Tag Archives: Windows Phone

[Updated] India: Slew Of Local Apps Hit The Windows Phone Marketplace – Must Have List

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!

Sneak Peak At The Upcoming Book My Show & Times of India Apps For Windows Phone

Windows Phone has been getting some decent traction when it comes to mainstream apps, with the Marketplace hitting 40,000 apps recently. However, the real challenge is getting locally relevant apps for the users and I’m glad to see Windows Phone is doing well here as well.

Sneak Peak At The Upcoming Book My Show & Times of India Apps For Windows Phone

At the Nokia Strategy Summit we were given a sneak peak at some of the India centric apps that are coming for Windows Phone and the chief among those that caught my eye were official apps for online retailer Flipkart, the ticket booking portal Book My Show and the very popular newspaper Times of India.

Fortunately I was able to get some hands on time with the Book My Show app (which I was really looking forward to) and Times of India (another favourite) and both of them nicely imbibe the Metro UI. I must stress that the versions that you see here are early alphas/betas and it may be some time before we see them in the Marketplace.

Book My Show

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Times of India

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What are the other locally relevant apps you are looking forward to?

Video: Lumia 800 Uncovered – Office Integration Shown Off In One Minute

The Nokia Lumia 800 ships with Windows Phone Mango, and therefore has the best mobile Office client there is. It lets you create and edit both Word documents and Excel sheets, and even has a few templates to get you started. You can also view  Powerpoint presentations, but what I like the most is the One Note integration. It lets you add voice notes, text and pictures in one go and automatically syncs to your Sky Drive account so you have access to your notes from anywhere in the world, seamlessly.

Also, all the smooth Windows Phone transitions make the Office client surprisingly good to look at, in turn making the thought of editing work documents on the go, almost appealing. So much so that I was ready to do just that, on a boat!

These one minute videos are part of Nokia’s Lumia 800 Uncovered series, looking at some of the Lumia 800 and Nokia Windows Phones’ features in general. They make for a fun watch, so I recommend you keep an eye on the official Nokia YouTube channel, there’s already videos about Nokia Drive and the Camera there, and I know for a fact that there are more to come.

But for some reason if one minute videos aren’t your style, there’s always my 15 minute look at the Lumia 800.

ChevronWP7 Labs Windows Phone Unlocker Live: Opens Doors To Side Loading Apps

Windows Phone 7 just like iOS, restricts users to its official app store. So if you want to install an app on your shiny new Lumia 800, the only option you have is to goto the Marketplace. If you wanted to side-load an app, just like Symbian or Harmattan, you need a developer account and a AppHub registration which costs 99$ and comes with the ability to publish apps to the marketplace.

Enter ChevronWP7 Labs, they developed an hack that allowed to side load apps and in a way ‘jailbreak’ your Windows Phone. However that wasn’t Microsoft approved and they were soon approached by Microsoft and here’s where you’ll be surprised. Instead of just shutting them down and threatening to void warranties Microsoft actually started working with Chevron Labs to reach a middle ground in order to support homebrew development. The result is the Microsoft blessed ChevronWP7 Labs.

In their own words, ‘ChevronWP7 Labs was designed to allow hobbyist developers to install, run, and debug unsigned applications on their personal Windows Phone’. But even if you’re not a developer and want the ability to side-load apps, its 9$ away. There’s already a few apps that you may like including a screenshot utility and a battery status live tile. So to ‘unlock’ your device ‘You log into the site with your Windows Live ID, pay a small fee, and presto — you’re ready to write and share some homebrew code’.

Here’s how all of this will work in a little more detail:

  • All you need to get started is a Windows Live ID. It’s important to note that we don’t need the Windows Live ID tied to your phone. We simply require any Windows Live ID to simplify the registration and login process.
  • After registering, users will have the ability to purchase and manage what we’re calling “unlock tokens”. One token equals one unique Windows Phone device registration. (You get unlimited re-registrations of that device should the need arise.) Tokens will cost $9.00 USD and be sold via PayPal. If having a Paypal account makes you cringe though, you can elect to check out with a credit card instead.
  • On the desktop, you’ll run our custom version of the unlocking tool. It’s very similar to the official “developer registration” tool, however instead of requiring an App Hub account, it requires an unlock token. Oh and it looks prettier. Otherwise, it behaves identically. No magic spells. No exploits. Your phone’s warranty and support lifelines will remain intact.
  • When using our tool, you may notice the “unlock queue” – you’ll be put into one. This queue exists to serialize our unlock requests for various security and administrative reasons, so we’ll just apologize for the inconvenience right now. We’ll be monitoring these queues to ensure they’re kept short and will add capacity where needed.

The team also adds:

We know that our work is sometimes misinterpreted as promoting “jailbreaking” activities. This is not the case. Our goal is to help bright people do awesome things without infringing upon the developer community with apps in the Marketplace. In fact, we had many conversations with Microsoft to make sure we do this the right way. It may be the long way around, but we feel this approach is ethical, the best way to ensure that the program stays alive and hobbyists like us get more access to cool toys.

So there you go, Microsoft isn’t willing to just let anyone side load apps just yet, but if you’re looking for a way to do so, its good to know there’s an official option available. Nokia users have been used to side-loading apps all the time, and may be the company will be able to use its influence to open the platform up a little. But till that time, there’s always ChevronWP7 Labs. In an ideal world Microsoft should directly let users ‘unlock’ their device for free, with all the disclaimers attached. But this move still shows that they seem to ‘get it’.

Stephen Elop On The Google Motorola Deal – ‘Watch out’ Android Manufacturers

We’ve heard from the major Android manufacturers, we’ve also heard from Nokia on the Google acquiring Motorola Mobility deal, but this time its the turn of Nokia’s CEO to chime in with a warning to Android manufactures to ‘watch out’.

Stephen Elop On The Google Motorola Deal - 'Watch out' Android Manufacturers

Reuters has been able to track a few comments he made about the deal in a seminar in Helsinki, and here’s what he had to say:

“If I happened to be someone who was an Android manufacturer or an operator, or anyone with a stake in that environment, I would be picking up my phone and calling certain executives at Google and say ‘I see signs of danger ahead”

AND

“The very first reaction I had was very clearly the importance of the third ecosystem and the importance of the partnership that we announced on February 11, it is more clear than ever before,”

Both statements don’t differ very much from the official statement Nokia put out day before that effectively said the same thing, although as an undertone. However drawing an inference and reading something in such a cut and dried form from the proverbial horse’s mouth is an entirely different thing. While Elop’s very direct statements are somewhat expected of a man trying to push the Windows Phone ecosystem, that fact doesn’t make them any less true.

Microsoft Buying Nokia Rumours Abound, Nokia Steps In To Clear The Air

A comment by Eldar Murtazin on his personal blog about how Nokia will start talks with Microsoft about the sale of its mobile phones unit to Microsoft has put the web into a tizzy. That rumour has been picked up around the world with most sites citing Eldar’s ‘Nokia to use Windows Phone on its devices’ scoop to give credibility to today’s statement.

This isn’t good for Nokia, with their share prices being extremely volatile and prone to taking a hit everytime a rumour abounds. The thing about rumours is that when everybody runs with it, irrespective of the fact that its been circulated by just one individual, the world slowly begins to treat it as it being true.

Now, Nokia doesn’t officially comment on rumours, but this has forced Mark Squires, the Comms Director for Nokia to chip in with ‘We typically don’t comment on rumors. But we have to say that Eldar’s rumors are getting obviously less accurate with every passing moment’ from his Twitter account.

Its obvious Nokia wants to cull the rumour, but I would’ve loved to see stronger words than ‘less accurate’.