Microsoft has really stepped up it’s game when it comes to services. One of the newer additions to their suite of multi-platform apps is Groove Music (formerly XBox Music). What does it do? Well, you could get a Groove Music pass for $9.99 per month and stream from their collection of songs. What makes it much better though, especially for users of OneDrive or Office365, is that Groove Music allows you to stream from your music collectons stored on OneDrive, at no additional cost.
This section is more focussed on the service than the app itself and it’s availability would be limited to certain countries, but if you’re a magazine subscriber, I’d recommend Le Kiosk. There are different plans – 3 magazines a month for around €3.99, 10 for €9.99 and 25 for €19.99, with a 30 day free trial. It also offers a magazine discovery service and has most of the bigger publications along with a collection of the smaller magazines, the list varies by country. Currently, UK, France and Italy only.
TruSloMo is a must have app if you shoot slow motion videos on your iPhone and want an easy way to export and edit the videos. It’s much easier than using iMovie on your phone and even has an option to easily publish to Whatsapp or Instagram.
For detailed, hyperlocal weather forecasts, you have the apps that use Forecast.io. However, the accuracy will depend on the weather stations available. If you’re in Europe, there’s another option – Morecast. With weather data from UBIMET which is a large weather data provider, the app is detailed and even looks good. The one downside though, is the lack of a 5 row wide widget (if you have a phablet).
A lot of Windows Phone users are still waiting patiently for Instagram to be launched on Windows Phone 8. There are also quite a lot of rumors (new and old) floating around for quite a while about the arrival of Instagram for Windows phone.
Instead of just sitting around and waiting, Nokia has launched a new novel way to campaign for Instagram for Windows Phone. They’ve just released an app on the Windows Phone store called #2InstaWithLove. The app allows you to take or choose an existing photo, add a Polaroid filter (yes, just one) and share that on your Social Network with the hashtag #2InstaWithLove. The photos get uploaded to a Nokia owned site, and the link to that is shared with your friends. Here’s one I uploaded with the app.
Their app description says it all: The app allows you to take a photo using the classic polaroid filter and automatically adds the hashtag #2InstaWithLove. It’s all about showing Instagram just how passionate the Windows Phone community is – so be creative, have fun and be sure to share your favorite photos with us using a social network of your choice.
So get the app, and start sharing if you want to petition for Instagram on Windows Phone! Head to #2InstaWithLove on the Windows Phone store to download the app, or scan the QR code below with Bing Vision on your phone to get the app.
If you think the iPhone and Android users were having too much fun with Instagram and you were missing out, here’s InstaCam for Windows Phone.
Life Ideas has developed an unofficial Instagram app for Windows Phone users, which has most of the functionality you’d expect from Instagram, with one major functionality missing. You can’t upload your masterpieces back to Instagram. Don’t start blaming the application developers, this is due to limitation in Instagram’s policy on their API usage which doesn’t allow third-party apps to upload images to Instagram.
Apart from this you can sign-in with your Instagram account, browse the Instagram timeline, like and comment on your friend’s photos. You can also check out Popular photos on Instagram and search photos by tags or usernames.
You can also take photos, or choose from existing photos in your Gallery and apply effects and frames to them. Once done, your masterpieces are saved on your device and you have the option of sharing them on other Social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Flicker among others. There’s still scope for improvement in this app, and we hope to see more features on this app coming up in the near future.
Did I mention that this is a free app? So head out to the Windows Phone Marketplace and download this app on your phone and get on the Instagram bandwagon. You can also follow @Life_Ideas on twitter for the latest updates on their apps. You can also scan this QR code below using Bing Visual Search to get the Download link on your phone.
Instagram, the hot photo sharing application has been making waves in the Android market ever since it has been released. Android smart phone users are now happy as they were missing out on the Instagram fun on their devices. The 18 month old app that had been available to iOS devices is now available in Google Play Store.
Instagram has been downloaded more than five million times since it released and more than one million users downloaded it within the first 24 hours of release. Fabulous!
This app that is available for free of cost in the Google play store allows you to take a picture and apply gorgeous digital filters. It also allows you to share the pictures in a simple photo stream on a variety of social networking sites.
