Windows Phone Marketplace is growing by leaps and bounds. In less than eight weeks, the Marketplace boasts of over 3,000 apps and 15,000 developers. Early last month, Windows Phone launched in the US and we looked at the top games and the top launch titles. We have been using Windows Phone since launch and have, once again, combed through the Marketplace looking for the best and the brightest that Microsoft has to offer.
1. History Here
History Here is a location-based app developed by the History Channel. The app displays historical points of interest and adds content from the History Channel including essays, photos, and videos. Filtering is built into the app so you can view specific points of interests. An exploration mode is also included if you want to see historical sites anywhere in the U.S. While I would not use this app everyday, it would be great for trips to areas like Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
OnTrack is a time-tracking tool for those that need to keep track of the time you spend on projects, Ideally suited for contractors or freelancers, the app logs your time on a project and per task basis. You can also use a specialized reports view to see how time you have spent on a project or task on a specific day, week, month, or year. The time log can be exported via email and are sent in an Excel-friendly format. The app is timer-based and wont let you manually enter times. To set a custom time, you must start the timer, stop the timer and then edit those values. A bit of a work around but this is first generation software, so some rough edges are to be expected.
3. Fake Call
Fake Call does exactly what its name suggests. It lets you set up a fake call so you can exit your meeting, leave your date or remove yourself from other uncomfortable situations. It provides you with a delay setting so you can have a simulated incoming call alert you in x number of minutes. Unfortunately, the app does not let you grab a caller out of your contact list, you have to create a contact manually or use the default contact.
The app has its own personalized lock screen, an incoming call screen, and a default home screen to make it look authentic. Admittedly, the app is not perfect. The time on the fake lock screen does not change which could raise some suspicion if someone was looking closely at your phone. It also will not work if your phone is locked, so you will have to set the app and put your phone down. Do not lock it using the power button or else it will not work. If you can work around these limitations, Fake Call is great app for faking an incoming call.
Available for FREE in the Marketplace.
Where Was I? is a basic location-based application that lets you track your movement via GPS co-ordinates. It works great for when you are hiking and are no longer in an area with cell coverage. You save each checkpoint as a GPS co-ordinate and then map your trek when you return to an area with cell coverage. It is a basic app with an interesting premise and excellent performance.
CardStar is an application to save and retrieve loyalty, reward and club membership cards. The app supports both custom card entries, libraries, membership associations, and information from national and regional merchants including CVS, Best Buy, PetSmart, and more. The card information is stored on your handset and can be retrieved or scanned while shopping. The scanning aspect was hit or miss at retailers, but part of the scanning problem may be due to the touchscreen display and is seen on other membership card apps. If you are not bothered by having to enter your card information manually on occasion, then CardStar is an excellent option for those who wish to lighten their wallet.
This one is a must-have for Wooters. This app brings Woot to your Windows Phone handset and looks great with the Metro UI. The app lets you view the daily deals and make purchases from all the Woot websites including woot.com, shirts.woot.com, wine.woot.com, kids.woot.com, and sellot.woot.com. It also supports Woot Offs so you can get in on the buying frenzy right from your phone.
Available for FREE in the Marketplace.
Max & The Magic Marker is an excellent game that merges a classic, side scrolling platformer with crayone physics to create a whole new experience. The gameplay is fun as you follow Max around his cartoonish world and draw objects with your marker that he can use. If you are unsure about dropping $7 on a game that you have never played, then check out the demo, If you like brain-busting, puzzle-style games then you will enjoy Max & The Magic Marker.
iheartradio was one of the launch applications for Windows Phone and it brings with 750 channels of radio listening pleasure. The application lets you listen to radio stations from by Clear’s network of stations. You can even create custom channels with your favorite stations. iheartradio also integrates with Facebook, the Music and Video Hub, and the Zune marketplace so you can share your music and buy new tracks via Zune. The biggest drawback to this app is the fact that it cannot run in the background. This inability is not the fault of the app, but of Windows Phone. Windows Phone does not have multi-tasking so the app must be at the forefront to play.
Colorize is a nifty coloring application that converts a photo to black & white and lets you colorize sections of the image that you want to highlight. You can choose different brush sizes and pinch to zoom to color your image.The app is integrated into the pictures hub so your newly created images have a prominent home on your phone. It also supports unlimited undo and lets you save a project at any point in the creative process. Controls are a bit awkward at times, but it is meant for you to have fun with your images, not turn them into a Picasso.
The quintessential Twitter application is revamped to support the Metro UI of Windows Phone. It is available for free in the MarketPlace and should be included on your phone as the app for showing off the rich UI of Windows Phone. It launches with a Hub interface that The app does have some kinks to work out as the login for Facebook fails for many people. It also segregates your different twitter and Facebook accounts into different spaces/timelines. There is no central news feed for all of your accounts, so some people may not like Seesmic because of its organizational style.