor. Unfortunately, even WP8 hasn’t fared significantly better than Mango so far, but that isn’t from lack of trying on the part of its manufacturers and people who develop apps for the Windows Phone Store. During the course of the year, the platform's app collection grew past the 100,000 mark and is now on its way to even bigger milestones. While some of the releases were rather disappointing, the overall quality of apps in the WP Store definitely seems to have improved compared to what we saw in 2011
. Here is a list of the best free Windows Phone apps that were covered here on Addictive Tips in 2012.
A memorable photo is one snapped with perfect timing to capture the complete essence of a moment. A lot of great photos are ruined by objects or other people who weren't intended to be there. Perhaps someone was trying to photo-bomb you in the background, or you just wish there was some way that ugly truck had moved away before the picture was taken. Of course you can use Photoshop or other desktop tools to fix these blemishes, but not many bother going through all that trouble if the picture was shot using a phone. If you own a Windows Phone device, Smartest Eraser
provides the easiest way of removing unwanted parts of any photo. You also get the option to edit the photos thoroughly, thanks to the zooming and ‘protect’ features offered by the app.
Live tiles are the flagship feature of Microsoft's latest operating systems and while they are handy in displaying info at a quick glance for a lot of different types of apps, they particularly shine when it comes to weather apps. Microsoft’s own weather app has a rather simple live tile, but there are many fancier options available in the Windows Phone Store that utilize live tiles to the max. Usually live tiles get updated after an hour or so, which is fine in most cases. However, if the weather of your city is really unpredictable and has the tendency to go from sunny to stormy in a matter of minutes, even live tiles can’t do enough to forewarn you. That’s where SkyMotion
can be of assistance. This new Windows Phone app provides minute-by-minute weather updates, and can tell you about a coming onslaught of the elements that might slip under the radar of an ordinary weather app.
Voice over Internet Protocol – or VoIP – is the next big revolution in the telecommunication industry. What it does, essentially, is turn analog voice signals into digital packets that can be sent over the Internet instead of going through your wireless carrier, in a way that is no different from other data that is transmitted through the Internet. It’s a lot cheaper for both the customers and the service provider, offers higher quality audio than your standard phone call and is a lot more reliable in many cases. And it’s got wireless carriers scared out of their wits. In what follows, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using VoIP over traditional telecommunication methods.
Before WP8 came out, a lot of people weren't fans of Windows Phone because it was a little too restrictive compared to its predecessor Windows Mobile, or Android.. There was no easy way of sharing media, external memory was not supported and Internet Explorer couldn't download most file types. The latest refresh of Microsoft’s mobile platform has addressed file sharing and external memory issues, but it is still not possible to download most file types while browsing on your phone. That’s why the release of GetThemAll
is good news for all Windows Phone users. This new web browser for Mango and WP8 has some comprehensive download capabilities. You can use it to grab HD videos, audio, images and other HTML5 content from any website. The app has a great download manager that lets users create folders for keeping data easily accessible.