The current version 1.0.4 runs on most Camera Phones that runs Android version 2.2 and up (including HTC One X in the latest update). The latest version supports Wi-Fi handsets and tablets. Though it does not have any extra features (The user interface is similar to iPhone’s Instagram), it contains most of the existing ones that are available in the iOS Instagram. However, the company said it will be adding features in the future upgrades. The Android version has an advanced camera which allows you to resize pictures so that you need not have to recrop it in the Instagram`s interface.
The most important ‘Tilt Shift’ function (this function allows you to focus one part of the image while the rest of the image can be artistically blurred) that is available in the iPhone version is missing in the Android version. Also missing from the list are three minor features: Share from feed, Live preview and Share to Flickr. Though it is not perfect, it is still a decent enough start.
Instagram cannot be an alternate for great photography, but it can make you look at least like a artistic photographer. Co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom said, that he was meticulous to transform the app to the Android platform. The latest version can be installed on a SD card and the audio mute bug has been fixed. The interface is easy to use and the upload speed also seems to be quite good. The photos do not get stacked up in the progress tool bar. Even if the upload fails, you can re-try uploading the pictures without the need of editing the picture again and it assures maximum resolution support.
Though there are rumors that this San Francisco based company has plans to raise more money, the WSJ states that Instagram’s value has grown increasingly as it began starting to raise money. In the early 2011, it raised $7 million from Benchmark Capital, Baseline Ventures Adreessen Horowitz. The company refused to comment on this issue. Popular with the celebrities including actors, politicians and some stores, this application has a lot of commercial value.
The biggest news as of now, is that, this two year old photo sharing website has been bought for a whooping $1 billion by the social networking giant Facebook. Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced, that the Instagram team would continue to operate separately. The strong engineering team and infrastructure will help in the growth of Instagram. Definitely, Facebook’s brand image with the creativity of Instagram should doubly help the growth prospects.
If you are one of the guys who think photo sharing apps do nothing more than uploading photos to Facebook in their own interfaces and they are not even improving your experience with your phone at all, do read this article, because this is written by a guy who thought exactly the same way. And if you are not one of them, read and see how a man’s opinion changed.
We have Molome with its loveable icon, PicPlz and Streamzoo in our hands here.
Molome and PicPlz have their own networks besides Twitter and Facebook. This is cool, because if you don’t want those apps to be connected with your profiles, you have an option to do that. You sign up to their networks and you don’t have to link this app to your accounts. When signing up to Molome, I was asked to activate my account whereas I wasn’t asked when signing up to PicPlz network. Streamzoo doesn’t have its own network like the other two apps. Well, actually, it has it a little different one. But you don’t sign up to it. You link the app with Twitter or Facebook and then you go settings, Edit Profile. Pick a username and enter your e-mail. Then, you have access to its network.
Of course, you can link PicPlz or Molome to your Facebook and Twitter accounts too. To do this for Molome, go to Profiles and you will see Social Network section where you can log in to Twitter and Facebook. In PicPlz, go to Settings. Here, you have two choices to get to the same screen; either by tapping Account Settings and then Connections tab or just tapping Other Services. Here, picplz has taken this one (or maybe five) steps further by supporting flickr, tumblr, posterous, foursquare and Dropbox in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Although I personally do not have accounts on many of them, I still can see that this is important for ‘sharing crazies’.
In terms of settings, PicPlz takes another step by giving us more options than the others. You can set the app to launch when you press the camera button for example. You can share your location too, this is disabled by default and you have to enable it from the Settings menu. Developer knew that most of people are not comfortable with sharing their locations and some users wouldn’t bother to check settings before uploading photos, so this is a good thing. With PicPlz, accessing to your account settings takes time. It seems it connects to a website or something to apply your changes in your accounts. It might have been better if we could see and set our options faster.
In Streamzoo and Molome, you don’t have a detailed settings page. Streamzoo actually has chosen ‘simplicity’ as its motto. Besides editing your linked accounts and your actual Streamzoo account, only option you have is to enable and disable notifications. Molome isn’t very different, you can only set shutter sound on/off and set auto refresh and background notifications on/off and set their intervals.
