Well folks, it’s been a long time coming. WPDownUnder can finally confirm that Australia’s first major sporting code App for Windows Phone – with full Live Video streaming – has arrived in the marketplace today. The official Telstra NRL 2014 App is now available in the Aussie marketplace for WP8 device owners, just in time for Game 2 of the State of Origin this week.
Regardless of whether you are a fan of the NRL or not, this is a long-awaited milestone moment for WP8 Down Under. Search for footy or cricket here at WPDU, and you will find plenty of articles or comments in the archives lamenting the lack of major sporting Apps for WP users. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a regular release of other official sporting apps into the 2014-15 summer in Australia.
Over the last couple of months, the team here at WPDownUnder has been featuring some of the high-profile government departments, corporations and agencies who have been simply ignoring the existence of the #wp8au community – who simply want app parity with their iFruit and Droidrage brethren (see here, here and here). But there are a couple of government departments who have been quietly pushing out apps to the Windows Phone community. One of those has been the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
When the ATO’s app first launched for Windows Phone last year, we covered it here exclusively. At that time, the app clearly looked like a direct port from iOS and offered fairly basic functionality. What a difference 9 months makes.
The ATO has just released version 4.0 of the app to the Windows Phone Store and since we last looked at this app, the app has received a fresh coat of paint.
One of the ongoing frustrations for Aussies around technology and media is the ongoing practice by corporations of “geo-blocking” or delaying regional availability of features or content which is available in other markets. Geo-blocking, like Blu-Ray and DVD region codes, allows for differentiated global market releases, pricing and copyright control. Likewise, whether it is media-streaming services available in the states or smartphone operating system features like the new “Cortana” digital assistant on Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview, Australia as a small market typically lags months or years behind the US availability.
Bypassing Geo-blocks to access US based content services is nothing new – however many may not have released that if you live in Australia, have an Xbox One – and want to subscribe to (or already have) selected US Entertainment streaming service paid access….that you can access this content directly on your console and big-screen TV right now.