It has been a while since we mentioned BringCast on AAWP, but I've been keeping a very close eye on the podcatchers scene in terms of developers bringing forward old Windows 8.1 applications into 2016 and in full UWP app guise, ready for optimised use on Windows 10 Mobile, Continuum and beyond. And, with last night's beta, I think the time has come to recommend BringCast, joining Grover Pro in the top tier.
AudioCloud isn't a new name in Windows Phone circles, it's been a very competent SoundCloud client for years - but the latest update is a rewrite and a Universal Windows Platform app, continuing the smooth flow of these, and running on anything that's 'Windows 10' or Continuum. It's flawless too, both in UI and performance, and the best and most interactive way to discover new music and new sounds.
'Hack and slash' may seem like something of a gory game genre, but when it's depicted in 2D silhouette fashion and with cartoonish 'stickmen' then somehow the extreme violence seems more palatable. Not quite freemium, not quite combat, not quite a platformer, League of Stickmen is certainly a bit different...
If there's one gadget that has always typified a geek's household, it's a weather station. A sensor that sits outside the house, wired through somehow to a base station inside the house, displaying lots of current metrics about the weather. Pressure, temperature, rainfall, and so on. You may even already own one. But if you don't then did you know that for the less than the price of a cup of tea you can have access to more or less real time data from tens of thousands of domestic weather stations around the world? There's a good chance that you have several within a mile of your house!
The Holy Grail? For a mobile and active person? Whether walking, running or cycling, the ultimate smartphone headphones should be slimline, produce audio quality as good as cushioned over-ear monitors, while sticking in place whatever contorted positions you get into or whatever vigorous motion you've involved in. That's a tall ask, yet I think I've found something that fits the bill.
Can you imagine going back from CD to cassettes? Or colour TV to black and white? Or (struggling for a more modern analogy here) from 3G and LTE back to GPRS? It's much the same with pool and snooker games - there are some cracking first person 3D titles, not least my favourite International Snooker Pro, so why on earth would someone want a relatively coarse and fiddly 2D pool game in 2016? For the head to head action with players around the world, of course. And on the whole Pool Tour Masters doesn't disappoint in this aspect.
Buoyed up by the first batch of Terrapin Lumia 950 and 950 XL accessories reviewed, I went further and got in the polar opposite of the leather folio design - yet still with kickstand - I can't do without my media.....(!) Here then are the Terrapin Full Body Shock Resistant Armor cases for the Lumia 950 XL - and they do them for the Lumia 950 as well, so the same applies for that model. Not only do they do what they claim to do, they're unbelievable value at under £7 each.
One of the surprise hits of the Windows Phone gaming world was, for me, Stickman Soccer, with amazingly fluid and fun gameplay, along with a simple freemium model and just a single IAP to get rid of ads. I loved this game and it's been on every Lumia since. And now we have the follow-up, built specifically for Windows 10 Mobile, laptops and, yes, Continuum, with extra modes and capabilities. It's ultimately best by far on the phone, of course, this is a touch-screen masterpiece.
One of the worst kept secrets in the modern world is that almost no young people 'buy' music anymore, at least in the traditional sense. They either stream it through the likes of Spotify (or Groove, though this is less likely) or just play tracks, as needed, via the official music videos on YouTube - the latter is completely free, though rather inefficient if all that's required is the audio. But, given the latter, why not craft an application to direct the same audio stream into a local music file on the phone? Welcome to YouTunes! - it's beta-ish, but does work on the whole.
The concept here is pretty compelling, especially if you venture anywhere where you might come a cropper. The great outdoors or the inner city at night spring to mind. However, letting an application, especially one that's demonstrably a little 'beta', take control of your smartphone's SMS and telephony via 'silent' mechanisms does require an element of trust that the developers know what they're doing. At least BeFriend is Open Source, so maybe we can trust it after all?