In Molome and Streamzoo, there is a mechanism to encourage you to upload and share videos whereas picplz doesn’t have that. Molome gives you badges and Streamzoo gives you points for accomplishing things, well uploading photos. Actually, Molome did take this a step further but we will get there later.
Three of these apps have a method to keep you busy with them. Even if you do not have any friends in their networks, you can take a look at “Popular” photos in Molome and Streamzoo and you can look at “Interesting” photos in PicPlz. These photos are not private photos of course. You see more artistic works in these streams and you can like, comment these photos and add to your collection, this is pretty much what a person expects from a photo sharing network, right?
Look and feel things depend on the people’s delights mostly. The same picture looks different to the people. One loves it, the other hates it and one guy doesn’t even bother to turn and look at it. So this is all a personal opinion I am going to share with you. In my humble opinion, Molome has a more eye-candy looking than the other two. And I couldn’t see enough difference between others to rate them second and third. But you might find them both better than Molomo in terms of design of course. I already expressed my opinion on how cute and loveable Molomo icon is :)
Before taking a look into effects to be applied to photos where you wish, let’s talk about upload and share mechanisms. In Molome, you can take a picture or choose from gallery. After taking or choosing the picture, it lets you zoom in and out and after you are satisfied with the size, you are taken to the effects page and after that, you give a name to the image and upload. You can cancel uploading by tapping yellow UPLOADING text on the screen which appears after you start uploading. This will take you to another page and you will see a red cross on your photo being uploaded. Your effect-applied photos are saved to your phone even if you don’t upload them. To be able to do this, just tap next after applying effects. It will take you to upload screen, but you do not have to upload.
In Streamzoo, besides taking or choosing image to be uploaded, you can shoot videos or choose a video to be uploaded. After you choose or take your photo, it takes you to effects screen. After that, you are taken to the uploading page. You name your photo and start uploading here. Unfortunately, I don’t seem like to find a way to cancel my uploading process. One bad thing I noticed is that it doesn’t save your effect-applied image to your phone if you don’t upload it. About videos, you can’t apply effects to them. But this was what we expected, right?
In PicPlz, after you choose or take your picture, you are taken to the effects page as expected. And of course, after you tap Next, you are taken to uploading screen and you name your image and start uploading. I don’t know if there is something I am missing, but I couldn’t find a way to cancel my uploading process too. And again, you can’t save your effect-applied image to your phone if you don’t upload it. After your image is uploaded successfully, you get an e-mail from picplz which includes the link to your photo. Using this link, you can share your photo with your friends. Here is one of photos of my PC case.
None of these apps have picture effects to apply on the actual photo taking time as you could understand. Instead, you are taken to an ‘effects page’ after you choose or take your image. Molome and picplz are pretty much the same in this aspect. This is where Streamzoo says “You won’t regret if you choose me too.” Besides applying the effects which are also offered by Molome and picplz, you can add cool borders and you can add ‘tilt shift’ effect. Tilt shift effect can be applied one part of your photo and you can apply it to the whole photo if you wish. I told you that Molome had a different method to encourage you to share photos and didn’t tell you what this is. Well, you cannot choose three effects if you do not have 10, 20 and 30 uploaded images.
To come to a conclusion, you should choose which one best suits you. Every one of them has strong and weak aspects. Actually, the only common thing among them is that they are free. So you can try them out on your own and maybe keep them all in your phone. It feels good to be aware that you can try them all doesn’t it?
Didn’t they seem like they offer the things you look for in a photo sharing application? Of course, there are other photo sharing applications in the market. You can try them out too. Or, if you don’t feel like doing it or you don’t have time, you just let us know that you want the app to be compared with these three. I promise that we will do our best to compare and help you choose the one which will satisfy your needs.
While all these apps were reviewed on Android, they are available on multiple platforms, so you should have similar experiences on all platforms. Molome is available on Symbian, Android and Blackberry. Download from the Ovi Store here, the Android Market here and the Blackberry App World here. Streamzoo is available on iOS and Android. Download from the Apple App Store here and the Android Market here. Picplz is available on iOS and Android. Download from the Apple App Store here and the Android Market here.
Check out the Gallery below for all the photos taken using these three applications.