You know your new Windows Phone comes with Office, OneNote, and the Xbox Games hub. You’ve probably also found apps for all your favorite websites on it, like Vine and Instagram. But where do you start, when it comes to finding new must-have Windows Phone apps?
As it turns out, there’s an app for that! App Social will let you see the most popular apps, including your friends’ favorites, and let you share your own and make lists of them. And here are a few for you to get started with!
This is one that should have been included with your phone’s purchase, since it’s Microsoft’s instant messaging and voice/video chat service.
Fortunately, it’s both free and ad-free, although you’ll need to buy Skype credit as usual to do things like make calls to other people’s landlines. Also, you’ll need a front-facing camera to do a proper video chat; the cheapest Windows Phones, the Lumia 520 and 521, don’t have one. Still, if all your friends are on Skype it’s a must-have!
Windows Phone Insider
Two words: Bing lockscreens. The free Windows Phone Insider app brings you the gorgeous wallpapers that Bing is known for, sized to fit your phone’s screen. You can scroll through a whole list of them, to catch up on any you missed, and even see fan-made lockscreens as well. And if you give this must-have app a large-sized Live Tile on your Start screen, you can see those wallpapers there, too.
Oh, and it also has ringtones and tips and app recommendations. But still, the wallpapers!
Red Stripe Deals
These are the sales, usually 50 percent off or more, that Microsoft has on Windows and Windows Phone apps every week. They switch them around every Thursday, but don’t always tell you which ones are on sale. Fortunately, this free app will!
Mint is the free Windows Phone app for Mint.com, a personal finance website that will automatically keep track of your monthly budget and spending without your having to enter in each transaction. It does this by tracking your online banking account with your bank, so you’ll have to sign up for one first if you don’t have one already.
Why would you want the free Evernote app when OneNote came with your phone? Two reasons: Either you already have lots of notes in the Evernote service, or you want to use it as a reminder app. Because Evernote’s really not the best app for note-taking on Windows Phone (it doesn’t let you format text or type in landscape mode), but you can make any note into a reminder without it cluttering up your calendar.
Here it is: The missing YouTube app for Windows Phone. Keep up with your subscriptions, rate videos, download your favorites, and more! It costs $0.99, but the free version you get by clicking “try” instead of “buy” lets you watch videos for an hour at a time before it makes you wait 10 minutes.
My advice? Try it out, be amazed, and then pay the $0.99. It doesn’t even have ads in it! And be sure to click “try” on other apps that cost money, in the Windows Phone Store; many of them have a free version you can use.