Essential apps and games for a new Windows Phone

Essential apps and games for a new Windows Phone

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If you’ve just unboxed a new Windows Phone this week and are looking for some app ideas, I recommend starting with the Essential Apps collection. Here you’ll find 34 handpicked highlights from the Store, ranging from social media and entertainment to shopping and personal improvement—everything you need to make your phone useful throughout the day.

A companion collection—Essential Games—serves up some of the most challenging and distracting fun around, from favorites like Monopoly and Angry Birds to homegrown hits like Wordament.

Finally, as I wrote about last week, don’t forget that some of the Store’s top apps and games are on sale now through the end of the year.

And if you did unwrap a new phone this week, I‘d love to hear what you think about it and what apps or games you grabbed first.

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  • microsoft made a superb operating system with windows phone 8 but left out some essential functionality for many of its users.  nokia maps are great maps but are really only useful with nokia drive at the moment.  who cares if you can download a map to your phone if there isn't a pleasant gps experience that also gives street names?  this is a free and pleasant experience in other operating systems so why have nokia and microsoft dropped the ball with the availability of nokia drive on all wp8 devices?  nokia maps are fantastic at getting me to my destination and provides great directions but the points of interest are very noticeably lacking.  people need to shop. people need to find their stores without difficulty. people need to find their coffee shop.  this is easily done on iphones and android phones through google maps.  it isn't easily done with nokia maps which are supposed to be the main mapping for windows phones.  do microsoft or nokia expect people switching from those operating systems to remain for long with windows phones if such basic functionality is nonexistent?  BASIC. microsoft doesn't need more apps in its store so much as it needs to vastly improve the user experience through FUNCTIONALITY.

  • I believe that this aaps for games will be useful for children, because they love to play almost any kind of friv games. My son, for example, loves to play on

  • I like WP.I like to make a feedback. I want see a better page navigation within an app. Can it be so that if a user presses and hold the back button for few seconds within an app he or she should see all the pages of that app that he has visited or navigated.

  • toybook
    0 Posts

    At last, someone showing some love for the Windows phone OS. I have been using WP7 for nearly 2 years now, and just love it. Will be upgrading to WP8 next week when I get my Lumia 920. iOS is so last year;-)))

  • @Ambrose99: Awesome list!Thanks for sharing.

  • "....when the ability to identify a song is a part of search...."

    Would be cool yes, if only this were true for where I live.

    Place No. 4 of all still open feature suggestions:

    Unfortunately, and now since 2+ years, many Bing features like music search are not available in Switzerland (and in many other European countries too).

    The US-Centric view of some of the MS departments is clearly hindering the market penetration in Europe.

  • Even though you guys have not provided an update for WF 7.5, it is still an awesome phone. The live tiles, especially the pictures hub live tile, is excellent. I just realized every time you tap the pictures tile it changes the randomization on the tile. Cheers from California!

  • Just met this girl at the airport with a white 920... She say's she loves it but is disappointed that Instagram is not available. I told her that it's coming soon... I hope I didn't just lie to her..

    Also met another girl yesterday who had a 822 with a cracked screen.. She loves it and said she had a choice between the iP5, and the GS3, but chose the 822 because it was more appealing.

    These phones are selling, but I'm still concerned about apps. We can get people to choose WP once, but will they choose it twice if specific apps are missing?? Instagram is the most wanted app for WP!

  • hysonmb
    6 Posts

    that first URL is bad (extra . at the end). This is the page:

  • hysonmb
    6 Posts

    A true essential app for Windows Phone 8 is something that doesn't exist. We need Zune or something similar in a bad way. Media management on WP8 is driving long time customers and fans back to WP7 or worse, other platforms, and no one has addressed the many comments on the MS Community pages. This is just one of them: When some fans are suggesting iTunes for managing podcasts, things are in a bad place.

  • Check out ReadyClick! It is a voice controlled camera lens app and essential for taking group photos or self portraits.

  • abm
    268 Posts

    @thenewmozart, true. On Windows Phone platform SoundHound outruns Shazam app in music recognition..

    Also out-of-the-USA thinking is very rare to find in WP ecosystem. Many major apps are missing from non-US markets. Apps like MetroTube are not present in all regions. The AppHub dashboard must emphasize on all-regions selection because apparently many developers are unaware of the fact that there is a whole big world outside the USA where people are using Windows Phone OS.

  • why have they added in apps with such low ratings? Crazy or what?

    Facebook has the lowest rating yet it is No. 1 on the list. Seriously FB is the worst app!

    MetroTube does such a fantastic job and has got the highest rating out of all those apps yet it is stuck right at the bottom while that silly YouTube app gets front row seats! silly!!!

    PDF reader? are you kidding me?

    and as why shazam?! I mean besides the damn thing being sooooo slow at recognizing songs who the heck needs it?

  • Speaking of Must Have Apps: PhotoSynth is missing - not only from the list but also still from WP8. Any ETA?

  • Hello Michael,

    If you have the time, could you take a look at the new weather app SkyMotion please:

    This app was released 5 days ago. I know that weather apps are popular and especially during this time of the year. SkyMotion has developed a technology to get an ultra-precise weather prediction.

    Your reader might be interested about this new app.

    Thank you in advance!


  • I think whoever chose this list is a little confused or it's made from a "most downloaded" list.

    For example, it has the Shazam app, when the ability to identify a song is a part of search. No app necessary. Twitter and Facebook I don't have installed, but use them frequently, as they are also built into the People app.

    Then, not only is there the official Twitter app, but Rowi (which is vastly superior to the official app) as well.

    Not only Foursquare (which works just fine), but 4th & Mayor as well...

    What I find is Windows Phone's strength is not what is needed to make it work, but what ISN'T needed. You don't need a ton of apps as a great majority are built into the OS and work very cleanly and quickly. This makes the phone feel much faster, when it takes less effort to do simple tasks. Hence why the "Smoked by Windows Phone" campaign was viable.  

    Here is my app list: Allrecipes, Amazing Weather, Chrync, Cocktail Flow, Countdown Tiles, Endomondo Sports Tracker, ESPN, Fantasy Ferret, Flashlight-X, Foursquare, GroupMe, MetroRadio, Netflix, Nextgen Reader, PasswordCrypt, PhotoBeamer, Photosynth, Rowi, SkyDrive, SportsScores, SuperTimer (free), TuneIn Radio, YouTube, and Zombies, Run!

    I personally think this list is much more helpful, doesn't repeat apps that do the same thing, and gives you all the apps to make your phone more versatile.