The Windows Phone Store is packed full of apps, some good, some not so good. This is a guide to a few useful apps you might want to consider downloading….
There are plenty of Twitter apps on Windows Phone, in fact I think I may have used most of them at some point. But Rowi is in my opinion the best. It’s fast, reliable, well designed, and frankly puts the competition to shame. Rowi supports notifications for new messages and mentions, and has a built-in browser so that you can view links without having to leave Rowi. For tweets with images, Rowi shows an image preview within the timeline. Rowi has recently been optimised for Windows Phone 8 too, so it supports devices with high resolution displays, and also supports all 3 tile sizes. Other cool features include built-in Bing translation, so tweets in any language can be viewed in your language of choice.
Rowi is $1.49 / £1.29, and a free trial option is available. [Download]
I think I’d be more lost without my PayPal account than I would my bank account these days. PayPal makes sending and receiving payments so incredibly easy, and their Windows Phone app makes it even easier to use PayPal while you’re away from your PC. The app lets you send or request payments, and also make withdrawals to your bank account. You can also opt to receive notifications when someone pays you, and if you pin the app to your Start screen the Live Tile will let you know when you’ve been paid.
PayPal is a free app. [Download]
I love Prime TV. This app helps you keep track of your progress though TV series. Simply add your favourite shows, and Prime TV will list each series and episode, along with a tickbox so you can set whether or not you’ve seen each episode. The episode guide includes screenshots, trailers, and descriptions of each episode, and the app’s Live Tile will remind you when new episodes are due to be aired.
Prime TV is $0.99 / £0.79, and a free trial option is available. [Download]
Why this isn’t a built-in app I’ll never know. Skype is Microsoft’s text, voice, and video chat service. The Windows Phone app let’s you chat with other Skype users for free regardless of their device (There are apps for iOS, Android, Windows PC, and Mac, so it’s not as limiting as Apple’s FaceTime for example). What’s more, by adding Skype credit you can call landlines across the globe at a low cost. The Windows Phone 8 app is particularly cool, as it uses a new low-power connected mode, which enables Skype to stay active (so you can always receive incoming calls) without the app running, and without any significant battery drain.
Skype is a free app. [Download]
Whether you sell on eBay, or just occasionally buy, the eBay app makes the whole process much easier when using your Windows Phone. The app supports notifications to let you know when an item is ending soon or if you’ve been outbid, and it also allows you to pin items directly to your Start screen – where a Live Tile will allow you to keep a close eye on its current price and number of bids.
eBay is a free app. [Download]
Windows Phone already has some Skydrive integration, for example photos you take can be set to auto-upload to Skydrive, and Word/Excel/PowerPoint/OneNote all support opening and saving docs on Skydrive. But if you want a simple file browser for Skydrive then the official Skydrive app is your best bet. You can browse your Skydrive, upload or download files, and even set sharing permissions for individual files and folders.
Skydrive is a free app. [Download]
Though iPhones and most Android phones include built-in bookstores, Windows Phone doesn’t. Fear not though, Amazon’s Kindle bookstore is the best of the bunch with over 750,000 books. The Kindle app for Windows Phone will let you browse, purchase, and read your Kindle books, and also download samples of books before deciding on whether to purchase. The app will also sync your progress though each book, so that if you read on multiple devices you’ll always be on the right page.
Kindle is a free app. [Download]
While your Windows Phone comes equipped to open most documents thanks to the built-in Microsoft Office suite, PDF files are unfortunately not supported by default. You’ve got two main choices here – Adobe have their Reader app, or there’s Microsoft’s PDF Reader app. Personally, I found Microsoft’s app to be faster and easier to use. Unfortunately this app requires Windows Phone 8.0, so if you’re using an older Windows Phone with the 7.5 or 7.8 software then you’re out of luck – in that case, stick with Adobe’s Reader app.
PDF Reader is a free app. [Download]