WishingWell

Been bouncing in and out of Marketplace the past several days looking for app replacements that I used regularly on my WinMo device. I have found most everything I need, some better & some not so good, but have run into a few dead ends. Thought it was time to start compiling a list so the bored developers out there can get cracking and build up the WP app inventory. I realize that Windows Phone has some restrictions and limitations (like no place to save a PDF file) so I won’t bother suggesting applications that are not yet possible.

Sports Scores – Was watching college football yesterday and realized that I didn’t have any easy way to check game scores. I know I can go to ESPN, wait for the page to load, pinch out and then navigate to the right link, tap the link, wait for another page to load, pinch out, scroll through the list, etc. etc, but wouldn’t it be easier to have an app that compiles schedules and scores for all the major sports leagues, at least here in the US. Open the app, tap college football and read the scores. It can update upon open (you can choose which leagues to display/update) or when you tap refresh. Lots of apps in the Marketplace for sports “news” but nothing for scores. Come on, ESPN. Get with the program.

Shopping App – I know, there are a bunch of shopping apps available but have you tried any. I have tried every one and have even purchased two so far. They are all lacking some basic functionality. Actually the “free” Microsoft app is leading the pack which is not saying much.

Here are a few hints for developers. My weekly grocery shopping trip takes about 35 minutes in store. I don’t want to spend 45 minutes on my phone building a list for each trip so please keep it simple. Because of sales, coupons, product availability, etc., I “must” shop at more than one store, even in the same week, so I need a way to save a list and retrieve it. I average about 20-30 unique items in my cart each week of which half or more are items I purchase every week or other week, so I need a way to select a previously-defined items to simplify my list building. Categorizing by aisle/category is a good thing, but if you are going to use it, keep the aisle/category syntax throughout the app, so I don’t see a list of favorites or history sorted in some strange order because the aisle/category field is hidden. Give me one optional field that I can use for whatever, so if an item is on sale, or I have a coupon, I can flag it with an S or C. Oh, and please check your code or whatever. Several of the apps I tried popped right open initially, but after I added 15-20 items to a list I am seeing lags of 2 to 4 seconds which seems really unusual to me. No graphics, just a few words.

Don’t think I am asking for anything special here, just a pinch of common sense.

Traffic Cameras – Used an app on my Tilt2 called Traffic Edge and it worked well, providing screen shots of traffic cameras on all the US highways. There are a few apps in the Market but they are all for European countries. Can’t think of anything in the OS that would not allow this kind of app.

Screen Shot – Would sure like to have an app to create screen shots of my device. Don’t think it would be that hard to create, saving a screen image to the photos hub. Then I could sync them with my PC or email to myself. Looking forward to writing some app reviews and screen shots would sure be helpful. My guess is a desktop emulator like My Mobiler is not on the “possible” list right now so I won’t go there.

Mute the Phone – I used Mute4, a simple tool created by developer ‘thx1200”, on my Tilt2 and it worked beautifully. You open the app and selected a pre-set time to change your device to vibrate or silent. At the end of the time period, your ringer turns back up. Couldn’t be simpler and it worked great for going into a meeting, movie or doctor’s office. I know all the stopwatch apps available in the Marketplace can run in the background and there are a couple apps that have scheduled alerts, so aside from finding a way to change the value in settings it seems like it should be possible with the WP OS.

Instant Messaging – DavidK’s previous post already made it clear that the WL Messenger app in the Market sucks, so not going to bother with that. And I know I can use the provided web based workaround. But there are a few good Instant Messaging apps available for WinMo so I am hopeful that one or more pop up soon. Are you listening IM+. Don’t use IM often but I like to have it around.

 

So that’s my list. What about you? Anything you have been hankering to load onto your spanking new Windows Phone but can’t find. Time to let the developers know.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Unfortunately you’ll probaly have to wait until January for some of your ideas :

    – Screenshot : We (developpers) are currently not able to make a screen from within an app.

    – Stopwatches dont run in background,they just use a trick using app closed and lauched time, so it won’t work for other apps

    – Schedule events use push notifications to be triggered, and there’s no way to launch an app just by sending a notification, let alone change a setting if the app is not already open.

    But i agree, some of these limitations will be troublesome for users in the long run, so i expect Microsoft to act quickly to remove them

  2. Thanks for the dissapointing, but informative info. Guess I will need to register as a developer so I maybe I can use an emulator for screen shots.

  3. I also have some suggestions Spb Finance and Spb Wallet (Of course after copy and paste is added) also a profile switcher and something similar to Magicall.

  4. Trapster, Skyfire, Bank Apps to name a few. So far very little in the App department interests me. Some of the Apps are half functional, it’s going to take some time I guess. I still think the OS is well ahead of the rest.

  5. Decent FB app with Live Tile support. The built in app is very inconsistent with the updates it displays (misses quite a lot) and the live tile updates are worse – barely every showing updates. THe FB app in the marketplace is much much better, but no live tile support and can’t pin a contact from it as a live tile so no individual updates.

