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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nokia Xpress browser for Lumia phones

Well folks, you know that cool thing Opera Mini does when it compresses web pages to save you data consumption? You know that the same tech is used by Nokia with the Asha browser? Well, Lumia users you're in for a treat.

Nokia has just added a new cool app called Nokia Xpress to Beta labs. This app is a web browser that uses Nokia's cloud to compress web pages and images to save you buck on data costs. Besides being a full fledged browser, Nokia Xpress adds a few more goodies like tabbed browsing, most visited pages and a magazine view for your favorite blogs.

Nokia Xpress also gives you the ability to see how much data it has consumed and you can set the downloaded image quality. The app is still in beta so it misses some features like the ability to specify if you want to see the mobile version of a website or the desktop version, or the ability to use the IE10 user agent, but those will most likely be added in the near future.

Have to say that this was one app that the Windows Phone ecosystem really needed. I'm not sure if the app is available for other Windows Phones but what I can say is that the entire Lumia line is supported.

Anyway, here's the official video presentation.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

4th and mayor Foursquare client for Windows Phone

Foursquare is a service that I started using recently and I have no experience with it whatsoever. This is the best case of user friendliness testing that money can buy: first look. I first took a look at the official Foursquare application and to be honest I wasn't able to check in anywhere because I simply had no check in button. After digging around the app i finally found the way to check in, but it's not as straightforward as i would have liked it to be. So I searched for a third party Foursquare client. That is how I found 4th and mayor.

And the first thing I noticed about it was the check in button, right there in front of me, where it was supposed to be. 4th and mayor basically offers the same info as the official Foursquare app laid out in a more user friendly way, a way that got through to me from the first look I gave this app.

The first screen you are greeted with is the Friends view. Here you can see what your friends have been up to, the places they last checked into.
Second is the explore view. Here's where you can search for specific places like trending, shops, food or even do custom term searches. This view is your gateway to surroundings. If you're in a foreign city, this view can help you find a little bit of fun around you.
Third view is lists. You can create your own lists or check out other lists made public by other people. Again, if you're in a foreign city it will be useful to see a list of the coolest places around or must see places.
4th and mayor has good integration with Bing maps and shows you your own location, or the location of any of the places you want to check out. These locations you can open in the Maps app and directions to that place are immediately at your disposal.

The live tiles are also a strong point. You can pin locations, a time to get all your notifications or a check on now tile that's gonna show you all the locations nearby and allow you to quickly check in to any of them.

4th and mayor is not only an app that helps you check in on Foursquare, but helps you discover new places. It's more like a travel guide, and can be used as such when you find yourself in a city you're not familiar with. The application features go deeper than what I've wrote about, so you should watch the video at the bottom of the post for a video tour of the app.

Blending Foursquare services with an intuitive user interface and a great maps integration is in my opinion what makes 4th and mayor the best Foursquare application for Windows Phone. The app is free and ad-free.