Paid-Apps On Windows Phone Microsoft Journalists Recommend & Use

When Microsoft announced the apps worth $25 free with new Windows Phone 7 devices I wondered what apps I would’ve bought. I looked at my list of installed apps and there weren’t many that I bought. I searched the marketplace for apps I might want to buy, I surprisingly didn’t find many. I then decided to ask some of my peers from the Microsoft beat as to what apps they use. Here’s a list of apps (both paid and free) suggested by those who follow Microsoft everyday.

Adam Lein at PocketNow (  @adamzea)

Daniel Rubino at WPCentral (  @malatesta77)

He’s behind my favorite Windows Phone blog and he sent me a long list of apps he likes. Here are the paid ones:

  • BoxFiles for Dropbox ($1.29) — A Dropbox (and SkyDrive) client; there’s a free version  (ad supported without SkyDrive support)  too.
  • Fuse ($1.29) — News reader
  • Weave ($3) — RSS reader that has a free version as well.
  • Thumba Photo Editor ($1) — the best $1 you’d ever spend on an app. It’s like Photoshop on mobile.
  • WeatherLive  ($1.50) — I personally use AccuWeather, it has ads, is free and the live tile works.
  • Garmin StreetPilot  ($35, no kidding!) — expensive navigation but if you’re a fan of Garmin’s devices it might be worth it .
  • Handyscan ($2.5) — the app acts as a scanner and document manager. Scanned documents can be uploaded to Dropbox, SkyDrive or saved as a PDF and emailed. There’s a free version too.
  • IM+ Pro ($5) — Multi protocol chat client that has a free version too. Gtalk, Skype and a bunch of others. I’d still prefer Mango’s native Facebook integration for Facebook chat.
  • NextGen Reader  ($2) — a Google Reader client
  • Ffffound  ($1) — a WP7 app for the blog, brings you inspirational and creative images.

Tom Warren of WinRumors  (  @TomWarren)

Techie Buzz has learnt that Tom Warren would have you pay for only two apps:

  • Network Dashboard  ($0.99) —  Network Dashboard is a very handy utility. It’s on my useful apps list as well. The app now costs $0.99 but was initially free. A simple app that creates live tiled shortcuts for WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth and Airplane mode. The live tiles have multiple templates and the app will even remind you to turn the WiFi or 3G ON/OFF.  (Toggle is a free alternative.)
  • Pictures Lab  ($3) —  Pictures Lab is a photo manipulation app. It lets you apply filters, frames etc., the usual stuff.

Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet (ZDNet @maryjofoley), Scott Lovegrove (@scottisafool) and Kip (@kipkniskern) from LiveSide (

When I asked MJF, she had an interesting answer, she said was a person of few apps and she’d be willing to pay for apps local to her city. The one example she had was museum guides. For her, games aren’t very exciting either. Now if I look at Adam’s list, he has 2 apps and 3 games. Scott and Kip both said they didn’t buy a of lot apps (Scott bought 1). When I looked at my list, I bought only two apps—Thumba Photo Editor and Thumba Cam. I did however buy a few games (NFS, Assassin’s Creed, Angry Birds, Flight Control, Fruit Ninja, PES and Revolution).

I decided to look at the iTunes top 10 paid apps list and I wasn’t surprised to see 8 games and just 2 apps. Android however, had 7 apps and just 3 games. The thing about Android’s list is that, of the 7 apps, 1 was a music player (probably the default player sucks?), a ROM manager (for those who love root access), an alternate keyboard (maybe like the music player, the keyboard sucked too), a File Manager (yea, well, it’s Android…) and a widget manager (I don’t even want to start on that). The thing is, the default Android setup (UI/UX) till ICS looked pretty bad to me compared to Windows Phone & even the iOS. All this in addition to Android not being a great gaming device, perhaps, would explain the list.

I wonder whether mobile applications actually are great revenue generators when there is no subscription involved.

Microsoft Announces WP7 Mango RTM Hours Before Fujitsu’s WP7 Handset Unveiling

Fujitsu will be unveiling the first Windows Phone 7 Mango device a few hours from now. And Microsoft just dropped a bomb on us.

