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Desert Island

If you were stuck alone on a desert island, which eight records would you choose to have with you and why?

This is the simple premise behind the BBC’s long-running and much-loved radio series, Desert Island Discs.

Each ‘castaway’ selects eight songs or pieces of music that holds great personal and emotional significance for them.

It’s a great show that has served the BBC well since 1942, but what if we were to replace the word ‘discs’ for ‘apps’?

Yes, you can pick holes in the scenario if you wish.

If I were stranded on an island, I would prioritise food and shelter above my Nokia Lumia 800. There would also be problems with battery life and data reception.

Remember though, this isn’t about survival – that’s been done here. These are the apps that, for various reasons, I would always want to have on my Lumia.

Have a listen to ‘By The Sleepy Lagoon’ in the video below, let your mind drift away and suspend your disbelief for just a few minutes…

Here are my eight desert island apps and why.

BBC Podcast Lounge, £1.49

BBC Podcast Lounge

Seeing as this article has been ‘inspired’ by one of their programmes it’s only fair that we start with this. Actually, this is not an official BBC app but don’t let that put you off. The interface is a delight to use.

The BBC Podcast Lounge gives you easy access to all of the BBC’s podcasts from its national, local and digital stations. That is an awful lot of content on everything from news, sport, movie reviews, documentaries and comedy.

Having worked for ‘the Beeb’ in various guises for the best part of 10 years, I will always retain a fondness for the corporation and this app is testimony to its terrific radio output.

Soccer Livescores, FREE

Soccer Livescores

When I was young, I only wanted to be a professional footballer. So did all my friends. As an adult, the beautiful game has retained its vice-like grip on me.

As I wrote in this post, I was hesitant about mobile phones for a long time and even then I never thought I would do anything other than call and text.

The tipping point came when one of my friends got a smartphone and they were using it to tell me live football scores. It was a revelatory moment and I knew my life would never the same.

To this day, it is the app I use the most and much to the chagrin of my partner, I will check it constantly whenever there is a match on.

All for Fan – Liverpool, FREE

All For Fan - Liverpool

Supporting a football team goes beyond being a mere fan of football.

It is tribal, illogical, emotionally draining and permeates into practically all aspects of my life. It is like an addiction that can’t be shaken off.

This app helps to feed my passion with the latest news, fixture lists, league standings and even integrates tweets.

Fans of lesser teams may be interested to know that there are similar apps for their clubs too. But the Liverpool one is the best.

Domino’s Pizza, FREE


I can’t cook and I love pizza, so this app, which allows you to order a delivery using your Lumia, could have been made especially for me.

I order from Domino’s so often that if I ever have a fatal accident in my own house, it won’t be a neighbour finding me but Domino’s alerting the police that they haven’t heard from me for weeks.

Perhaps, I could have chosen a recipe app like Epicurious, but then there’s the problem of scavenging for ingredients, whereas I am sure Domino’s have got delivery boats, right?

Nokia Music, FREE

Nokia Lumia 710 with Mix Radio

Like football, life without music is barely worth contemplating. Reading the NME, saving up for CDs and going to gigs was a massive part of my teenage years when the Britpop scene was kicking off.

Nokia Music is less an app and more a central feature of my Lumia 800.

As well as playing music that’s been synced from my computer, there is also Mix Radio that streams specially compiled playlists.

There are other apps available in the Windows Phone Marketplace, such as Spotify, but Nokia Music is the one for me.

Learn Chinese, FREE

Learn Chinese

Being stuck on a desert island would actually be the perfect time to do something I should have done a long time ago: Learn to speak my native language.

The older I get, the more I regret not being able to speak Chinese.

This is partly due to China’s meteoric rise as a global superpower and I know my CV would look considerably better if I could speak fluent mandarin.

This app breaks the language into useful topics, such as numbers, people, eating, travelling and so on.

HistoryPin, Free


This is a beautiful and endlessly fascinating app that is both fun and informative.

Use your current location, explore themed collections or search on the worldwide map for classic photos that have been uploaded and tagged by individuals and local community groups.

This is a great way of finding out about the place where you live and the places you are travelling to. Whether stuck on a desert island or not, HistoryPin is a great way of exploring the world.

Next Bus UK, £1.49

Next Bus UK

This gives you live bus information from over 370,000 bus stops in England, Wales and Scotland. You can see when the next bus is due, find the nearest stop from your location and search for bus stops by postcode or place names.

What good is an app like this on a desert island? Useless, of course.

However, as someone who is reliant on public transport in London, apps like this have become invaluable.

Having great tools that make daily life go just a little smoother is one reason why smartphones have become indispensable to so many of us.

I couldn’t imagine my life without it, even on a desert island. In fact, it would give me great comfort, sitting on a rock, watching the waves, knowing that the 261 to the Lewisham was running late, yet again.

For those of you outside the UK, you could give also give Nokia Transport a whirl.

Which apps would you take with you on a desert island?

Image credit: Gerry & Bonni