  6. @Mike: Well aside from the First 25 WP Apps to Download that DavidK listed here http://mobilitydigest.com/the-first-25-windows-phone-apps-to-download/ (I downloadrd about 16 of them), in alphabetical order:
    -Encyclopedia – FREE – A simple Wikipedia aggregator
    -Fuels Free – FREE – Simple app for monitoring fuel efficiency
    -IMG News Reader – FREE – Cool RSS reader (recommended by Ramon here http://mobilitydigest.com/featured-app-img-news-reader/) that imports photos from around the web
    -Link To Me – FREE – A simple LinkedIn client – Not all that robust, but lets you view updates
    -Mobile Bartender – 0.99 – Nice app for drink recipies. Not as flashy as the others but a much more robust list of drinks
    -Most Wanted – FREE – App that shows the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, Most Wanted Terrorists and Missing Childen
    -Password Padlock – 0.99 – Basic paswood app, until something better comes along
    -Silly Soundboard – FREE – Fun app that will playback about 40 different sounds
    -Stop Watch Timer Pro – 0.99 – Simple stopwatch. Checked out most of them but I liked the way this one looked
    -Unit Converter – FREE Basic tool from Microsoft
    -Voice Recorder – FREE – A simple voice recorder app. Can only save and play a recording. No way to offload from device.
    -Weaver – 0.99 – An excelled RSS reader. Allows you to add your own feeds, like mobilitydigest
    -WinMilk – FREE – Tasks/ToDo list app that syncs up with Remember the Milk. So far, the best Outlook Tasks replacement app I have found
    -WordBook Dictionary – 2.99 – I like to have ready access to a dictionary rather than running a web query. This one does it all.
    -Yellow Pages – FREE – OK app for looking up businesses. Alternative to Bing.
    -YouTube by Lazy Worm – FREE – Excellend YouTube search app that allows you to filter by most recent, most watched, etc. I think you still need the Microsoft YouTube app to “view” video, but use this app for lookup, When launching a video, this app opens the other app and then a backspace returns you to this app.

    And if you have an HTC Device:
    -Attentive Ring – FREE – Little utility to adjust settings to: Quiet ring on pickup, Increase ring volume in pocket, Flip for speaker and Flip to mute ringer.
    -Flashlight – FREE – Nice hi/lo flashlight app that turns on your camera light
    -Lists – FREE – Excellent list app as a simple Things to Do or Buy kind of app
    -Stocks – FREE – Basic stocks app

  7. @Ear4Mizik: I agree. Actually I am a bit surprised that almost none of the larger software houses have started to post apps, like; Resco, SPB, SBSH, Elecont, Conduits, Panoramic (1 I think), Paragon, DeveloperOne, Vito, Illium, etc. Did they not get the memo or are they just not interested.

    Didn’t even bother to list apps like CodeWalletPro, my password app for the past 7 years, SPB Wireless to monitor my downloads, NewsBreak for RSS, etc. cause at this point I am not holding out much hope for the old reliables. Hope I am wrong.

  8. I did buy one of the shopper programs. So far, it has me underwhelmed.

    I am seriously missing Skyfire. :(

  9. @Ear4Muzik:

    Yup, Missing pocket finance diary REAL bad right now.\

    Also Barcode scanner

    And tied into barcode scanning, a Collection managing software where I don’t have to type everything by hand.

  10. I want to add Swype and Google Goggles to the list. I 2nd, ESPN, Remote Desktop and A BarCode Scanner.

  11. @jgold: Searching last night I ran across two IP Camera apps in the Marketplace. I think one was FREE. Can’t comment on the quality but you should probably check them out.

  12. ESPN was the first app mentioned in jimski’s list… and ill fourth that, i used the espn scorecenter app for android all the time on my aria. i feel so lost when i go to espn’s website now after using that for the past few months. it put all my favorite teams from all sports on one page for me. loading ESPN’s website is not a “glance and go” experience…

  13. @Jimski. I know that SKKV has released one of its card game packages for WP7 (whoopie!!); too bad I’m not 80 years old and know how to play euchre. Anyway, from what I’ve read it’s hard for developers to translate their legacy apps to WP7 because they have to write everything in managed code instead of the native code that they used for the older apps. So that may be the holdup on apps from spb, resco, etc.

  14. @FarTed: Understood. But as I have grown older I have discovered that everything changes. It’s inevitable. Sometimes change is good and sometimes not so much. I think this change (WP7) was a good one. The OS is fresh and fast. Ready to take on a new generation. The pricing model for these vintage developers may have changed, from charging $19.95 for an app to maybe hoping for $2.99 for something of good quality. But the potential volume with WP7 and Marketplace can be mind boggling, far exceeding any of their previous sales goals.

    Many of these apps had good layout and flow, the most challenging and critical part of any app IMHO. Actually writing code is a brainless function, after you have conceived and developed the structure of a good app.

    A good number of the apps I have tried out in WP7 are not very intuitive and leave me wondering, “what were they thinking”. All the code works but the apps lack that natural flow I am used to. These veterans need to learn some new tricks (like I am) and get with the program before their window of opportunity closes.

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