Speculated and rubbished a few days ago were claims of Windows Phone 7 reaching the all-important RTM (Release to Manufacturing) milestone. (It means Microsoft’s finished the code and handed it to partners to get it to the customers.) The excitement was short lived but our hopes of getting WP7 Mango on our phones by the holiday season remained strong.

Today, those hopes were bolstered by Microsoft signing off on Windows Phone 7 Mango. As of now, developers have access to Mango Beta which while stable has some features missing. Mango reaching RTM also means, Microsoft will start pushing out the update to carriers. Microsoft’s experience with the past two Windows Phone 7    updates was not pleasant. Unlike the previous updates, Microsoft and partners are expected to see a smoother roll out this time around.

At their Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft showed 4 new Windows Phone 7 handsets. Fujitsu is expected to officially unveil the waterproof phone at an event in Tokyo.

You can catch a live stream of the Fujitsu event below:

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.

WP7 Sent To The Cloud, Then Sends Data To Microsoft’s Cloud

A UK based start up company – Segoz, part of the Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft (ASTRA) group decided to send a Windows Phone 7 device into the Stratosphere to gather data useful for research.

A custom application on the phone gathered location data using GPS and using GSM network transmitted this to Windows Azure. The setup allowed scientists to predict trajectories for different pay loads and helium gas in the balloon.  An excerpt from the project’s description page explains the project:

The Windows Azure workers are used to calculate predicted landing sites,  based on factors such as  payload weight and atmospheric conditions,  for various helium quantities.   Once a landing site has been chosen and the flight commenced, the Azure workers update the predicted trajectory based on updated location information  received from  a Windows Phone 7 device within the payload. The latest predicted landing sites are automatically sent out to the balloon followers.

The device was sent as high as a Concorde flight, which according to Wikipedia is 60,039 ft and survived the atmospheric conditions. Based on the image, the device is either the HTC Mozart or the Trophy. Here’s a video on the experiment:

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Angry Birds Flying To Windows Phone 7 Devices

One of the most popular mobile games , which is also available for desktops and netbooks is finally going to be on Windows Phone 7 devices soon.

Angry Birds

Microsoft has had a few problems with the developers; Rovio Mobile; when they had jumped the gun during the WP7 launch and said that Angry Birds would be coming to their devices. Rovio had categorically denied those rumors and even asked Microsoft to refrain from using them as promotions.

However, few months down the line and Microsoft has officially announced that Angry Birds would be coming to Windows Phone 7 devices. In addition to Angry Birds a few other popular games will also be made available for WP7 devices, they include:

  • Doodle Jump
  • Plants vs Zombies
  • Hydro Thunder Go
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I
  • geoDefense.

The new games will start arriving in the Windows Phone marketplace starting April 6, 2011 and will include support for Xbox Live allowing users to post high scores and track leaderboards.

These games will definitely add some spice to the Windows Phone marketplace, but Microsoft definitely needs lot more apps in there before it can even be considered on par with the market and Apple App Store.

How To Fix Bricked Windows Phone 7 After Applying WP7 Updates

Microsoft released a minor software update for WP7 based devices which would improve the updates process in the future. However, it turns out that Microsoft did not test the update process much because it has reportedly bricked several users devices who applied the update.

Microsoft did ask users to exchange the device if they have a problem, but that is definitely a time consuming process. In the interim, Microsoft has also stopped updates for WP7 Samsung devices.

If you have a bricked Windows Phone7 device after applying the latest WP7 updates, a Neowin user has posted some steps to fix the bricked Windows Phone 7 device. Follow the steps given below to fix your phone.

  • Unplug USB form computer. Charge phone or put in charger.
  • Turn off phone.
  • Turn on phone using 3 buttons – power, camera and volume up/down rocker. Keep all 3 held for 10-15 seconds. Do not release when it asks if you want to format the SD card.
  • Keep holding until it says “download mode”. This will reinstall the OS.
  • If phone does not reboot in 15 minutes just power it off and back on.
  • Re-setup phone, update firmware through Zune software and then re-sync your documents, music, pictures, videos, etc..

Try the steps given below to recover your Windows Phone 7 device before you head over to the store to get a replacement. Phew, can’t believe that Microsoft botched up an update that would improve the update process in the future.

