“What apps should I get?” Now there’s a question I hear constantly these days. It’s also something I ask myself a lot. Maybe you do, too.
Even for someone like me, whose job involves apps, staying on top of all the new entries flooding into Marketplace each week is a near Sisyphean task. To manage, I rely on a bunch of tricks and tools. I poke around on other people’s phones to see what they’ve downloaded and devour reviews and best-of columns like this. I also lean heavily on features built into Marketplace—like the ability to list the most-downloaded free or paid apps, and see related apps, owner reviews, and star ratings.
Another favorite—but often overlooked—crutch is provided by apps themselves. Yep, the explosive growth of smartphones has spawned a new software genre: apps for finding apps. Today, I’ll introduce you to a few of the ones I have pinned to my own Start screen.
My current favorite of the genre. App Flow’s big selling point—besides its brisk, polished interface—is its human-curated lists. The lists are organized around fun or offbeat themes like “New & Impressive,” “Forgotten legends,” “Love or hate,” and “David vs. Goliath” (well-known apps and their unofficial, occasionally copycat counterparts). Whoever assembles them does a good job of injecting just enough quirky unexpectedness to ensure you’ll often find an worthy new download candidate. App Flow also offers more traditional machine-generated lists, including ones for bargain hunters that show what’s on sale or what former paid apps are now free.
Other stuff I liked: The Live tile showing an (unofficial) tally of the entire Windows Phone app catalog. Even better is all the chart-and-table eye candy, which displays ratings by date, rank, and rank history to help you decide whether an app is worth it. Download it
AppTastic is another must-download for serious Marketplace prospectors. What sets this free ad-supported app apart is the ability to set up your own custom searches, so you’ll know the instant a cool download candidate hits Marketplace. Search criteria at your disposal includes keywords, category, subcategory, price, and rating—so there’s lots of ways to customize the net you cast.
Other stuff I liked: AppTastic visually flags new app arrivals in your search results, making it less likely you’ll miss a potentially good one. Download it
Best WP7 Apps
Picking the best of the rest was slightly challenging. But in the end I decided to go with Best WP7 Apps, a relative newcomer that shows strong potential. Like others in this category, Best WP7 Apps offers fun data-driven lists like “best of the best” and “monthly cool.” It might not be everybody’s taste, but I liked the dense, info-packed results you see when you tap one. Another nice touch that I didn’t see elsewhere was a feed for app news and reviews, although some of the entries were a little outdated (and yo! where’s Pinworthy? ). Pulling in video app reviews would have also been a nice touch.
Still, Best WP7 Apps is a solid app that’s worth a close look. Download it