Pinworthy: 5 apps to try with Windows Phone 7.5

Pinworthy: 5 apps to try with Windows Phone 7.5

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Hi everyone. I’m Andy, a new guy on the Windows Phone team. One of my jobs here is to track and try out new apps. In the weeks ahead, I’ll bring you new discoveries and personal favorites as a new contributing writer to the weekly Pinworthy column.

Today’s post is all about new apps fine-tuned for Windows Phone 7.5 (aka Mango). While all of our 30,000+ existing apps run on Windows Phone 7.5, many of them are being updated to take advantage of new features like improved Live tiles, App Connect, multitasking, and more. We’re already seeing some great examples, such as those below—most are free and all are available now in Marketplace. Apps are central to Windows Phone, and this sample shows that they only get better with 7.5. Enjoy!

eBay

As both a long-time eBay buyer and seller, I’m excited about this app and its new 7.5-related features. Unlike eBay apps on other smartphones, the Windows Phone version lets you pin watched items and individual auctions as tiles to your Start screen and receive instant messages whenever their status changes. I put this to the test by pinning “watched” bicycles to Start.

Ideally, I’d like to see these tiles provide a real-time countdown of each auction. However, the instant messages did notify me when my auctions ended soon, which reminded me to check my watched items—all of which were easily accessed from the tiles on Start.

Download eBay

The updated eBay app for Windows Phone 7.5.The updated eBay app for Windows Phone 7.5.

These are quick  photos I took of my phone showing how the eBay app’s new tiles (red arrows) look and work.

OpenTable

With the money spent on my eBay habit, I’ve shied away from eating out lately. But when I do Open Table is handy. I’ve passed a café several times recently and thought “I need to check that place out.” With the Open Table app that’s been updated for Windows Phone 7.5, I was able to not only make the reservation easily using location-based search, but also pin the reservation as a tile to my Start screen. The Live tile continually flipped to display the details of my reservation: date, time and number of people—which served as a great reminder.

OpenTable also takes advantage of another new feature with Windows Phone 7.5, called App Connect. If you haven’t heard about this already, Bing Search results offer up relevant apps you already have on your phone or recommend apps that may be useful based on what you’re searching.. In this case, my Windows Phone included the OpenTable app alongside my search results for “dinner reservations.”

Download OpenTable

The Live tile for OpenTable in Windows Phone 7.5The extra Live tile for OpenTable in Windows Phone 7.5

A look at the Live tiles for the Windows Phone 7.5-tuned Open Table app. Again, shot on my phone, so pardon the reflections and glare.

Fly Delta

Although I typically fly Alaska or Jet Blue, I’ll use this app the next time I’m booked on Delta. The original version of the app let users check in, rebook flights, pick seats on an interactive map, see flight status and gate info, and more. Now, the Windows Phone 7.5 version also lets you pin your mobile boarding pass to Start, handy for both security and the gate. The updated app also synchronizes with Bing maps to display airport maps on your phone— perfect for when you’re sprinting through the airport to find your gate!

Download Fly Delta

Fly DeltaFly Delta

MSN Movies

I’m a sucker for baseball movies: Bull Durham, The Natural, Major League…even the Sandlot—all great flicks! Recently, I’d heard good things about Moneyball. So I searched for the movie in Bing, and my phone offered up a quick card with show times at local theaters. I tapped on show times and received a recommendation for several movies apps, including MSN Movies. I tapped the app and—voila!—an overview page for Moneyball appeared thanks to the new App Connect feature in 7.5.

When exploring Moneyball, MSN Movies provided all the things I’ve come to expect from movie apps like Flixster or iMDB, including an overview of the movie, showtimes at local theaters, the ability to buy tickets from the phone, and see member reviews, video trailers, and photos. A nice bonus feature is how the app also takes advantage of Windows Phone 7.5 quick cards that provide suggestions based on prioritized local search results on restaurants, shopping and things to do. When I tapped on a suggested local theater playing Moneyball, I could then swipe to a “nearby” screen that provided dining options a short walk from the theater.

