For any new platform to succeed, it needs user adoption, developer acceptance and company resources. As I wrote in my last piece, Windows Phone 7 has Microsoft’s complete attention and developers have started considering it as a competent platform. While Windows Phone 7 is quite a complete platform in itself, however, there are some gaps that developers have started filling up. Over the several months with the phone I’ve found a few apps that integrate with the existing features of the phone to offer some additional functions.
1. Lyrics (Free)
The app once installed can be accessed from within Zune and will pull in lyrics of the song currently playing. The app can be launched from the Music hub and also allows you to control playback. Some salient features of the app:
- Lyrics are displayed in a big font size
- The app pulls in Artist bio and lyrics to more songs by the same artist
- Lyrics can be shared on social networks or via Email
The app lets you have your own little karaoke on the phone.
2. Tweet This Song (Free)
With the launch of Spotify there’s been a debate around which music service is more social. Is it iTunes with Ping; Turntable.Fm or Spotify. Zune is not counted and for good reason. Other than having a network of your friends and the ability to see what they are listening to, there isn’t much. I sometimes like to share what I’m listening to with my friends and Zune on WP7 doesn’t let me do that. RogueCode’s app Tweet This Song!fixes at least part of the limitation for me. Once you’ve set your Twitter account, the song being played Zune will be tweeted. The app allows you to customize the tweet under settings. You can share a link to the song on Zune Marketplace as well.
Personally, I find Spotify to be complete social music service. It allows me to subscribe to playlists curated by my friends, share songs and playlists. (Though I would Pandora with Spotify-like Facebook friends and their playlists integration.) Zune does not allow me to share a song I’m listening to.
2.1 NowPlaying (Paid with Free)
Nirmit, the developer of NowPlaying pointed me to his app that does the same and having tried it, I think I like it better than Tweet This Song. NowPlaying has Facebook and Twitter integration, the app also has custom messages with preconfigured meta options which makes it easy to create your own messages. The app has a free and paid version. The free version does not have any restrictions on sharing and is pretty good!
3. Where Did I Take That (Free)
You can add location data to photographs taken using WP7. On the phone, there’s not a lot you can do with the geodata; that is unless you install Where Did I Take That. The app launches Bing Maps and you can select photographs from your phone and the app will plot them on the map. Photographs from social networks (Windows Live and Facebook) don’t seem to have geodata. Nevertheless, the app is fun.
4. Album Art Wallpaper (Free)
The app will pull out album art from your songs and let you create a WP7 lock screen wallpaper. The app is simple with some level customization. You can choose the albums you want and the number of tiles in the wallpaper. The app allows you to share the image over SMS or email too.
5. Here Is My Info ($1.99 with Free Trial)
I am disappointed when it comes to apps around the amazing People’s hub. Microsoft has implemented a well thought-out contact card with LinkedIn, Twitter, Windows Live and Facebook integration. Unfortunately, so far, there is no app that lets you share all this information easily. I cannot forward a contact’s complete details automagically filled with data fetched from these social networks. The closest free app that lets you share your contact information and forward a contact card is Here Is My Info.
You can fill out your details and forward this as an email or select a contact from the People’s hub and share their information. What annoys me is that I have to manually point the app to the contact for adding the fields. However, the app is still better than all the alternatives in the Marketplace as of now. The lack of dedicated field for Twitter is a downer.