Windows Phone 7 - what apps did we get?
Last week we detailed a few apps we wanted to see on Windows Phone 7 when it finally launched. Well Microsoft’s newest mobile platform has launched across networks and a range of devices globally today, so we thought we’d come back and see what we’ve actually got on launch day.
Of course we’ve also reviewed the operating system and three of the launch handsets so far - the HTC HD7, the Samsung Omnia 7 and the LG Optimus 7. Our pick of the bunch? At the moment it has to be the glorious AMOLED display of the Samsung.
But in all our reviews, we’ve pointed that the Marketplace is going to be critical to the success of Windows Phone 7. So, using our original list, here are the apps we’ve got, a quick appraisal of them, and finally what we’re waiting for.
Twitter for Windows Phone is yet to launch, but we’ve had it for a couple of weeks. At the moment the build is a little unstable, causing a couple of crashes along the way. The app works with WP7’s side-swiping action, letting you skip through your feed to mentions, messages and favorites. Currently it won’t update in the background, but refreshes each time you resume the application, or on a forced refresh when you tap the button - there is no sign of notifications either, so you’ll have to restore the email alert for your DMs. When it refreshes it won’t give you everything, putting a break into the feed, but you can tap this break to fill in the gap if you wish. Early days, this is still to be released and still needs a number of bugs ironing out. (UPDATE: Twitter has now officially launched)
Facebook is incorporated at a core level in Windows Phone 7, so you do get to post Facebook and upload pictures already, as well as incorporating your contact’s details, updates and being able to view their photos. The Facebook app gives you the full treatment, again offering access to those areas already covered, but giving photos special treatment. You’ll get easy access to friend’s updated albums, as well as random photos picked from your own and thrown in to the mix - we’d forgotten some of those horrific nights out, and here they are, resplendent in all their glory. The app is basically broken down into your links (photos, inbox, events, friends, profile, etc), top news, photos, event, and notifications. No sign of Facebook Places, which leads us on to…
Foursquare has made it onto the map, meaning you can checkin as you roam around with your new phone. We like the big bold interface, offering up places, tips and friends. Places shows you nearby venues with the option to search for more - opening one up will let you checkin and also offers a Bing map, giving you the option to navigate to that location. The tips section - apart from offering a range of disparaging comments - will again let you get venue directions and the Friends section will offer links to their Twitter feed and an email option. Basic stuff, but isn’t that the appeal of Foursquare?
What better way to empty your wallet than bidding on someone else’s junk whilst returning home from a night out at the pub. The Ebay app opens rather ashamedly with “popular searches”, offering up a horrendously pixelated image, most probably of some misshapen sack from Topshop or Next. Sign in to access all the goodness from your account, with messages, watched items and your selling and buying all listed. You can even head into the feedback centre, although unfortunately there is no spellcheck offered to make sure you don’t send complete gibberish. Reminders will come out of the background to alert you to junk you are watching - don’t miss out - bid now!
Don’t let the absence of the official Twitter app set you back, as Seesmic is already on the scene. Offering to integrate your social “spaces” - well, Twitter and Facebook anyway - so you can keep up with the action all in one place. You can post messages, fire out pictures, follow trends, stalk celebrity tweeters and follow Facebook updates. On the Facebook front it isn’t too exciting, but as a starting point for Twitter, it’s currently your best bet.
“What else has he been in?” your nan always asks, and with IMDb you’ll always have the answer. Yes, you could just Bing the answer, but IMDb serves up its platter of movie facts and trivia with a certain level of class on Windows Phone 7. You can find films near you to watch, see what the latest results are from the MOVIEmeter and STARmeter (currently with Eric Stoltz racing to the top), browse movie news, check out the latest releases and watch trailers for them. All lovingly presented with Windows Phone 7’s wrapping wallpapers. And yes, you can call up your favourite movie star and browse their picture gallery.
Yes, Netflix has made it! Yes, you need an account to sign in and yes, we don’t have one - if you do, and want to fill us in on the US-only movie rental service, please feel free to leave us a comment below. Perhaps LoveFilm will be stepping up to the mark in the UK?
Touchnote will let you send a postcard from you phone, so you can literally snap your own photo and send it back to your colleagues stuck in the office. After filling in the details in the app, selecting your photo and submitting it, they’ll print it up and post it so it arrives like a regular postcard does. It will cost you £1.49, but at least you won’t have to figure our how to ask for a timbre or briefmarken whilst on your travels. Remember you’ll pay for roaming data unless you can find some friendly Wi-Fi, unless you're on a staycation that is.
What didn’t make it?
From our original list, there are some pretty major omissions at time of writing: Spotify, Firefox, Skype, Amazon, Angry Birds, TomTom and Hipstamatic didn't get a look in. Okay, so the Zune Pass could take care of your music needs, the IE browser is pretty good (but syncing for those who use Firefox might be requested), and some of the Hipstamatic features might already be in your device. We really want Skype though, we’re yet to hear anything about major satnav support and you’ll have to placate yourself with the Xbox Live games on offer, like Rocket Riot or a bit of The Sims 3.
Critically though, we’re twiddling our thumbs waiting for the YouTube app to appear and we’re miffed that there is no sign of Messenger or any other IM client. If we’re being really picky we’d like to see BBC iPlayer get in on the action too… (UPDATE: YouTube diligently appeared a few hours after we published the story. It enables YouTube video through the YouTube Mobile site, but doesn't support embedded YouTube in websites, which sort of misses the point. Messenger has also now appeared.)
Of course, you can always do your Tesco shopping, and if you've signed into your Xbox Live account, then your first port of call should be the Xbox Live Extras app, which offers a deeper link into your Xbox Live account, letting you see your achievements, customise your avatar, and so on. It's not earth shattering, but it is free.
What do you think of the selection available? Which apps would you like to see on Windows Phone 7?