Download MSN Movies

MSN Moviesimage

Parachute Panic

This is an addictive game, and it doesn’t help that the Live tile on my Start screen flips to show my highest score! The tile also displays my previous game mode: easy or normal, which serves as a reminder for me to trial the normal version rather than celebrate my success on “easy mode.” As with all the Windows Phone 7.5 apps listed in this post, Parachute Panic also supports multitasking, so you can quickly switch back and forth between apps by pressing and holding the Back button. In this case, I was able to interrupt the game to check email and send a text without having to shut it down.

Download Parachute Panic

Parachute PanicThe Live tile for Parachute Panic

When you play Parachute Panic on Windows Phone 7.5 you can see your high score on Start. Cool!

35 Comments
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  • This phone needs more Angry Birds games like Angry Birds Rio.

  • Is Call of Duty Zombies ever going to be on the Windows Phone? Microsoft would make a lot of money out of that game

  • OK, my Focus magically lighted telling me Mango was available to me today.  I followed the very simple instructions and it loaded fine.  I really like how my mail sorts now.  I get a lot of notification emails and it was a pain having to delete them one at a time.

    The apps will come.  This is like back during the first week of the 7.0 release:  people complaining what's not there instead of what is.  I LIKE 7.5 more than I liked 7.0 which I bought over Android and iOs because I LIKED the Windows Phone OS.  

    MS made no secret with either launch this was new territory which MS took seriously too late and can't afford to screw up.  We all knew what we were in for....and I put up with WM6.0 AND 6.5 which both sucked but easily synced with Outlook.  An app also came along which let me tether; something att refuses to allow unless I pay them.

    Yea, it would have been nice to have the choice to upgrade to Mango on Day One.  Meanwhile, if there was a glitch, the ones of you complaining that you can't upgrade yet would be screaming that your phone is screwed up.

    If you want boring predictability, go waste your money on an iPhone 4S.  Then you can hang out with the other iDrones and congratulate yourself on how clever you are mindlessly upgrading your overpriced hardware every time Apple craps out a new product.

    If you've got genuine suggestions for MS, tell them.  Granted, they don't really respond to feedback but please, enough with all the whining already!

    Sorry; not meaning to offend anyone but this is just getting tiring.  I'm still trying to figure out all the new stuff 7.5 already does; not making a wish list for the next incarnation.  And fortunately for me, my really important apps seem to still be working.

  • AnZ
    12 Posts

    @ Andy, It still isn't working, now i see the option enabled, however when i specify the phone number i get no text or the install happening, Phone and the PC both are on the same network. any suggestions?

  • Not all of theese apps are avavible outside of the US.

    This is a major limitation of WP7 Marketplace. It's "launched" but only in a limited way outside initial launch countries.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @Nater

    Erg...you do realize MS doesn't actually develop the most apps for the phone (I know they developed Facebook, more on that in a sec). I'll admit they need to be agressive in getting much of the large companies to develop apps for them but still you're rant is a bit off base.

    OpenTable is awesome, sorry it isn't available by you, you're missing out.  But it was certainly a MUST grab for WP7 to be even remotely competitive, so I'm not surprised they're holding up as a jewl (although I wished the main live tile was more..well...live, rather than having to pin specific reservations.

    Delta is the first Airline, hopefully others will follow suite.

    I can imagine the facebook app is largely ignored, since..well..you know so much of it is integrated into the phone.  Facebook didn't even bother to write the app, it's one of the rare ones that MS did develop, but I could understand why support for the app may be lackluster if they're trying to get the support into the phone itself.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    Yay!  We get an updated MSN Movies while Facebook for Last.FM for Windows Phone are still not updated.  Incredible.  Says a lot about a platform when the developers can't even be trusted to have their apps updated in time.  I wonder what would happen if Apple Releases iOS 5 and everyone finds out iWorks isn't iOS5 ready on release or something like that.  Would probably be a bit embarassing, like this.

    These apps are useless.  I use eBay - to search for stuff - that's it.  OpenTable is useless around here it doesn't list any of the restaurants here.  Parachute Panic.... Whatever.  We don't Fly Delta (even you don't, why bother? I'm not booking a flight just to try this).