Windows Phone 7 Gets an Update to Improve Updates; No Copy Paste Yet

Microsoft has just announced a new update for Windows Phone 7 devices, but hold onto your horses. This new WP7 update does not bring in any new changes including the NoDo update which will add copy-paste functionality to the device.


The new update from Microsoft for Windows Phone 7 will only improve the software update process Disappointed smile. It definitely does not add anything more to the device.

This first update for Windows Phone is designed to improve the software update process itself. So while it might not sound exciting, it’s still important because it’s paving the way for all future goodie-filled updates to your phone, such as copy and paste or improved Marketplace search.

Windows Phone 7 is set to get the “NoDo” update which will include copy-paste functionality and an improved Marketplace for apps somewhere in March 2011. There are several more updates in the pipeline, but those do not have any delivery dates; except for that it will be available somewhere in 2011.

So if you were excited about the new Windows Phone 7 updates to your device, keep your expectations in check because the first major update will only arrive in March 2011. Till then have fun updating your device to get improved updates in the future.

To update your phone, connect it to your computer and update it using the Zune connector for PC or Windows Phone 7 connector for Mac.

HTC HD7, Motorola DEFY, LG Optimus and myTouch 3G Free On T-Mobile

Looking to buy a Windows Phone 7 based phone or get your hands on an smartphone? Here is your chance to get it for free. T-mobile is offering the HTC HD7, Motorola DEFY, LG Optimus T and myTouch 3G for free till Valentines day.

T-Mobile Free Phones Valentines

T-mobile is offering several smartphones for free through February 14. You can choose between a range of Windows Phone 7 and Android based devices. The slashed price includes mail-in rebates, so you might have to pay some money to get the phone.

You will have to sign up for a 2-year contract with T-mobile to get the phone. So go ahead and get some Windows Phone 7 and Android love for free at

Engadget Posts Fake Nokia-Windows Phone 7 Prototype

Update: The images posted below were actual prototype of the devices. Sometimes we have to eat our words and this is a perfect example of it.

Hey, am I someone who should be scared? NO right, so here I am telling you how Engadget sometimes does not do fact checking and posts images of non-existent devices which won’t be seen until maybe 2012.


On top you will see the actual images Engadget posted. Below you will see how much photoshopped this image is, come on Engadget this is not what we expect from you.


If you look at the above image, there are few things that are wrong:

  1. The Nokia written on the phone is not how Nokia does it. They only started doing it with the Nokia N Series and E series and it is always towards the "right top" of where it appears in this image.
  2. The Nokia text/logo on all these devices are photoshopped.
  3. Nokia does not use rectangular cameras in any of their devices, they are all square and there are no vents behind in any Nokia phone.
  4. The headphone jacks on these are way beyond 3.5mm, looks like someone carved a hole in them using photoshop.

As far as concept phones go, they are not perfect, but they always follow a design pattern a company has followed all through. Sadly, this Engadget scoop has PhotoShop written all over it.

Ready To Watch Nokia Capital Markets Day

So after a year where Symbian lost the market leader crown to and a week where Stephen Elop’s memo caused a major storm in the tech world, Nokia will finally start out with the Nokia Capital Markets Day in London in a few hours.

Nokia Logo

Everyone’s eyes and ears will be tuned on to which company Nokia will be partnering with to bring some good phones to their lineup. According to the impending rumors Nokia will partner with Microsoft and come out with Windows Phone 7, however, nothing is certain yet and this will be a huge setback for , the OS which never was and never came to be.

Earlier last month, Manan had said that Nokia should basically go with either WP7 or Android as the software for their high end phones and it looks like there is no way out for them but to do it. I have personally used the and the and find that it has good hardware but it lacks good software. It definitely makes sense for Nokia to let go of or stop making smartphones with it as it hurts them more than it is good for them.

This event is extremely important for Nokia as the target audience are the investors and Nokia certainly cannot afford to disappoint them as they have disappointed their loyal users.

Hopefully, a lot of questions will be answered tomorrow at the Nokia Capital Market’s Day. We are all waiting with bated breath for what Elop will say tomorrow. Are you?

The presentation starts at 10AM London Time / 5AM EST. If you are interested in watching the Nokia Capital Markets Day online, you can head over to this link and click on the Webcast link or visit the webcast page directly, you will need to register before you can view the webcast.