Now that Christmas has come for many, it’s time to see which Windows Phone you received this holiday! Give me your vote!
Windows Phone Archive
Microsoft has released an update to their Device Hub for Windows Phone app, bringing support for the Lumia MD-12 Wireless speaker amongst other updates. The update, version 188.8.131.52 for those keeping score, is available now in the Windows Phone Store and is a free download. Lumia Windows Phones come with Device Hub so you have this app already and my not know it.
For those who aren’t familiar with what Device Hub for Windows Phone does, it allows you to connect and manage your other phones, accessories, tablets, computers, TVs, game consoles and other devices. It is, as the name suggest, a hub for you to access these other devices in your life.
The Bing Translator for Windows Phone app has been updated with several new voice translations being supported. For those who aren’t familiar, Bing Translator allows you to translate spoken or written words to other supported languages. This includes the amazing Camera Translator feature where you simply point your Windows Phone at a sign in a foreign language and it translates it for you on the display of your Windows Phone.
Microsoft has released an update to their Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone. The update, version 8.1.7 for those keeping score, brings the normal bug fixes but also brings a new feature that heavy users will find a big benefit. Now you can pin apps to the Start screen on your Windows Phone.
In addition to this, automatic refresh of Azure RemoteApp has been added to this update for those who use that service.
The app is free and available now in the Windows Phone Store
Undoubtedly most of you know by now that Lumia Denim, the next firmware version behind Windows Phone, is rolling out worldwide. The update, which is actually a firmware (the Denim part) and software (the Windows Phone 8.1 part), is essentially only available in Europe at the moment but you can expect that it will hit the US shores in the new year. If you are curious as to what is coming in Lumia Denim with Windows Phone 8.1 then check out my Guide to Lumia Denim.
How then, you may ask, did I get Lumia Denim on my Windows Phone? Those of you who know me or follow me on Twitter know that last month I moved back the United States from England. I was in the UK for two years during which time I acquired the Lumia 1320. That phone is the country variant version of the 1320 for the UK which, you guessed it, is one of the phones that now has Lumia Denim available. Now when you will see Lumia Denim on your phone is anyone’s guess but unless you live in Europe and have one of these country variant phones, the chances are likely it will be 2015 before you see any updates.
But I digress.
I’ve spent the weekend with Lumia Denim on my 1320 and overall it has certainly been a worthwhile upgrade. That said, it isn’t perfect and I have run into a few issues but not enough to make me want to revert back to Lumia Cyan.
The Fitbit for Windows Phone app received an update yesterday that brings support for the newest Fitbit tracker, the Surge, along with some visual improvements and performance enhancements. The update is available now and it does require that your device be running Lumia Cyan to work properly and do the background synchronization between the tracker and your Windows Phone.
Lumia Denim, the next major version of Windows Phone, is starting to roll out to Lumia devices in some European countries. The news of the rollout is welcome as Microsoft had stated they would begin pushing out the release before the end of 2014 and come on the back of their release of an update video on their YouTube channel yesterday.
With the release expected any day now, Microsoft has released a video on their YouTube channel on how the updating process for your Windows Phone to Lumia Denim. The video is about 3 minutes long and covers all of the new features of the next firmware update which is pretty extensive. You can read my guide on Lumia Denim to get the full briefing of what is coming.
One of the newer games in the Angry Birds franchise has hit Windows Phone and it is free. Angry Birds Stella for Windows Phone allows you to join Stella (the pink bird) and her comrades as she battles the bad princess and her piggies in over 120 levels of fun. Now if you know me, you know I have a serious Angry Birds addiction and Angry Birds Stella presents a whole new set of challenges even for seasoned players.
The Lumia Storyteller app for Windows Phone has had a major update released today, bringing a completely new user experience to the photo viewing app. The new 4.0 version is available now in the Windows Phone store and brings a more Photos hub-like experience to users. If you aren’t familiar with the Lumia Storyteller app, it automatically groups your photos on your Lumia Windows Phone into stories where you can then share them online, add captions to photos and rearrange the groupings as you see fit. It is an app exclusively for Lumia users and it is free to download.
The news and information aggregation app Flipboard has just been updated for Windows Phone and it brings many improvements along with it. Flipboard for Windows Phone has already been a big hit, just as it has been on Android and iOS, and with this update the app becomes more widely available to Windows Phone users as it now is supported on 512MB memory devices. Many of the budget friendly devices such as the Lumia 530 and Lumia 635 have 512MB of memory. Flipboard is now optimized so it can run on these lower memory devices. Flipboard for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now
Today Microsoft released a new Gestures beta for Windows Phone. The app allows you to control phone calls – both incoming and those in progress – without ever touching the screen of your Windows Phone. Sounds cool eh? It actually is very cool and is something that was actually around back in the Windows Mobile 6 days.
The Netflix for Windows Phone app has been updated to version 4.0 today and it brings a whole new user experience including integration with Cortana. The update is available now and requires that you have a Netflix account to use the app for the movie and television show streaming service. The new user experience is a much more modern and fresh look to the app and the video quality has also been improved so playback looks much better, especially on low bandwidth networks.
While this years Christmas season sales focus from Microsoft has been on the mid-to-low end of the market, that doesn’t mean that some great deals can’t be found on the high end devices as well. The best deal by far remains on the Lumia 635 at only $99 without a contract but if you want to get the flagship Lumia 1520, you can do it for $99 as well on a 2-year contract. If you don’t want to do the contract, no problem. You can get it outright for $526, down from the $589 price before the holidays.
The 6TAG Instagram app for Windows Phone has received a minor update today, bringing support for the new BLU Win phone devices. The update is free and available now in the Windows Phone store. If you aren’t familiar with 6TAG, it is a great Instagram app and far superior in my opinion than the Instagram Beta app (which as far as I know has NEVER been updated).