    I mean, seriously.  The WLM on iOS is fantastic, as is OneNote.  The Bing app is fantastic as well.  Why does it seem Microsoft's quality of development is much higher for all platforms but their own?

    Also, loosen up the UI guidelines.  It's ruining look and feel for apps that really have no business using a Metro UI.  Everything is looking like a clone of stock apps, like literally every messaging application.  Either provide hooks to integrate these services into the Messaging Hub, or allow them to differentiate themselves on Look and Feel as they do on other platforms.  WP7 is starting to look way too boring and one-dimensional now.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    Here is the rub though.  The Web marketplace (linked here) siezes up if you don't have Mango yet and you try to install and app that's been released for mango. Even Parachute Panic (which I already own) won't "Reinstall" because of the Mango update.

    Typically I'd say this isn't a problem, but the Redirect takes you to the generic help page on updating your phone.  You guys are pimping the web marketplace everywhere, I've come across it on several blogs.  Newish users (who may not read this blog) may be off put by the inabilty to actually use the web marketplace until Mango expands.  At the very least in the Interim, I'd put something on the help page to let people know it's in roll out.

  • @brianm76, your post wasn't very complete.  What are you talking about?

  • @STENRICK, please go back to the thread that talks specifically about the way the rollout of Mango is going to happen.  It clearly statest that, while almost all carriers and devices are rolling simultaneously, ONLY 10% are rolling the first week, and then during the following 2 weeks the rate will bump up to 25%, followed by 100%.  So, it's a luck of the draw, my friend.  If your devices were counted in that first 10% then you wouldn't have had to use the trick to get the update.  I just don't understand why so many people seemed to be under the impression that every single device was going to get the notification right off the bat.  The thread was quite clear.  I think everyong who was able to get the trick to work on their phone should be glad about that and simply move on.

  • brianm76
    61 Posts

    MSN Movies?  Really?  You can't select future dates, only the current date. FAIL.

  • Sheeds
    205 Posts

    Welcome aboard Andy :) Look forward to seeing regular pinworthy Apps and Games updates from you.  That guy you replaced was so erratic - here one day, gone the next - anyone would have thought he was really busy (LOL :P Michael).

    Let me know - or hit me up at @WP_DownUnder on Twitter if you want some ideas or feedback suggestions for you columns on Aussie Apps - we already have a number of Mango-ready ones Down Under :D

    Cheers,

    Sheeds

    WPDownUnder

  • UGHH, I hate all these EN-US links - seriously, there MUST be another way!? I end up on the app page, but when I go to 'buy' or whathaveyou, I get to "Sorry, but you can't buy apps from here. Do you want to see if this app is also available in your Marketplace?" And THEN have to check MY marketplace (En-AU), and discover, OH, that app isn't available.

    Come on, you have GOT to simplify this process! There are more people living outside America than within!

  • DJ, the trick hasn't worked for me, been trying for days. There's a point where you just have to give up. Plus I've got a flight tomorrow as I previously mentioned, no more time for that nonsense. They should be opening the spigot daily.. not weekly or bi-monthly. This is crazy. I'm not going to unplug my cord 100's of times a day for it, I guess I'm not *that* hungry for it. I shouldn't have to do it, is the thing. :)

  • @AnZ - are you still not seeing the "download immediately" selection?  If so, I will research.

  • 3 Separate Updates is actually correct, depending on what the pre-update state of your phone is.  That was all documented somewhere over the past few days.  And needing to do the Zune Trick just means that unfortunately, you weren't part of the initial 10% chosen few.  Luckily, THANKS to the Zune Truck, that doesn't matter!

  • Not sure if this is the correct forum, but the update process is broken.  I have several phones and for every one of them I have had to do the Update - disconnect internet workaround in order for Zune & the Phone to see the update(s).  Plus it does not recognize it as a cumalative update.  I have to go through 3 seperate updates to get them to 7.5.

  • Also - yesterday evening, I had to pick up someone arriving on a Delta flight - Perfect Timing!!  Installed the app, tracked his flight, and was expecting his call from the cell-phone lot when he said he was ready to go!  

