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December 20, 2013

Big screen and small screen in sync

If you’re a gadget lover, chances are that you have both phone and tablet traveling with you everywhere. And if you are tied into the Microsoft ecosystem, you’ll want to have all your accounts, services and content synced across your screens.

Thanks to SkyDrive and the deep integration with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, you can snap a photo with your Lumia and see it pop up in the photo gallery on your tablet or personal computer. But what about apps that look great and sync across all your screens? And I’m not talking about the usual suspects (such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Skype, etc.), but the apps that let you do things on one screen, pause, and then resume on another.


Here are some of my favorite apps that work great on both my Windows Phone, and Windows 8:

Package Tracker

Do you shop online? If you are overwhelmed with shipments, keeping track of what you ordered and what has been delivered can be a challenge. Luckily there’s an excellent app for that. Package Tracker, which syncs with SkyDrive, helps you track all your packages that are shipping via the majority of couriers around the world. All you need is the courier name, and package tracking number which you could either enter manually or scan (barcode with camera) and you’re good to go. You will receive push notifications every time the package status changes (i.e., is scanned at a port of entry, received at the sorting facility, or delivered to your address). Get Package Tracker (paid) for Windows Phone, and Window 8.


Your favorite magazines, delivered digitally. Subscribe to, manage, and read magazines on your phone or tablet with the Zinio app. You can choose to download your subscriptions automatically or pick one magazine at a time, and carry them with you for offline consumption. Once you’re done reading a certain title, simply send it to your archive. Zinio offer many promotions throughout the year, including discounts on subscriptions as well as special offers for Lumia owners. You can read more about the app’s features in our in-depth look. Zinio is free for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.


Nokia MixRadio

Nothing beats having your own, personalized radio station with you at all times. Take your mixes offline, or create unique mixes with your favorite artists using Nokia MixRadio. And with the new “Play Me” feature, you can enjoy the controlled chaos that will also help you discover new music. Vote for the tracks you love, skip the ones you don’t, and MixRadio will learn from you and further improve your playlists. And did I mention how gorgeous the app looks on Windows 8.1?

If you subscribe to the MixRadio Plus service ($3.99 a month), you’ll get unlimited skips, unlimited offline mixes, and high-quality audio streaming (a sweet setting to go along with your Purity Pro headset, for instance). Killer feature? No ads. Not even when you’re using the free service. Try Nokia MixRadio on your Windows Phone and Windows 8.


Oftentimes you will come across interesting articles, but you just don’t have enough time to read them then and there. Use Pouch (a 3rd party client for Pocket) to save these articles for later, and sync them across all your Windows devices. Your articles will be categorized under queue, archive, and favorites, and you can add tags to easily sort and find them. It’s a very polished app and offers quite a few customization options to make the app more personal. I find it very handy for catching up on all those missed stories, especially during my commute or a long flight. Pick up Pouch (paid) for Windows Phone and Windows 8.



One of the apps that I found myself using the most on the Windows platform is OneNote. Not simply because it’s a note taking app, but because it syncs across all my devices and keeps me on top of my work, personal notes, and to-do lists. Use it to take down notes on your Windows 8 machine, edit them later on your Lumia tablet, and read them on your Lumia phone before your presentation or meeting. You can also pin a “new note” tile to your start screen for fast note-taking action. On your Windows Phone, OneNote is integrated with the Office bundle that comes with your phone; and it is free for Windows 8.

NextGen Reader

If you are still a fan of RSS feeds for news, then NextGen Reader is for you. It syncs with Feedly, and pulls your feed subscriptions so you can read them on your Windows Phone or Windows 8 tablet. Both versions of the app are great and well-polished, offering different themes, fonts, and articles previews. The team behind it is also very active with updates and new features. Keep up with NextGen Reader (paid) on your Windows Phone and Windows 8.


Aside from reading critic reviews, keeping up to date with the latest blockbusters playing in theaters near you, and monitoring what’s being released on DVD, you can now use Flixster to watch movies that you own digitally (through Ultraviolet, for example) or that you are renting, and pause/resume on any of your Windows devices or Windows Phone. All you need to do is log in using your Flixster or Facebook account and the movies that you own will show up inside the app. When it comes to entertainment and movies, this is my go-to app across all of my Windows devices. Flixster is free for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.



Watch your favorite music videos or check out some live VevoTV with programs that change on the hour like Hits|Shuffle, Classics, Top10Now, or Dream Suite Mix. You can also create playlists and use them to categorize your videos which you will be able to access from the app on your phone, tablet, or laptop. If you are rocking a beast like the Lumia 1520, this app is an excellent companion. Vevo is free for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.

Know of any apps that run great on both your Windows tablet and phone? Let us know in the comments below!

image credits: Jon Fife, loozrboy

Text: Antoine Namaan