Windows Phone Apps of the Week

Every week I’ll pick three of my favorite Windows Phone apps. I’ll include both paid and free apps as well as games. If you are an app developer and want me to feature your app here, drop me a line.


Pulse is one of the latest arrivals on Windows Phone Marketplace after being a successful app for iOS and Android platforms. Pulse is a newsreader app that takes your favorite websites and transforms them into a colorful and interactive mosaic.


Pulse intends to make reading news fun and engaging. It incorporates colorful panning story bars and fills them with content from your favorite sources. From the mosaic of stories, you can tap on an article to see a clean view of the news story. The app also allows you to share a story via Facebook, Twitter, and email. You can choose from a variety of sources from browsing the directory without bothering about remembering or copy-pasting RSS feeds.

Developed by Alphonso Labs, Pulse is available for free for Windows Phone 7.5 or higher.

News + Weather | Free | <1MB | Download


Implode is Angry Birds for those who want to have a blast’. Implode is a physics-based game that requires you to plant dynamite bundles to demolish obsolete structures.


Although the target of the game is similar to Angry Birds demolishing structures the gameplay and the styling is different, and appealing. It is easy to learn, but as the levels go up, it’s hard to master. The game already has 100+ dynamite levels and three types of bombs: traditional, blast, and directional. More levels and bomb types will be made available with upcoming updates. The chalkboard-themed UI is distinct and the touch and drag control options seamless. You can play with a casual, veteran, or expert difficulty mode and add achievements points to your Xbox LIVE account. Since the high scores for each level are graded, you always have the motivation to replay an already cleared level.

Published by Microsoft Game Studios, Implode is available for $2.99. A limited trial version is also available.

Puzzle + Trivia | $2.99 | 14MB | Download

Little Thumb GPS

Little Thumb GPS is a useful navigation app to archive all your favorite places, generic addresses, restaurants, hotels, car parks, tourist attractions, and outdoor venues.

Little Thumb GPS

I use the app very frequently these days to mark stores while I’m shopping and hiring services across the city to plan my wedding in a few months. This is why I also put it on my list of best navigation apps for Windows Phone. Using this app you can find your way by foot or car back to a previously stored favorite place. Saving a location doesn’t need address details when you are physically on the site, and hence is useful for adventure travellers to mark spots for fishing, bird-watching, mountain peaks et al. The saved location can include information like altitude and coordinates. Available in English and Italian, the app provides an option to select between Google and Bing maps.

Little Thumb GPS is developed by an Italian development studio, etinet. The $1.49 app allows 10 fully functional uses in the trial period.

Travel + Navigation | $1.49 | <1MB | Download

5 Apps That Add More Functions To Windows Phone 7 Features

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)

DSC03282 (Custom)

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)

DSC03288 (Custom)

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)

DSC03278 (Custom)

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)

DSC03290 (Custom)

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.

DSC03289 (Custom)

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.

WP7 Developer Dashboard Updated With Much Needed Improvements

My twitter feed is filled with excited Windows Phone 7 developers within Microsoft and outside. App Hub, the developer dashboard to submit Windows Phone 7 applications for verification received a major update today.

The two widely appreciated feature additions are:

  • Private beta
  • Editing application details

The Private Beta option has been a desired feature by app developers and bloggers. Developers can now allow a set of users to try (and review) their applications before they go live in the marketplace. So far this process needed sharing and side loading of the application file on a developer unlocked phone, which was a hassle.

The second feature makes it easy for application developers to make changes to the application’s listing in the marketplace and description without having to submit a new version. The developer can edit application’s category and artwork. Daniel at WPCentral has listed a few more changes that include better crash reports (critical for developers) and a new layout.

Microsoft understands the importance of developers in the mobile OS race. They have been actively developing and supporting the community. The App Hub update comes after the public beta of Windows Phone 7 Mango which fixes a lot of shortcomings and introduces some compelling features to the phone.

h/t @matthidinger  for the information on editing app details.

Update: Long Zheng has shared details about Private Beta, the beta lasts for 90 days and a developer can share the app with up to 100 users.

Angry Birds Now Available for Windows Phone 7

Hurry! Angry Birds is now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. After the initial announcement by the game developers, Rovio, in February and Microsoft in May, and later pushing the announced date in June to June 29, Angry Birds has finally landed. The game also ends the Xbox’s Must Have Game series for Windows Phone.

Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7

The best-seller game, inspiring merchandise, popular culture references, and rumors have it that a movie too, offers hours of challenging, physics-based demolition gameplay, and lots of replay value. Angry Birds is one of the most popular iPhone and iPad apps, ported to Google’s Android OS a few months back, and also released as a PC game recently. Last month, Rovio released an Angry Birds version for Google Chrome browser as a featured app on Chrome Web Store.

Instead of 255 levels available for other platforms, Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 offers only 165 levels. Each of the 165 levels require logic, skill, and brute force to clear. It’s just few games as yet, but I have a feeling that Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 is a little harder than on other platforms. I’m guessing additional levels will be made available as updates.

The game offers Xbox LIVE integration so killing pigs would add to your Xbox LIVE achievements. Angry Birds is free to try and $2.99 to buy. Get dem pigs!

EverNote Launches a Slick Windows Phone 7 App

While Evernote always had great apps across all mobile platforms, including Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7 users had to satiate the need with the mobile site or alternative third-party apps like Fasternote. Finally, Evernote has launched their Windows Phone 7 app.