    ...and in other news, I've fed a lot of parachuters to the sharks... :)

  • Banstyle - the Zune-Network-Unplug trick has worked for nearly everyone who's tried it, you could be running Mango within the hour!

    www.wpcentral.com/force-mango-update-early-through-zune-software

  • @ STENRICK.... Go here to the official MS WP7.5 site to sing up and get all the details about your new Mango upgrade!

    www.microsoft.com/.../whats-new-in-windows-phone.aspx

    Be sure to visit the "My Phone" page to register and use the online features available for you.

  • TSR, I know the app exists in NoDo too, but how cool would it be to pin my flight to the start screen? I had this all planned out too, I was exciting to know Mango was coming out this week and I could use some nifty features on my flight including Delta.. but unfortunately I didn't get the golden Mango ticket this week. It's frustrating, and as long as all WP7 sites and blogs all over the internet continue to claim how cool Mango is (including this one) I can't help but get annoyed. My Samsung v1.3 should have it, it doesn't.

  • Where is the information on How To Use all these cool new features in Mango?

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @Banstyle

    The delta app is available for pre-mango phones, it just doesnt' allow direct pinning of reservations.  It does most everything else though (boarding passes, reminders).

    However, delta appears to have made some problems in it as I can never find my FF info or my flight.

  • You know what? I am flying Delta TOMORROW and I have a Windows Phone. Unfortunately you guys aren't letting me download Mango even though it's supposedly released for my phone. Pretty obnoxious. It would have been nice if it all just worked out.

  • Hawk
    61 Posts

    Sure would be nice if there was a Pandora app for WP7!!!!

  • AnZ
    12 Posts

    @ BuckeyeTico, it is not available for all the HTC phones / Region. not available for HD7 US users

  • Is HTC Watch available for Mango? Have any of you, HTC owners, been able to find and download HTC Watch?

  • Android has animated Backgrounds or wallpapers available. They look cool add depth, bring the phones to life, and are a real eye catcher when phones are on display at the stores. We would like a standard to be set so that all animated wall papers from MS and the developers apps are of descent quality.

    Also, transparent wallpapers need to be recognized as a option. Ever since Mango they do not work anymore. I loved

    having my transparent wallpaper because it allowed me to view my start screen by just taping the lock screen. It opens up the phone so much, and this just has to be made available for everyone.

    This would be just for the lock screen image, as we're not trying to conflict with the natural goodness of WP.

    You can vote for this feature at the link below. Thanks

    windowsphone.uservoice.com/.../2284438-animated-wallpapers-and-or-backgrounds-

  • Razor
    53 Posts

    Yep, the ability to take a  screenshot is a must. Sad that this did not make it into Mango.

  • This post just shows why Windows Phone needs screenshot capabilities. You can't do a good review of the phone or the apps itself if you can't take screenshots directly on the phone.

  • Yes please give us a screen capture App already! It would make blogging about Apps alot easier than having to take pics with another cam and edit things out.

    BTW whoever is still waiting on their Mango update, just try the Zune trick as suggested by others, here's a video tutorial: www.youtube.com/watch

  • Great post, and welcome to the blog, Andy!  Love the app reviews, bit it made me even more sure that we really need a screen-capture function!!  :)

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    Hmm,

    I kinda wished Open table didn't require you to pin a specific tile to the start menu for that tile flip to show the reservation to work, I wish it'd just show my next one.

    With the new mango tiles though, my start menu may get many many more pins.

  • Any news regarding the LG E900 specific issue that prevents LG E900 with an old bootloader version to perform the Mango update? The issue has been confirmed by Microsoft Support on Microsoft Answers by John L. - Microsoft Support (page 32):

    answers.microsoft.com/.../1ec8d54d-0ee8-4db6-ab62-4ca26b3fbbe7

    I tried to Twitter @Winphonesupport - but they didnt even care to look at Microsoft Answers and just referred me to a generic update support page.

  • AnZ
    12 Posts

    Hi Andy,

    as per the video, Windows Web Market Place,  Ben gets two choices when he clicks install on web market place. send an email link or download immediately. I do not get the download immediately choice.

    I'm using Windows Phone 7.5 on HD7 Open market Phone and I'm not sure as to why i do not get this option, reply and comments are much appreciated.