There are certain weeks, here at Nokia Conversations, when it feels like every day is your birthday. Happily, this week is one of them.
Why? Because of the deluge of awesome new and updated apps, which have flooded the Windows Phone Store in the past seven days. Going through them all has been a labour of love and now, after much umming and ahhing, we can reveal the five that we loved best. Get your Nokia Lumias at the ready!
What is it? An arcade racing game
Why we love it? We were revving our engines waiting for this one to be released! This series of racing games just gets better and better. The graphics are stunning (it makes great use of the Lumias’ excellent screens) and the gameplay is really detailed and high octane. There’s a whole bunch of locations (we like Venice the best so far), stunt moves (barrel rolls!), cars (of course) and options and modes galore. The soundtracks features real tracks from real bands, and the multiplayer modes are brilliant. This will keep you busy for months.
Who it’s perfect for: Drivers and speed-freaks
What is it? A photo app that’s all about retro filters and sharing
Why we love it? Finally, the official Instagram app comes to Windows Phones! While we love some of the third party clients, it’s great to see the real thing come calling, and we’re impressed with it, to boot. It’s easy to do all the stuff this photo sharing app is designed for – following photographers and finding beautiful imagery, editing and uploading your own shots, cross-posting to other social media systems, like Facebook and Twitter. We think it’s going to be a crowd-pleaser, but as it’s still in beta, don’t hesitate to feed back to the developers if you can see room for improvement. Right now, we can’t.
Who it’s perfect for: retro photographers
What is it? A community-driven GPS navigation tool
Why we love it? There are many GPS systems available for your Windows Phones and our first choice is always the magnificent HERE Drive. However, the thing we like about Waze is that it uses crowd-sourced info to give you real-time data on road conditions direct from other road users. As well as using it to navigate, you can tap on an icon to report traffic jams, accidents, hazards, road closures and more; it lets you post detailed information about whatever it is you’re sharing, as well as photos, which means that the road users who are traversing that stretch won’t be taken by surprise. It’s more interactive and up to date than regular radio traffic reports, plus it lets you chat with other users (though not while you’re driving, okay?)
Who it’s perfect for: Drivers (in real life, this time)
What is it? An interactive guide to the famous Parisian art museum.
Why we love it? The Louvre’s a big place so a smartphone companion app is a useful gadget! It’s got a map of the museum and a search function that lets you look up particular artists and artworks, both of which are handy features. The real killer function, though, is the artwork recognition: if you hold your phone up to a painting, the guide will tell you all about it through text and, if you like, audio. Not only that, though, but you can get it to work offline, too, for a small in-app payment, so that you won’t even have to worry about your internet connection – particularly important for tourists who are worried about data roaming charges. Perfect!
Who it’s perfect for: Art lovers and tourists visiting Paris
What is it? It’s Nokia Music, renamed and revamped.
Why we love it? All the music you could want, for free; hundreds of specially curated mixes (aka playlists) that you can download and listen to offline; no ads; and no subscription fee – who wouldn’t love that? Nokia Music was always our favourite smartphone app for tunes, and its new incarnation as Nokia Mix Radio is even better. New features include Play Me – a personalized mix based on your existing profile – and the ability to edit that profile with a thumbs up/down feedback system. Fantastic! And it looks great, too.
Who it’s perfect for: Music fans
Yet another fantastic feast of options for us Nokia Lumia lovers to choose from. But have we picked the best of the bunch? If you think the answer is no, please don’t be shy. Let us know what deserves a big thumbs up in the comments below.
Image credit: J.D. Abolins