Windows Phone 8.1 has introduced transparent tiles, which means that you can now finally set a background image, a wallpaper if you will, that floated under the tiles on your Windows Phone start screen. The best part about this implementation is that even if you scroll, the image continues to float under the tiles giving off a really nice parallax effect.
Continue reading App: Transparency Tiles Puts The Wallpaper First On Your Windows Phone 8.1 Device
With the launch of Nokia’s Lumia devices in India, the Windows Phone ecosystem is just about setting started in India and there is some very good news already. The Windows Phone Marketplace has just hit 50,000 apps, but numbers don’t say much when apps you use daily aren’t available on the platform.
Thankfully, all of that is about to change. A bunch of free locally relevant apps for users in India has just hit the Marketplace and all of them are well designed and must haves.
- NDTV: The app does what you would expect, news, live tiles, live streams from NDTV 24×7, NDTV India, NDTV Profit and NDTV GoodTimes. Also present are photo galleries, cricket scorecards and market watch sections. You can also choose to live stream just the audio.
- NDTV Good Times: The app from India’s leading lifestyle channel. Lets you watch latest featured videos on varied topics like food, cuisine, travel, fashion. Also lets you catch up on previous episodes of your favorite shows like Highway on My Plate, Yogasutra, Bollywood Confidential, Chakhle India, Band Baja Barat and many more. Also present are sections on sections on travel, luxury, gadgets, fashion and wellness.
- Times Of India: I had already demoed this app when it was in development and I’m glad to say its finally available. It brings breaking news and coverage of national, international, city, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, business, health, science and technology topics. Also present are live cricket scores and a complete scorecard; local news from more than 30 cities; latest movie reviews by critics as well as readers; photo galleries; and top videos from news, business, sports, entertainment and lifestyle categories.
- Economic Times: The sister app for TOI, the business paper of the Times group.
- IBN Live: News, streamed content, live tiles, playback of popular shows like Face The Nation, Devil’s Advocate and The Week That Wasn’t.
- Book My Show: One app I was waiting for, makes looking up movie & cinema listings, synopsis & reviews a breeze. You can also carry out bookings from the phone using secure mobile payments options. Even lets you pick your seat and redeem offers.
- timesPoynt: A free application powered by data from timescity.com, provides users with the unique ability to search their local area for events, movies, restaurants and nightlife. timesPoynt provides users with the ability to move beyond discovery of their local area to click-to-call businesses, get directions, browse listing websites, send details to a friend or add listings to their calendar or address book. timesPoynt also features a fully integrated weather homescreen and the ability to search for long-term forecasts.
- yapf: It builds on the Google or Bing POI database to find places nearby by by searching a set of predefined categories or by manual search. Features augmented reality to view your results through your phone camera. You can also pin the search tile to the home screen for quick access, or pin a single place and the live tile will update with the distance to it.
- India Today: The India Today application allows users to view up-to-date news articles, images, videos and live TV served through the India Today Network. The application is powered by India Today, a popular news magazine. The app consists of latest & breaking news, sports news, political news, cricket updates, entertainment news, Bollywood & Hollywood news, movie reviews, celebrity interviews, images and videos.
- Business Today: India Today’s sister app, the Business Today application allows users to view up-to-date news articles, images, videos and Stock updates served through the India Today Network. The application is powered by Business Today, India’s no. 1 business magazine. The app consists of business news & articles, stock updates, business analysis and videos.
- Snapdeal: India’s Groupon equivalent, the website brings upto 90% discounts on dining, health and beauty services, branded products, travel and more.
- Flipkart: Fairly basic, but a good start. Flipkart is India’s Amazon when it comes to online retail, includes movies, music, games, mobiles, cameras, computers and electronics.
So there you go, those are 13 excellent Windows Phone apps that are completely free. If we keep getting locally relevant apps at this pace for Windows phone, I dare say we’ll have a credible fight for marketshare come 2012.
The only thing the developers need to guard against is making apps and forgetting them, regular updates are just as important!
Nokia’s made the big move to Windows Phone, and that means it’ll be a fresh start for its developers. While Windows Phone with Microsoft’s backing has had some success getting the big name developers to deploy apps on its platform, it still has a bit of catching up to do.
But as we’ve seen, it’s not just about the big brand apps that have global appeal. A lot of the times, the end users care about the fact that whether or not their local bank has an app on the App Store or whether their favourite multiplex has an app that lets them book tickets to their favourite movies on the go. So here’s what I propose.
Nokia is clearly willing to spend a lot of time, effort and money to promote Windows Phone, and make sure its customers have an amazing experience.
- So just like the Ideas Project, Nokia should have a local site, divided by countries where users can suggest and then vote for their ‘local’ apps. The idea is not to find new and innovative apps, but help find out which apps are possible deal breakers for users in their desire to switch to Nokia or Windows Phone devices in general. For example, my local multiplex PVR Cinemas has an Android app that I use regularly. I’d very much like such an app to be available on Windows Phone. Same with my bank, and so on.
- Once this is website is setup, e.g. india.ideasproject.com, uk.ideasproject.com etc, I could then go there, search for the ‘PVR Cinemas’ app to see if someone has already requested it, if yes, vote for it. If not, add it so that others can also vote for it.
- Then every month, the local Nokia people in each country who are associated with developer engagement, look at this list and pick the top 5 out of those apps. They then try to get those companies or developers to develop for the platform. This push could range from just approaching the company/developer and showing him the benefits of developing for Nokia/Windows Phone, to hooking them up with hardware and support, to even fully or partly funding the project, the last option of course used cautiously because you just don’t need a version 1, you need the developer/company to keep supporting the app, adding new features etc.
This would not be for any prizes or fame for the end users, nor does Nokia need to promise that they’ll be able to get 5 of those apps into the Marketplace. But the fact that Nokia is listening and very actively trying to get its users what they need, would reassure a lot of people who are wondering whether to switch. I’ve heard Nokia was influential in getting Whats App onto the Windows Phone platform, and I’d see them use their influence more and more.
What I have in mind is a very broad outline, and I’m you guys can think of a better way to do it. Have something specific in mind? Please comment, I’m sure Nokia would want to know!