February 27, 2013 2:50pm
Just like that, Maluuba, that formerly Android-only personal assistant app, is now available for Windows Phone 8. Created from scratch to take advantage of many of Windows Phone’s unique features, including full speech support, live tile compatibility and Outlook calendar integration, Maluuba takes what made it so great on Android and translates it to Microsofts OS.
“It’s been our strategy from day one” to bring Maluuba to other platforms, says Tareq Ismail, Waterloo-based Maluuba’s User Experience Lead. “Microsoft offers developers a lot of innovative tools,” pointing to the home screen with its live tiles and ability to pin specific sections of the app as examples of Microsoft’s forward-thinking attitude toward product design.
As a result, in addition to searching for relevant information in the app — movie times, restaurant recommendations, concert listings — you can pin those specific events on your home screen as a live tile, either to remind you of the subject itself or, in the case of a movie listing, check showtimes for that particular day.
The app has expanded its pool of categories in recent months, too, with the addition of shopping. Canadians benefit from Google’s shopping aggregator, as well as listings of local stores that offer what you’re looking for. Maluuba is at its best when you search, either via text or Windows Phone’s excellent voice recognition, in a conversational manner. “I want to find great headphones,” or “Where can I get the cheapest blender?” Note: for anyone struggling with setting up voice search, head to this Microsoft support page.
Microsoft is going to be pushing Maluuba quite heavily, using it as an example of developers’ commitment to creating great apps for the platform. It’s also the first viable Siri and Google Now competitor for Windows Phone and, despite not being built into the OS, live tile integration and Outlook calendar integration makes it feel fairly fluid. Microsoft doesn’t allow developers to remap the hardware search buttons, though, so you will still have to access the app directly to perform a search, but it rarely feels slow.
You can also use Maluuba as a task manager and agenda; you can add alarms, reminders or calendar entries, all of which integrate seamlessly with the OS itself. You can also control your music, look at the weather and even look up directions. The app is an all-in-one that is strong in all areas.
Maluuba is an essential app for Windows Phone users. Download it now.