I am often asked what my favorite apps are for Windows and Windows Phone. So I thought I’d put together a blog post highlighting some of my favorite apps in response to that question. I’m always playing with apps on my Windows devices so my hope is to maybe do these posts every month. I have a lot of favorite apps and this post only touches on some of them (I’m already working on a second post of favorite apps). So here we go.
Flipboard hit the Windows Store back in November and since then, I’ve been having a ton of fun with it. With Flipboard, you can find all kind of content sources to subscribe to and “magazines” from other Flipboard users. Flipboard is like a one all-encompassing magazine of content from various sources and people. You can even add your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts (and more) and read things that are posted from your friends and family or work colleagues through those accounts. Flipboard is great for anyone who wants to read a bunch of content but you can also create your own curated magazines of things you find of interest as you read for others to subscribe to. That’s what makes Flipboard fun. As I read interesting, nerdy and geeky articles I come across from my subscriptions, I add them to my own magazine called Nerd Things you can subscribe to. You can download Flipboard for free from the Windows Store.
Fitbit helps you monitor your daily activity through several Fitbit devices available. I have a Fitbit Force and love it. I regularly check in on my daily progress in the Fitbit app on my Windows PC and/or tablet throughout the day. The Fitbit app shows me progress against my daily goals, as well as daily and historical graphs of activity like my steps, calories burned and floor climbing patterns. The Fitbit app also shows me my nightly sleep patterns (I am not sleeping as much as I should). And of course I can see how well my friends are doing who also have Fitbit devices. You can download Fitbit for free from the Windows Store.
With the Fitbit app from the Windows Store and the wireless sync USB dongle (the Fitbit Base Station) that came with my Fitbit Force, it actively syncs data from my Fitbit Force to the service and the app on my Windows PC or tablet throughout the day. Fitbit recently updated the app to allow for this without need to download and install a separate desktop app to enable syncing. And this also works on Windows RT tablets when you plug in the Fitbit Base Station.
Package Tracker (Windows and Windows Phone):
Like most people these days, I buy a lot of stuff online. And when things I buy get shipped, I want to be able to track them in transit. Package Tracker is a great app – available on Windows PCs and tablets as well as Windows Phones – that does just that. With Package Tracker, I can connect it to SkyDrive so that packages I am tracking at any given moment sync across all my devices. I get notifications when there are status updates for packages. It even puts packages on a map based on their location. Package Tracker is a must-have app for tracking the stuff you buy online. You can download Package Tracker from the Windows Store here for $2.49 (U.S.) and from the Windows Phone Store here for $1.99 (U.S.).
Halo: Spartan Assault (Windows and Windows Phone):
I am just loving this game. Halo: Spartan Assault is a top-down action shooter you can plan on your Windows PC or tablet or your Windows Phone – AND your Xbox. In Halo: Sparta Assault, you play as either Commander Sarah Palmer or Spartan Davis stationed aboard the UNSC Infinity where you battle against Covenant forces with 25 missions (as part of 5 operations with 5 missions each). You can compete against friends in Leaderboards, take on Weekly Challenges and earn more than 40 in-game Achievements and Medals accruing to your Gamerscore and Halo Waypoint career. As an example of being not very good, I’ve completed 5 operations in the first mission and moving to the second mission now. But what I love about the game is being able to play on any device and have it maintain exactly where I am at in the game. I’ll occasionally pop in and play a bit at work (don’t tell my manager) then get on my Xbox One when I get home and play some more.
Xbox One SmartGlass (Windows and Windows Phone):
Speaking of Xbox, ever since I received my Xbox One Day 1 Edition back in November, I’ve been using the Xbox One SmartGlass on my tablets and Windows Phone to control and interact with my Xbox One. With SmartGlass, you can easily navigate the web on your console, turn up the volume on your TV, and select a video, music or game to play and a lot more. Read this blog post on Xbox Wire for all the details on the Xbox One SmartGlass experience. You can download Xbox One SmartGlass from the Windows Store here and from the Windows Phone Store here.
Nokia Camera (Windows Phone):
I have a Lumia 1020 and I love taking photos with it. Which is why I also love the Nokia Camera app because it makes it super easy to take good photos. Last fall, Nokia combined the Nokia Smart Camera and Nokia Pro Camera apps into a single Nokia Camera app which has proven to be awesome. With the Nokia Camera app, you can control important camera settings like exposure, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and focus with just a tap of a button… plus a lot more! I suggest reading this blog post from Nokia on all that the Nokia Camera app can do. You can download the Nokia Camera app here from the Windows Phone Store if you have a PureView Lumia device such as the Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 925, or Lumia 1520. P.S. check out this awesome photo I took with my Lumia 1020 this last weekend on a trip to the Oregon coast!
Ok that’s it! If you use any of the apps I’ve mentioned in this post regularly, would love to hear your thoughts in comments. Also: I am open to suggestions on any apps you think I need to try out! Stay tuned for #2 sometime next month.
As an Enterprise customer, I feel the Microsoft apps on both platforms need help. Lync, in particular, needs help on both Win8 and WP8. And why is there is no Skydrive Pro app for WP8 at all.
Brandon LeBlanc I still feel as if the Skype app is a little lackluster yet, and I'm still hoping that the Outlook Metro app can pick up more of the feature set that the desktop client has. Also, waiting for MS Office here as well.
The OneNote team did an amazing job with their app, and I'm hoping the rest of the Office suite will be just as great.
Cylon Centurion - I would say the pursuit of apps is equally aggressive for both Windows and Windows Phone. Which (or what kind) of productivity apps is currently missing?
I agree on Facebook being another great app.
Facebook is another great app, and I'm happy to see it regularly updated.
Though I am sad to see that Microsoft does not appear to be aggressively perusing apps for Win8.1 as they are Windows Phone. Windows 8.1 is still missing some serious productivity apps.