Favorite Apps & Tricks

Ahright, this has been long due I guess. Having had a HTC HD7 Windows Phone for a couple of months now, here are my top 10 must-have 3rd party apps for WP7. This is a dynamic list though as my needs evolve. So, here goes:

1. Weather Channel — Rich WX data presented in panoramic layout; also provides radar maps, forecast details & videos. Live WX Tile isn’t shabby at all.

2. HTC Hub — This I think is good to have for any HTC phone. And here is the unabashed reason — the manufacturer Live tile is double in size and the weather graphics are stunning ! Also, one has to muse at the over-the-top graphics in the HTC apps contained in the Hub; some useful ones are T-Mobile My Account, Notes & Stocks.

3. Twitter — This is the official Twitter app for WP7. Really like the look & feel in dark theme. No frills, just works with good caching.

4. Netflix — May I say more? This I think is the best Netflix app across all Mobile platforms.

5. Tech News Now — wonderful RSS aggregator from my favorite tech gadget sites.

6. Last.FM — This MSFT-built app has single-handedly made me switch from Pandora to Last.FM. Some of the scrobbling features, continuous play & rich UI is very pleasing. Plus, it works under locked screen; too bad does not prevent screen lock-out in the first place.

7. AP Mobile — Nice news aggregation. Like Live Tile image surprises throughout the day.

8. Open Table — Again, I think this is the best Open Table app across mobile platforms. Metro UI fits this perfectly.

9. Beez – Another cool Twitter client with rather amusing Timeline view. This one is also armed with Push Notifications for DMs & mentions.

10. MyChannel 9 – All Channel 9 videos  & news at your fingertips. Only wish video playback had a few more controls.

Now, there are two that did not make this list, because they are just too good to be ranked .. ha ha. And that’s because yours truly has had his hands in them.

  • Sogeti Hub – Ok, I don’t blame you for not knowing/finding this one .. it has not hit the Marketplace yet. There was some red tape to get Sogeti LLC. set up officially with an account; we should be able to push it out soon. Hopefully, this will be awesome with everything Sogeti in mind, both internal & external facing.
  • ShopTillYouDrop – Now, I am kind-of ashamed to mention this. This was a rather basic Shopping List app I had written way back last year .. it kinda works; but doesn’t look very Metro. In its defense though, it was amongst the very first round of apps to go live in the WP7 Marketplace. I have been working on an update to support multiple lists, richer UI & Push Notifications; but all the other work keeps pushing it off to the back burner. I will make an update soon, I promise !

Ok, now for a few tips that I find handy:

  • Remember, you can hold down the Camera hardware button to bring up the Live cam, even if the phone screen is not lit.
  • Hit the Power button once, and without unlocking, you can change the volume toggle between ring & vibrate.
  • Remember that Games do not always honor the vibrate setting .. be careful in meetings.
  • Markeplace app is kinda sensitive; I know MSFT has promised a fix in the first update. But until then, once in the Marketplace, always let the screen finish loading stuff .. otherwise Marketplace may crash & require a reboot.
  • Use Bing voice search abundantly .. it really works very well.
  • The vibrate mode icon looks like slices of bacon .. rather yummy..ha.

Hope this was entertaining. Please do drop comments with suggestions or other interesting stuff.



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