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July 8, 2011

The Weekly Wrap: Marketplace tops 25,000, Windows Phone goes Hollywood, Garmin’s new app

It was a short 4th of July holiday week here in the U.S.—but still plenty of news in the world of Windows Phone. Enjoy the highlights and your weekend!

Marketplace tops 25,000

While estimates differ, unofficial Marketplace counters now peg our app inventory at somewhere north of 25,000, as multiple bloggers noted last week. Regardless of whose numbers you trust, the bottom line is that Marketplace is going gangbusters. But buzz about the overall app count overshadowed what I think was the week’s most exciting news: the boatload of brand-name apps that poured in. WPCentral counts at least 52 marquee titles in the last two weeks., meanwhile, compiled its own handy list (complete with download links) of standouts. Check it out

Windows Phone records a music video

If you thought that Windows Phone in your pocket was only good for making goofy clips at bars and birthday parties, take a peek at Kurt Vile’s new music video for “Baby’s Arms”—shot entirely on a Samsung Focus. As Rolling Stone and CNET both reported this week, the video was directed by fashion photographer turned auteur Todd Cole, who filmed on location in East L.A. “Baby’s Arms” is a cut from the Philly singer-guitarist’s excellent new album Smoke Ring for My Halo. The project, the latest installment in the Windows Phone Me series, not only resulted in an entertaining video for Vile fans, but budding smartphone cinematographers won’t want miss the revealing behind-the-scenes companion footage, which shows how Cole and his Focus pulled it all off. It’s my favorite Me to date.

11 neat Mango features you never heard of

Our list of the week comes courtesy of Techie Buzz, which compiled a fun highlights reel of Mango features that haven’t bathed in the tech press limelight as much as some others—but are gems all the same. This list made the rounds here inside the Windows Phone engineering team. We enjoyed it and think you will too. Read it now

New in Marketplace: Garmin StreetPilot

With so many standout apps pouring into Marketplace in recent days, it’s tough to spotlight just one. But here I go anyway. Garmin, maker of the GPS devices you see on so many dashboards these days, has introduce StreetPilot for Windows Phone. The $40 app turns your phone into a personal GPS navigator, with voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions. The app has street maps available for the U.S. and Canada and include free real-time traffic updates. To save on data charges, maps are downloaded on demand. If early reviews are any hint, StreetPilot looks like a winner. Buy it now

Garmin’s StreetPilot app turns your Windows Phone into a personal GPS navigator

Garmin’s StreetPilot app turns your Windows Phone into a personal GPS navigator

Windows Phone wins major design award

Windows Phone took top honors in the 2011 International Design Excellence Awards. The annual awards, sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America, recognizes the world’s coolest-looking stuff. There were more than 2,000 entries in this year’s competition. From these, judges picked 27 to receive their Gold award, the event’s highest honor. Windows Phone won gold in the “Interactive Product Experiences” category. In their citation, judges called the phone “a truly elegant and unique experience.” Who are we to disagree? Read the press release or See what other Microsoft products won

And finally….

Remember that official Foursquare app re-launch we announced just last week? Well, the app has already hit version 2.2, which brings improvements including a visible speed boost. It looks like the only check-ins the busy Foursquare crew is performing these days are for Windows Phone app code. Bravo, guys, bravo. Download it now