Sydney's Top 10 Windows Phone Applications (August 2011)Sydney Myers - Teen Lifestyle Editor
As most of you know, I recently made the switch to Windows Phone. One thing that has been pointed out to me time and time again about Windows Phone is that the app selection is minuscule compared to Android and iOS. This is true. However, there are some useful and well-built apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Below, I've listed ten of my personal favorites in no particular order. These aren't necessarily the top ten apps in the Marketplace, but they're the ones I use most often and can't live without.
First, I need to say that Beezz is not the best Twitter app in the Marketplace. But it is the only one with push notifications and a live tile. For overall performance, you may want to look at the official Windows Phone Twitter app or maybe Seesmic, but for someone like me who's coming from Android and is used to notifications, Beezz is the best app. The only downside to the notification system on Beezz, is that the live tile gives you the number of Mentions and total tweets that you haven't read. I wish it would show only the number of unread Mentions I have. The pop-up notification, though, only happens when you get an @reply.
When choosing an app to use for checking showtimes and reading movie information, I narrowed it down to Flixster and Fandango. Flixster works for me because the opening menu gives me a list of options between Box Office, Theaters, Upcoming, and more, whereas the Fandango app immediately opens with what's opening this week and what's at the top of the box office. I don't simply want to know what's out, I want to know what's showing at the theaters closest to me and what time they're showing. Flixster makes it easier and quicker to get to that info. Flixster has also partnered with Rotten Tomatoes so I get critic reviews, reader reviews, and that tomato graphic to tell me instantly if the movie good or not.
3. Slice and Throw
I'm not much of a mobile gamer, but Slice and Throw is seriously addicting. The premise is similar to Fruit Ninja, you swipe on the display to cut through an object (in Slice and Throw, the objects are Chinese scrolls); however, this game has an added element. You also have to throw ninja stars at objects in the background. Of course, there are certain scrolls that you can't slice and bombs that come in the background that you don't want to throw a star at. It's a very fun game and the sound effects are awesome.
4. MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter
This is an app that I used on my Android device and I was excited to see that they had also made a Windows Phone app. Just like any other calorie counter app, you add the food that you eat and it calculates the calories for you. Along with how many calories you've eaten, it will also track your nutrient total for the day so you'll know if you're getting enough Calcium, Potassium, etc. This app will also allow you to add workout information and even how much water you drank. With the MyFitnessPal app, you can enter your current weight, tell the app how much you would like to weigh or if you want to maintain your weight, how much weight you would like to lose per week, how often you will work out, and if your lifestyle is active or sedentary. The app will then calculate how many calories you should consume each day in order to reach your goal. The system is very detailed, reliable, and best of all, it works.
5. Thumba Cam
Think Instagram, but for Windows Phone. You can either take a picture or use a picture you've already taken and add an effect from a list of 14 different options including Color Selection, HDR, Lomo, and even 3D. Most effects have a slider that allows you to determine how heavy the effect will be on the picture. It's very simple to use but the outcome is pretty cool.
What can I say? It's Netflix. This is the app that everyone wants on their phone. You can use it for easy browsing and watching, keeping track of your queue, or just bragging rights when you're with someone whose phone doesn't officially support Netflix yet.
I use a barcode scanner a lot. I rarely buy a product without reading reviews and checking around for the best price. With ShopSavvy, I can do that right there in the store instead of having to go home and check on my computer. The app is very well-designed. After scanning a barcode, you are presented with online prices. A swipe over shows you local prices, and one more swipe shows a very organized page of reviews with a numbered star system. Just as with any barcode scanner, results aren't always accurate, but it's still the best one I've found so far.
8. Slacker Personal Radio
I don't think I've actually purchased a song in a few years. I never could wrap my mind around paying a dollar for one song when I can listen to a personalized streaming radio station for free. There's a battle between Slacker and Pandora and I personally chose Slacker Radio. The Windows Phone app doesn't have very many customizing features, but it still performs well and I've had few, if any, problems with bugs and crashes.
9. HTC YouTube
So, these last two apps are for HTC Windows Phone devices only, but they are some pretty darn good apps and I have an HTC Windows Phone device so they rightly belong on my Top 10 list. It's no secret that the official Windows Phone YouTube app is pointless. All it does is take you to the mobile YouTube site. If you have an HTC Windows Phone device, though, you have a better option. The HTC YouTube app allows me see the Most Viewed videos, Most Discussed videos, the Top Rated videos, and all of my subscriptions and their recent videos. Each listing also displays the rating, number of views, and the length so you don't have to select a video to see this information. This app is excellent for YouTube addicts and is very simple to use.
10. HTC Hub
Yes, I know I'm kind of cheating with this one because, again, it's an HTC-only app and it's not really an app, it's more like a group of apps, the above app being a part of that group. Whatever you want to call it, HTC Hub is a viable reason to buy an HTC Windows Phone device, mainly because the live tile shows the weather. There aren't many weather apps in the Marketplace that support live tiles, but this one does and I love it. It's designed by HTC so of course it's beautiful, and it updates automatically. That's just the live tile though. Once you open the Hub, you're free to use any HTC app, YouTube included, all of which are also beautiful. This is a must-have feature for me.
So there they are. I've only been using a Windows Phone device as my personal phone for about two weeks so if there are better apps that you've found, I would love to know about them.