The Wrap: Expanded traffic coverage, Nokia Drive 3.0, new Xbox LIVE games

The Wrap: Expanded traffic coverage, Nokia Drive 3.0, new Xbox LIVE games

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Hi everyone. Just back from a short vacation and enjoying this week’s Windows Phone news. Have a great weekend!

Traffic option arrives in more countries

Last month we announced that improved and expanded traffic coverage was rolling out to the built-in Maps app.Windows Phone now better helps you avoid situations like this, with improved and expanded traffic coverage. As program manager Scott Borton explained in his post, stage one was enabling traffic info for more highways and secondary streets.

Stage two of the upgrade—just completed— was making traffic info available for selected cities in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

If you live in one of those places, pop open Maps and give it a try. It’s important to note that while the traffic menu option is now available in more places, traffic data might not be (especially if you’re driving through the countryside). So if your roads don’t change color when you tap Show Traffic, it means road info doesn’t exist for that area.  

Nokia Drive 3.0 on the way for Lumia owners

Speaking of driving…Nokia Conversations reported this week that a software update for Nokia’s highly rated turn-by-turn Drive app was on the way to Lumia owners. Key upgrades include a nifty new My Commute feature, which “learns your driving preferences and uses information about the latest traffic conditions to help you choose” between different routes, and a new day/night mode that automatically adjusts your phone display for better visibility. You’ll find more details on these and other version 3.0 enhancements on their blog.

Apps of the week: Contract Killer, Lode Runner, Zite

The Xbox LIVE crew has certainly been keeping busy, delivering a steady stream of top-notch games to the Windows Phone Marketplace.  This week, two more hot titles made their debut: Contract Killer and Lode Runner Classic. Given my 80s pedigree, I was especially excited to see the latter. Anybody care to share their early reviews?

Meanwhile, news junkies will also be happy to hear, as CNET reported, that Zite is on the way to the Windows Phone Marketplace. (And I thought it was especially cool that Zite CEO Mark Johnson is also a Lumia-toting Windows Phone fan.)

Lode Runner Classic

Roundtable: What 5 app makers think of Windows Phone

With Marketplace’s six-figure milestone in the rearview mirror, The Guardian (U.K.) newspaper decided to sit down with five Windows Phone developers for their thoughts on the platform. The talented group included the people behind the camera app Kaleidobooth, the skygazing app Star Chart, and the weather app Weather Flow. Whether you’re a developer thinking about moving to Windows Phone—or just curious about the people who make your favorite apps—I think you’ll find it an interesting read. “One thing is clear,” concludes reporter Stuart Dredge, “developers like Windows Phone as an OS and a development environment.”

StarChartWeatherFlow

12 Comments
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  • Today during rush hour traffic early morning I checked the traffic data on WP Bing Maps application and also the IBB traffic application of the Istanbul municipality. Unfortunately, the traffic data shown on the WP Bing Maps application was not showing the current traffic situation correctly. Even though, the application was showing red for my route to work, I was able to drive around 70 miles/hour. During this time the IBB traffic application was showing the correct state of the traffic as green on my route to work.

    Regards,

    Ali Murat

  • Thanks for the traffic support in Istanbul/Turkey. I am very happy to see this feature. I also have the traffic application of Istanbul municipality installed on my Windows phone. I am comparing both of these application especially during rush hour. Today, I noticed that eventhough Bing maps shows heavy traffic (red) for my path, I was able to drive around 60 miles/hour on my path to work. I immediately checked the other application and noticed that it was showing green which actually shows the true stat of the road. I have checked the Bing maps some more time, and eventually, after some time the Bing maps application was also showing the correct state of the traffic. My comment/question is: Is the data source the same for both of these applications (the IBB Trafik application gets the data from the sensors installed by the municipiality itself)? Is Microsoft getting the traffic data from the municipiality? I also noticed that when the application is opened the traffic data is displayed even before the map. So, there should be some type of caching of the data on the client application. If there is caching on the client application, is it configurable by the user? If the data is always received from the server, what is the refresh time of the traffic data from the source? Could you change the refresh rate of the data to perhaps 1 minute for Istanbul rush hour traffic? In Istanbul 5 minutes makes a huge difference during rush hour.

    Best Regards,

    Ali Murat

  • Simon7
    1 Posts

    Will there be Slovenia in bingmaps in the future in wp7.5 or wp7.8? Currently in Slovenia we only have a map and nothing else - no directions and no guidance whatsoever. I have Samsung Omnia w phone and I really miss this feature. It would at least be nice, to provide GPS coordinates for my location so that you can use them in some other devices.

  • Michael, I apologize for straying from the topic at hand, but I can't seem to find the answer I'm seeking anywhere else. To put it mildly, from a pure design perspective I really dislike the new Start screen. I downloaded the W Phone 8 app that recently appeared in Marketplace - I assume it is a fairly accurate approximation of what the "reimagined" screen will look like - and it is absolutely awful. It is definitely not something I'd ever want to interact with and flies in the face of nearly every solid design principle that was behind the iconic original. That said, my question is as follows:

    Will I be able to opt out of the new Start screen yet continue receive other firmware updates and bug fixes that might become available over time?

    I realize that I might not have enough comments posted here to be taken seriously, but I've been a faithful user of Microsoft products, both mobile and desktop, for many years. I am now on my second WP 7.5 device, a Lumia 900 that replaced the Samsung Focus I acquired upon launch. Needless to say, I am still facing nearly two years remaining on a recently signed contract with AT&T. If I am forced to either accept the new Start screen (not at all likely) or live with some persistent and maddening software bugs, it will become very difficult to continue supporting your products.

    A reply will be greatly appreciated.

  • The Dog beat me to the publish button. Yes, @Bruno, welcome. :-)

  • Welcome to the family, @Bruno!  I have both the original Samsung Focus and the Lumia 900 (in cyan) and love them both.

    I have to admit, though, that I'm going to skip the initial release of Windows Phone 8 and concentrate on getting either the Microsoft Surface or whatever tablet Nokia comes up with if it's better than the Surface (at this point, I doubt anything will top the Surface, though).

  • I bought a Lumia last week so I finally have a Windows Phone. I couldn't be happier with it :-)

    The apps works great and the UI is faster than I thought.

    I shall try out these apps too ;-)

    Keep up the good work!

  • I want to know when 8107 or Tango is going to be available for the Samsung Focus.   It has been more than six months since the update has been released.  I miss the update page that listed updates per carrier and device.  Thank you.

  • vincent_g
    19 Posts

    There is blog about Building WIndows 8, and Office Next. I expect there should be more detailed blog for Windows Phone 8, than recent entries like this one..

    And I really hope Nokia will launch something this September or early October, worldwide.. :)

  • Marek
    22 Posts

    Bring this maps feature (traffic) to the Czech republic. It's available in all our country neighbor but our country is still invisible for Microsoft. No Zune Marketplace (music), no Bing it's a shame. :-/

  • tribexx
    8 Posts

    How do I help "improve" Maps? I live in the suburbs of CHI, and I am often redirected through park areas to a destination. When I go downtown, it often takes me off of a highway, turns me around and then puts me back on the highway.

  • Nice finally wider traffic support