Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 has well and truly arrived and the new software looks fantastic on handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung ATIV S. But what about the apps created for the platform?
One criticism levelled at previous versions of Windows Phone is that it has nowhere near as many apps available for it as iOS and Android. However, with the launch of the new software Microsoft has claimed that 46 of the top 50 apps in the world are now available for Windows Phone and there are over 120,000 of them currently in the recently rebranded Windows Phone Store. Here we take a look at the best…
Windows Phone 8 has put social networking at its very core, integrating it into the user interface itself through the People Hub and pulling photos straight from Facebook to the phone’s photo gallery.
However, even this won’t be enough for some heavy tweeters, in which case MeTweets is worth a look. Along with the standard Twitter features there are advanced functions such as the ability to schedule tweets and mute certain users without unfollowing them.
4. Mixtapes Cloud
With both paid and free versions available offering a range of features, Mixtapes Cloud brings a wide variety of music to Windows Phone, with mixes by some big name artists. Consisting of readymade playlists from all manner of bands, DJs and artists that can be streamed or downloaded to a device from a cloud hosting service, Mixtapes Cloud means WP8 users are spoiled for choice when it comes to musical preferences.
Playing tracks in full and allowing users to skip between them as they wish, the app is a good alternative to Spotify, which has recently been pulled from the Windows Phone Store for WP8 handsets. Mixtapes Cloud may not be quite as versatile as Spotify or the Xbox music player that comes with Windows Phone but even the paid-for version only costs 99p and provides access to a vast array of music. Available from the Windows Phone Store.
While it’s true that a number of the biggest names in the app world are not available for Windows Phone 8, Evernote is one well-known title which is supported. While the app and its corresponding desktop services are less for fun and more for work, the WP8 version rivals both the Android and even the recently updated iOS iteration.
Providing an easy and convenient way of storing notes and web-clippings online, the app seamlessly integrates with other devices and works alongside the Office app included with WP8. Evernote shows that for all the tie-ins with entertainment platforms such as Xbox, Windows phone is as good a platform for work as it is for play. Available from the Windows Phone Store.
2. Xbox SmartGlass
Xbox SmartGlass is one of the big developments Microsoft has brought in recently after the company decided to make the most of owning one of the world’s biggest gaming brands and tie it further in with its other software.
Working closely with the Xbox 360 console, Smartglass acts like a remote control, opening videos and accessing extra accompanying content relevant to what media is being consumed via the console. Microsoft is also reported to have further plans, with the future seeing SmartGlass becoming an extra way of interacting with games and opening up a huge range of possibilities. Available from the Windows Phone Store.
Above all of the apps we’ve listed here, there is one that tackles the lack of apps available for Windows Phone head-on. AppSwitch works likes a miniature app store in its own right and aims to help people moving over from other platforms by either finding their favourite apps in the Windows Phone Store or suggesting alternatives that perform similar functions.
While the app will struggle to find viable alternatives to likes of Instagram or Snapseed there are many lesser-known apps that can perform some of the same functions as the big names, meaning that Windows Phone 8 users don’t have to miss out.
With the way that WP8 has been re-coded to allow apps to be ported form other platforms more easily, the dearth of big names in the Windows Phone Store may come to an end, but for now AppSwitch is an excellent way of finding stop-gaps. Available from the Windows Phone Store.