Evernote for Windows Phone 7

Continue reading EverNote Launches a Slick Windows Phone 7 App

SPB TV 2.0 Now Available For Windows Phone 7 Smartphones

SPB Software finally launched its popular application, SPB TV for Windows Phone 7. This application is already available on Android, Bada, Symbian, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, webOS and Maemo platforms. SPB TV for Windows Phone 7 allows you to watch Live TV channels on the go. You can easily download this application from the Microsoft Marketplace. Check out the complete features of SPB TV below.

spb tv windows phone

SPB TV Features:

  • More than 150 TV channels from more than 20 countries, subscription free
  • Unique TV browser with fast channel launching and switching
  • Integrated TV Guide with a list of current & upcoming TV shows
  • Video-on-demand
  • Network bandwidth fluctuations support
  • Onscreen controls

“The user has an opportunity to make an informed decision about the channel to watch even without launching it. A channel selection screen provides all the needed information about the running TV program including a screenshot and TV guide information. While the selected channel is streaming full-screen, the user can choose another channel by seeing a preview picture of it in Picture-in-Picture mode,” the company notes.

SPB TV has been integrated by the leading carriers and broadcasters, including MTS, StarHub, MegaFon and Skylink with a total of 250 million subscribers worldwide. SPB TV 2.0 is available for all smartphones running Windows Phone 7 OS. SPB TV requires a reliable 3G or WiFi network connection for proper streaming. To download SPB TV, head over to this page.

Microsoft Engineers Set WP7 App Coding Benchmarks Pretty High

Windows Phone 7 right now has close to 16,200 applications in the marketplace. According to mobile apps watcher Distimo, at the current growth rate, the WP7 marketplace will have more apps than BlackBerry and Nokia’s app stores in less than a year of launch. When WP7 launched, it came with apps that early adotpers would ask for, namely:

  • Foursquare
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

These apps were borderline decent with basic functions. The first version of Facebook did not have Places, Foursquare’s app was not updated to include Foursquare 3.0 features. However, developers within Microsoft who used these services and  realized  that the development platform for WP7 could implement the missing features took matters in their own hands. As a result we have two beautiful apps that leverage WP7 and the service APIs for feature-rich apps.

Rowi (Twitter client):

Developed by @HumanCompiler and @heskew, Rowi has a paid and free version. The free version is better than the official WP7 twitter app, it has ads though. The paid version ($2.99) includes  push notifications, linked images in tweet and live tile  notifications.

The subtle features in the app are what I love the most. If your WP7 has the dark theme, the starting animation for the app fades into black from white or vice versa if the phone’s theme is white. The app uses the accent color for the tile, twitter handles and the nice upward pointing arrow to show availability of new tweets.

Earlier this week Rowi and the MetroTwit team announced that they will be offering a cloud based sync between the two applications. MetroTwit is a popular Windows PC twitter client that’s designed based on the Metro principles.


4th & Mayor (Foursquare client):

A few days back the official Foursquare client for WP7 was removed and users were redirected to @jeffwilcox’s 4th & Mayor. A stamp of validation for the app that it is indeed the best Foursquare client for WP7 as of now. The first run for the application has a gorgeous animation which disappointingly can’t be revisited. The application has all features available in the official Foursquare iPhone application including:

  • Uploading venue photos
  • Explore
  • Specials
  • Commenting on check ins
  • Adding tips


The  developers  for both apps have done an amazing job on designing around the Metro theme, showcased the developer tools capabilities and made use of WP7 capabilities. Hoepfully, more developers work on coming up with applications equally good.

PS: Websites for both these applications are well designed as well.

Windows Phone 7 Gets Angry Birds and Instagram Clones

Android and iPhone have been instrumental for the success of applications like Angry Birds and Instagram, neither of these apps are available on Windows Phone 7. Angry Birds creators, Rovio don’t look too keen on bringing their popular game on the platform. Similar is the case with Instagram, a simple app that allows you to add filters to your photographs and has social network integration for sharing photographs.

Instagram reached a Million users in December and Twitter added the ability to view photographs from Instagram on their web interface. Angry Birds had a Million downloads on the first day of their Android version launch. The popularity of these apps and their absence on WP7 has inspired developers to fill in this gap with clones.

Bubblegum (Instagram Clone):

Like Instagram, the app allows you choose from a set of filters that you apply to an image and then upload the image. The uploaded image can be sent to Facebook and Twitter. you can also checkin to a location on Foursquare at the same time.

Unfortunately, the app does not make use of Foursquare’s image API and on Foursquare you get the URL to the image as a checkin comment. Even on Facebook, a link to the image is posted to your wall instead of the image being shown.  Some screenshots:

bblg-01 bblg-02

Links to two images I uploaded using the app:


Chicks n’ Vixens (Angry Birds clone):

First up, not the best choice of names. Talking about the game, the components of the game have been changed keeping the game play same.

  • Birds Chicken
  • Pigs Vixens
  • Slingshot Canon

The game is free for download and if you feel left out from the Angry Birds hype you should definitely try this app out. Screenshot:



Blue Screen On The Windows Phone 7? There’s An App For That

How can it be Windows without a blue screen, right? Well, the developers at InfinitiesLoop Entertainment seemed to be missing it on the Windows Phone 7 so much that they decided to bring it on the phone, with an app.

The app is available on the Zune App Marketplace for free and all does is displays a blue screen on your phone. Here’s the beautiful blue screen on a Samsung Focus:


Look quite real, I wonder why this isn’t a featured app on the marketplace.