introduced Windows Phone 7 to you fine readers. Back then I lamented on what a refreshing Metro UI Windows Phone 7 offers, but the lack of features meant that it isn't quite ready for prime time yet. Since then the platform has slowly matured to something that not only looks pretty, but actually useful. Gone are the days where you can't copy and paste or multitask. Still while Mango tastes delicious, it still some way to go before it matches both iOS and Android in terms of functionality.
But never mind that, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is about explode thanks to Nokia with the new Lumia 800. HTC and Samsung has also refreshed their lineup with the HTC Titan and Radar, and Samsung Focus Flash and Focus S. There will be many new users to the refreshing platform, some who probably has never owned a smartphone before, though I suspect many would be Symbian refugees jumping their sinking ship.
A good place to start discovering apps would be the Marketplace, but even with 30,000 apps and counting, the Marketplace's poor search has proven difficult to obtain that rare good app. One of my favourite app discovery, urm, app is AppFlow, where apps are curated by Windows Phone fans. These includes apps that has been optimised for Mango (Live Tiles, fast app switching) and hidden gems.
Well, here are my top 10 apps for Windows Phone 7 anyway:
A sophisticated ad-ware supported ebook reader with support for the standard ePub format. Download and read free books on Project Gutenberg, or upload your own ebooks via Dropbox. It is simple, and yet deep inside the menus you will find a huge amount of advance settings to make your reading experience a bit more personalised.
With a database of over 50,000 radio stations from around the world, TuneIn Radio is one of the best legal ways to obtain free music on the go, assuming you have a data plan (and you should). Stations can be sorted by genre and locations, and also be pinned to the start screen.
The Lite version offers basic but still useful status updates of the London Tube. More importantly however, the app also allows you to check your Oyster card balance - how cool is that? The paid-for version includes a licensed tube map, journey planner, bus times and departure countdown, just so you can eke that extra one minute in bed.
Bing Maps is actually rather good, in Britain at least, but at times you may want an alternative perspective. Well Bingle Maps uses Google Maps as its source and even includes satellite view, as well as search feature.
The best thing about Windows Phone 7 are the live tiles, and StickyTiles takes that concept further allowing you to apply virtual sticky notes onto the home screen. Need a quick reminder to buy that pint of milk? Just stick it on your home screen.
This nifty app allows you to quickly share your contact info with other users, by way of generating a QR code. This QR code can then be pinned to the home screen, ready to be scanned by anybody with a smartphone. Moo cards are great, but how many of you really pay attention to them? I have collected so many of them over meetups but never have the time to type it all in my phone book. This ensures that your contact gets copied immediately.
A rather simple app that enables you to create a tile heading, so you can better manage the home screen, allowing you to divide your live tiles into 'sections'. Okay, it isn't the best solution to an ever populated start screen, but until Microsoft allows sub-folder tiles, this is the second best solution.
There are plenty of weather apps available on the Windows Phone marketplace, but WeatherDuck is free (ad-ware) and supports ten day weather forecasts and background updates. And yes, WeatherDuck also supports two-face Live Tiles for multiple cities.
Disappointed that the default Phone app does not support smart dialing? Look no further. TrueDialer's dialpad will search your contacts as you type. It doesn't do much else, but it doesn't need to.
4th & Mayor
The official Foursquare client may look nice, but the menu isn't particularly intuitive and is slow. 4th & Mayor boots up to show immediately where your friends are, which is what Foursquare is all about. Checking in is a tap away while exploring the area is a swipe away.