Windows Phone 8 is here folks, and I don’t know about you but I haven’t been this happy with hardware since a certain group of guys in California started making little small rectangles that could hold large amounts of music. On this new hardware with dual-core processors and state of the art screens you tend to get the sense that Windows Phone has finally gotten rid of the last bit of Windows Mobile baggage and sold the clothes inside to charity. That progress, together with an “accidental” flip to PBS’ CREATE channel got me thinking about remodels and improvements that Windows Phone developers have done to their applications.
I don’t think it’s any secret that I play favorites when it comes to Google Reader capable clients in the Windows Phone Store. My affection usually shifts between two – Rudy Huyn’s Fuse, and Seles Game’s Weave. Just as the former made its debut I decided to switch to it full time as I needed something that was just a tad easier to use and didn’t look back. Unfortunately in doing so I didn’t get a chance to take a look at 4.0 update of Weave. Let me say this right now, there’s now this newsreader and then there’s everything else. The unpleasant melodramatic background and dead boring home screen have now been replaced with a matte gray background, a section of Live Tiles inside on the home screen for each category and a color scheme that adapts to your Windows Phone’s accent color. Seles Games have once again bolstered their provided list of publications as well. Oh and the ability to manage text sizes certainly does hurt either. In fact the only thing I’m a little nervous about is the app’s $9.99 ad-free price tag. Sure, there’s the ad-supported version but I try to avoid them whenever possible.
Not to be out done, Diego Carlomagno’s Hey DJ! Allows you to control music playback on your device by holding down the Windows key on your device when used on a Windows Phone 8 device. It’s only $1.49. Its money I haven’t regretted spending yet. Plus yelling at your phone to “Surprise you!”
Last but not least, you can’t discuss monumental application changes in Windows Phone 8 without discussing the magnificent butterfly Skype has turned into. Background tasks? Got that. Microsoft Account support? Got that as well. You can even finally modify your profile from inside the app. It doesn’t get much better than that. Of course the new Skype is available to all Windows Phone 8 users free of charge, though service restrictions on your account are particular to the way you use Skype.
And that’s the Windows Phone App for this week. You can make suggestions over on Twitter, username: @harlemS. Join us next time when we’ll be making progress on the new finished basement, begin work on the new patio, and tour the rest of Cambridge by bike. Until next time, I’m Kevin O’Conner – I mean Travis Pope. Hey Norm, we’ve got to think about moving this cabinet.