Monday, February 29, 2016

Microsoft Translator updated with camera translation for Romanian, Slovak & Serbia Cyrillic, translation pack for Kiswahili.

Using your Windows Phone camera for translation is a feature we now take for granted and with Microsoft adding support for more languages, its Translator app is a required tool to keep handy when traveling. The world is a global village after all. Microsoft has updated the Translator app for Windows Phone, bringing the version number to 4.1 with the following new features:

- Camera translation for Romanian, Slovak and Serbian Cyrillic 
- Online translation and offline translation pack for Kiswahili

Microsoft added support for Kiswahili - better known as Swahili - in October last year. Back then the language was available in text form only.

The update is available in the Windows Phone store for download.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Glide video messaging available for Windows Phone.

Glide is a new live video messaging tool for Windows Phone. The app already exists on iOS and Android and now millions of Windows users around the world will enjoy fast video messaging to keep in touch with loved ones. This is pretty much what other similar apps do. But Glide boast its unique ability to handle sign languages. According to a post on Glide's blog, the app is very popular among members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, especially since a sign language conversation can take place one handed:

“My deaf students say: ‘It feels like this was specially made for us.”
“I love this app. It makes it much easier to keep in touch with my deaf sister. Thank you.”
“So awesome to be able to leave video messages for my Deaf friends. With voicemail not being an option for those who can’t hear, this is a fantastic option! Thanks so much!!!”
“Love Glide! I am deaf and use sign language to communicate with my friends so this app allows us to get our message across quickly! Awesome app!”
Glide also supports text messages in the event videos are not convenient. Videos are also saved to the cloud, making them available for viewing at anytime, anywhere and saves precious space on your device. The ability to review a video before sending is also cool. Learn more about Glide here and get the app in the Windows Store.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Dropbox for Windows Phone 8.1 updated with quick search, commenting and Jump list.


Dropbox for Windows Phone is a Windows Universal app, meaning that it works on Windows for desktop and Windows 10 Mobile. The popular cloud storage app also works with Windows Phone 8.1. Today, Dropbox was updated to bring some of the Windows 10 features to Windows Phone 8.1.

With this update Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows users will be able to initiate a search by simply typing anywhere. They won't necessarily need to tap the search icon first. The app also allow users to comment on files, bringing collaboration with others by inviting them to a discussion with the use of @mentions. Finally, there's Jump list for access to recent files through a right click on the application icon and tile.

Grab the update in the Windows Store.

Surfy browser adds Ukranian language and fixes LAN site browsing issue.

I really like how Android lets me choose which browser I like most and set it as the default browser to open any links I click on my device. This is a choice I would like Microsoft to implement on Windows Phone. We already have the choice of search engine, so why not extend that to browsers. My favorite browser is on my Lumia is Surfy and it got a minor update today. The browser now supports Ukranian language and an issue with browsing to LAN sites has also been fixed.

There are two versions of Surfy available in the store, one free with some limitations and a paid version:

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Microsoft adds GPS Power Saver to Microsoft Band 2 and weight tracker to its Health app.

 Microsoft Health picked up a nice update today, especially for those who own the Microsoft Band 2, the second generation fitness tracker made by the software giant. I do not own a Band 2 yet, but I like the addition of the GPS Power Saver, which Microsoft claims to extend the battery life up to 4 hours. I have the Band 1 and use it for biking. While I only bike a distance of up to 13 km with the GPS activated and battery fully charged, I will end up with 40%; enough to complete a guided workout of 13 minutes at home before plugging the Band to recharge and switch to my phone. An additional 40% of battery life will fulfill my needs.

This update also comes with an activity reminder. Again, another feature I wish Microsoft had made available for the first generation of its fitness band. The Activity Reminder will let users set reminders on their Band 2 for every 30, 60, or 90 minutes to take a walk.

The other features include the ability to create guided workouts in the dashboard and share them with friends. The addition of a weight tracking feature to help users maintain their current weight or to reach their goals  and finally, Microsoft added more Web Tiles for a variety of content for users to pick from. 

Get the updated Microsoft Health app in the Windows Store.

Monday, February 01, 2016

WeChat for Windows Phone updated with content sharing from Cortana.

The Windows Store on my Lumia 1520 is showing an update is available for the popular messaging app WeChat. Like other apps of its kind, WeChat is a cross-platform app for texting, making video calls, voice messages. Tencent, the China-based company and owner of WeChat, claims the app currently has 400 million users, many of which are in China where WeChat is extremely popular.

According to the change log, the updated app improved on the user experience on Windows 10, but does not give details about those improvements. The second item in the change log is the ability for sharing content from Cortana. I have yet to figure out how that works though.

WeChat is a nice messaging platform with a great walkie talkie which supports real time conversation with up to 40 friends. If you haven't tried it yet, download WeChat for Windows 10 Mobile in the store for free.