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March Apps Madness 2013

After narrowing down the list of 32 to 16, we’ve actually done it – we’ve arrived at the Excellent Eight. 

From our large field of apps divided into the four categories(Games, Social, News and Entertainment and Utilities and Productivity), we now have eight apps that will duke it out on the way to the finale later this week.

Today we’re going to kick off all the Excellent Eight voting in each of the categories so scroll down below and pick your favorite apps!

Under each pairing, select your favorite among the two choices below. We’ll take it from there.

So, here are the titles for the next round!

Gaming: Star Wars Angry Birds vs. Asphalt 7 Heat

Social: Twitter vs. WhatsApp

News and Entertainment: AAWP (All About Windows Phone) vs. Amazing Weather HD

Utilities and Productivity: ProShot vs. Battery Level for WP8

To see the full bracket, updated with the Excellent Eight winners and contenders, see this link.

If you need to research your choice and study the form, visit the Windows Phone Store – and remember, you can try the apps before you buy on a Nokia Lumia phone.

Voting is simple. Under each pairing, select your favorite from the choices below. We’ll take it from there.

Kicking off the voting

To begin the voting on the first half of the Excellent Eight voting, we’ll take a look at the first two categories: Games and Social.

Star Wars Angry Birds

Angry Birds is an old favorite mobile game. But with Star Wars, it’s a whole new experience. In this edition, Red Bird and Pink Bird have undergone an epic transformation in their endless battle against the Bad Piggies.  Get ready to grab your Lightsaber and undertake an intergalactic adventure through iconic locations like Tatooine, the Death Star and beyond.

Angry Birds Star Wars

Star Wars fans and Angry Birds fans will be dazzled with the graphics and innovation that Rovio put into this app!

On your Lumia, Star Wars Angry Birds looks fantastic on the large ClearBlack display. And if you’re in a place that still has some winter chill left, you’ll be happy that you can fling birds with gloves on, thanks to the Lumia 920’s super sensitive touch display!

Asphalt 7 Heat

Asphalt 7 Heat has generated a lot of interest since its launch on Windows Phone 8 last month. This fast playing racing game boasts realistic 3G gaming and the 15 tracks look stellar on the Lumia’s screen.

Asphalt 7 Heat

Love to drift as you race down the track? You can do it easily with Asphalt 7 Heat! The game uses the accelerometer for controlling the car and players use easy controls to hit the gas or brakes depending on your course.

As you play through and start to master the courses, you can buy new cars with added acceleration, nitro speed and better handling, depending on your taste. Asphalt 7 Heat can be played either alone or online for multi-player action.


Twitter screenshot

Twitter recently got an update to version 2.0 that brought a whole new design to the application, aligning it with the apps on the other platforms. The new app features the four tabs Twitter users are used to seeing including:

  • Home: view Tweets from accounts you follow
  • Connect: See your mentions and also who’s followed you or re-tweeted your content
  • Discover: See friends and find new content based on categories
  • Me: read and reply to your direct messages, see your lists and favorites.

The new app also brings functionality that was missing in the prior version including a Live Tile that lets you Pin Twitter accounts, lists and searches to give you instant access to your preferred content on Twitter.

With the updated app, Twitter has gained new fans on Windows Phone.


WhatsApp Screenshot

WhatsApp is a ubiquitous messaging app that allows users to send short messages to anywhere in the world, as long as the recipient also has WhatsApp loaded on their phone. Think of it as an SMS substitute that has a minimal cost (free at first and then just 99 cents per year after that).

The WhatsApp application for Windows Phone is quick to load and gets you to your messages quickly. With lockscreen integration and a snazzy live tile, it’s easy to stay up to date on your latest messages.

Another nice feature of WhatsApp is you can send attachments in a message including audio, video, location, picture, camera or contact, much like an SMS in Windows Phone.


AAWP screenshot

All About Windows Phone is an app that corresponds with the terrific Windows Phone publication aptly named All About Windows Phone.

The AAWP is a great mobile app experience featuring a clean look and feel. By using the Metro user experience, app users can easily see the latest headlines, browse the sections of All About Windows Phone (including news, reviews, features and media), Search and Podcasts.

Once inside an individual article, you can browse photos and text easily. You can even browse the links in each article and share the article out via social networks and email. Lastly – comments are enabled in AAWP, making the app an amazing way to interact with the fresh content that is updated daily on the site.

Amazing Weather HD

AmazingWeather HD screenshot

Weather can be boring, but not with Amazing Weather HD. The app blends beautiful weather scenes and weather graphics along with a pleasing user interface to make this app a fantastic way to stay up on the weather.

There are many themes within the application giving nice choices that bring your weather to life. The animations look nice and add flair to the popular weather application. The lockscreen support puts current conditions and the forecast right on your lock screen for easy retrieval.

Also, the live tile support features all three sizes, each with their own depth of information based on your taste.

Last, we like that Amazing Weather HD uses Weather Underground for their weather data – one of our favorite sources for the best forecast globally.


Looking for a richer photo-taking experience on your Lumia? ProShot offers an alternative to the native Camera application that gives you key settings such as shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and white balance.

ProShot Screenshot


ProShot is a perfect application for professional photographers (or someone who knows their way around a camera) who want to snap the photo using settings they know work for a particular situation.

Once you capture the perfect photo, you can easily share to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and other photo sites.  In addition to snapping photos, you can view all the pictures in the camera roll, add a live tile to pin camera modes directly to your home screen and customize the color menu inside the application.

ProShot is easy to use and more professional mobile photographers will love this application.

Battery Level for WP8

Battery Level Screenshot

Battery Level for WP8 brings some needed functionality to Windows Phone 8 that many switchers from other platforms request: a battery life expressed as a percentage that’s easily accessible. Natively, to get the battery level percentage, you must go to settings and view Battery.

With this basic but functional application, you can see battery percentage directly on the home screen so you can monitor when you need to charge your phone. In the app, you can also see a graph that shows how your battery life has trended over the course of the day.

Other added features include the ability to hear your battery percentage read to you. Also – with lockscreen integration, you can have battery percentage displayed on your lock screen where it’s easily viewed just by switching your phone on.