Windows 8 Store–Live Tile News

 

Talk about ‘hard work, persistence & passion’ I now have an App in the Windows 8 store (RTM).   Without going in to details this has been an up hill struggle but I am very pleased to say that it should be available from the store ‘very soon’.

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the URL I have been given for anyone wanting to try it out is

http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/live-tile-news/67ec5617-beed-4d2a-9157-3ee8e447eece 

(Note that at the time of writing 8am 9/8/2012 I get a 404 ‘Page not found’ on this address!)

I note that there are presently zero downloads so I guess it must take some time to replicate through servers or progress through a hidden/unknown process prior to actually appearing live in the store.

Please try it and let me know what you think.  I value feedback and will use it in improving this app going forward.

 

App Aid

As previously announced any income I derive from this app in the form of advertising revenue or future in app donations will go 100% to charity.

Windows Phone Tile browser for Windows 8

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Live Tiles: ‘Get the important facts at a glance’

As owners of a Windows Phone we love our Live Tiles.  Apart from the convenience they can save us valuable time when its simply not an option to stop what you are doing and fire up an App.
But as an early adopter of Windows Phone myself one thing I have always struggled with is finding useful and relevant live tiles!  This App goes some way to alleviating this issue by providing examples of commonly used Live Tiles together with a means of downloading their constituent apps to your phone.

The App is designed to be very simple to use.

Here is a typical walk through:

1. Browsing the Live Tiles

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Swipe left and right to view typical examples of the Live Tiles on offer. (Additionally you might use the Filter to highlight particular categories of interest, or switch to ‘App View’ in order to see Live Tiles grouped according to their parent Phone Apps).

2. Selecting a Live Tile

QR Code Highlighted

Touching a tile will act as a toggle between the tile and a special picture code (Known as a QR code) that can be read by your Phone.

3. Downloading the Live Tile App to your phone

QR Selection

Touch your phones ‘scan’ onscreen button (an option that you get when you select the Search hardware button on the bottom right of your phone).  The link will then take you directly to an install for the Live Tiles’ parent App.

Developer Opportunities.

The App is open to any independent developer of Windows Phone Apps to highlight their own Live Tiles at no cost.  Contact the developers (rd3d@WebServices.co.uk) or comment below if you are interested!

Indie Developers vs. XBOX Live Apps. My Story.

When I first started development for Windows Phone I remember excitedly travelling down to Microsoft in London for the day as I had the chance to test out my Apps on a real live Windows development phone!  At the time I had several Apps that I had developed in Silverlight with a view to porting to Windows Phone (this one made it, this one didn’t!).

One of the things that I heard tell of on this day was “turn by turn game play over the XBOX live network”.  Great! Thought I and envisaged playing ‘Shove Halfpenny’ with my in Laws in Dublin.  “Ahhh, but Xbox Live is reserved for ‘la crème de la crème’” I was told.  And that was pretty much that.

It’s no secret that the XBOX Live games are indeed ‘la crème de la crème’ and it is difficult (though not impossible) for independent developers to develop a successful XBOX Live enabled game.

So I guess those words ‘la crème de la crème’ have always bothered me a bit and I started to daydream about opportunities for independent developers like myself.  (Indeed, this was the thinking behind my series of blog posts on Marketing for Independent Developers last year).

But now there may be a glimmer of hope for us downtrodden indies, the faint glint of a tool that might help us in our toil.  What if we could harness the thing that singly differentiates and at the same time exemplifies what is great about Windows Phone? What might I be referring to?

The “Live Tile” of course!

Yes, Live Tiles are great, but how on earth do you find them?  You maybe find an App you like the sound of, then read the description hoping for an indication that it supports live tiles?.

But now there is …

The “Live Tile Browser” tm

What is it? Well its free, so the easiest thing to do if you are that way inclined is to download it and have a quick play:

http://windowsphone.com/s?appid=d68906de-da5d-4f64-9b88-154f1f5d3c07

If you would like to read a bit more, or perhaps participate by marketing your own Live tiles through the browser app and its sister site (http://LiveTiles.co.uk) there is another blog post with more information here: Live Tile Marketplace Browser

I would also really appreciate your feedback.  What do you think of the idea?  How can it be improved on?  Should MS be doing this?

Please let me know your thoughts.


Apps mentioned in this article:


Announcing The Live Tile Marketplace Browser.

1Designed to compliment the existing Windows Phone App Marketplace the Live Tile Browser is an A-Z of Live Tiles from participating developers for Windows Phone 7. And with a launch Live Tile count of nearly 200 Live Tiles this free App looks to be an indispensable guide when looking for new and interesting Apps for your phone!

How does it work?

Simply download the app and peruse the Live Tiles, if you see something you like tap the tile to be taken to marketplace listing of the associated App. If you like the App simply download it to your phone to use the live tile on your home screen.

NB New Live Tiles magically appear in the browser as they become available (new tiles have a red dot in the top right hand corner of the tile making it easy to identify the latest  offerings in the marketplace.)

The Live Tile Browser is available free now:

http://windowsphone.com/s?appid=d68906de-da5d-4f64-9b88-154f1f5d3c07

Developer API for Live Tile Browser

An Azure based API is currently in planning for this App to allow Independent Windows Phone Developers to easily add their own Live tiles to this App and to the associated Web Site (http://LiveTiles.co.uk) and Windows 8 Metro based App (TBA)

If you are interested in such an opportunity please contact the author or leave a comment below.