These days, it seems that any time an article mentions Windows Phone, the one topic that always inevitably comes up is the dreaded "app gap" issue. It's not without due cause, after all, anyone planning to spend any sum of money on not just a cell phone, but an ecosystem should definitely do some research first. Therefore, reading about this "app gap" was a powerful motivator that pushed me to purchase a Windows phone device. I had developed a pure curiosity about the app ecosystem, and to be honest, while it's far from perfect, it is also not as bad as I have seen in the past, earlier attempts of the mobile operating system.
This article is a list of most of the popular apps and services that are available on Windows phone either via official apps or third party apps. Many popular services are covered, and surprisingly, many big name game developers are onboard. Honestly, there is a lot more in terms of gaming than I thought there would be.
The biggest hole for most people are Google apps. If you're switching from Android, or even iOS then it's quite a culture shock. There are some apps that help bridge the gap, such as Tubecast and Cloudmuzik. Sometimes, you will find a third party app that far exceeds the official app, such is the case with 6tag & instagram beta. In the case of 6tag, it provides extra features that you would normally need another app for such as, creating collages or resizing a picture. Other times you will find that your best bet is a mobile site on your web browser. Google Plus is one such example. All Google Plus apps are simply wrappers for the mobile site with ads inserted. A total waste of everyones time. In the case of IM+, you can talk to your Hangout buddies, but the features are incomplete, as you cannot video chat with them or send/receive pics. Depending on your use scenario, and what apps your friends use, that may or may not be a problem. Pulse news reader is the opposite case of Google Plus, as the Web app sucks. Luckily, FUSE is a clone of the Android/iOS versions of Pulse News Reader, and is very similar in both use and functionality.
For those of you who aren't tied to Google services, Microsoft services are all fairly strong contenders if you fully invest in their ecosystem. In all fairness, all other companies do the same thing. For example:
- Apple - imessage\facetime\iWork\itunes music & video\icloud\ibooks\Siri\etc
- Google - hangouts\hangouts\Google Docs\Google Play music & video\google drive\Playbooks\Gmail\Google Now\etc
- Microsoft - Lync\Skype\MS Office\Xbox live music & video\Onedrive\Outlook\Cortana\etc
- Amazon - Amazon music & Video\cloud drive\Kindle\Firefly\etc
All these companies want to tie you to their particular ecosystems. We can even add Samsung to the list, as they seem to have a third party app of every conceivable service. Most likely to port over to their Tizen OS should they decide to leave Android. Let me get back on topic, however.
If you aren't worried about cross company intercompatibility, then each ecosystem has their own version of most user needs. If your particular group of contacts are within the same ecosystem, then there should be relatively few problems.
Enjoy this list that I have compiled. I've used many of these apps on my own phone. While many are not at feature parity with Android and iOS they nevertheless provide most features that users expect, and are usually just as beautiful to look at and use. The majority of these are free apps, while some have ads, and in apps. These are necessary evils pervasive on all platforms, Windows phone included.
|Some Windows apps are "universal", meaning that they run on phone, pc, and tablet. Look for the icon in middle of this picture on the app page to see if your app is universal.|
On to the list, with live links for each app. Enjoy!
Facebook + Messenger: Official + Official
Instagram: 6tag or Official
BBM (Blackberry Messenger): Official
Streaming Music + Discovery
News + Reading
Pulse News Reader: Official Web app, Fuse, or Weave
Amazon Kindle: Official
Comic reader: Comicana
Adobe Reader: Official
TV Streaming + Entertainment
Mx Player: Official
Syfy Now: Official
USA Now: Official
Fox Now: Official
Chase: Official (Sadly, will be removed soon)
Bank of America: Official
Wells Fargo: Official
Citibank cards: Official
Amazon shopping: Official
Cloud Storage + File management
File system: File or Files & Folders Pro
Bittorrent: Torrex Pro
Google Search: Official
Google Music: Player for Google Play Music, Gooroovster or Cloudmuzik
Youtube: Tubecast or Metrotube
Google Maps + Navigation/Transit: Here Maps + Navigation / Transit or GMaps+
Gmail: Stock email client, Metromail, or Gmail
Google Plus: Mobile site
Google Drive: GDrive or Metro File Manager
Productivity + Tools
Microsoft Office: Stock install
Onenote: Stock install
Office Lens: Official
Network Speed Test: Network Speed Test
Photoshop Express: Official
Fresh Paint: Official
GamingThere are far too many games out there to list them all, so here are the links most popular developers pages.
Square Enix: Official
Hexage (David Peroutka): Official
Imangi Studios: Official
Gameboy: VGBC8 & Purple Cherry
Gameboy Advanced: VBA8
Atari 2600: EMU7800
This is it for my list right now. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
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