Sunday, January 17, 2016

4 Apps to get you started with Windows Phone

the essentials

As you might already know (if you have been following this site), I am quite an advocate for Windows Phone. I was instantly attracted to the Lumia 800 with its striking cyan color and even until today, the concept of a live tile still feels like something other platforms should adapt. Windows Phone might always end up being the third wheel when compared to both iOS and Android due to Microsoft's app ecosystem in which popular developers just don't see the need to bring their app into the Windows Store
Lumia 630 Review"Another thing which i was seriously bugged about is that there is no proximity sensor and if you don’t know what a proximity sensor is used for, it is that sensor which turns off your display when you take a call so you don’t accidentally press" Continue reading.
Big named apps like Snapchat and specifically the entire Google app selection like Gmail, Google Maps, Google+ and Google Photos still do not exist on the Windows Store because the people behind them don't like Microsoft. While the Windows Phone app gap definitely exists, devoted developers like Rudy Huyn have expressed their loyalty to the Windows platform by filling out that app gap with an unofficial version that tends to work better than the original one.

But here it is, 4 essential apps that you need to have on your Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile device.

6tag (Free ad-supported)

Besides snapchat, Instagram is the next most popular social app out there and Windows Phone does have an official Instagram app. But the problem with the official app is that it has not been updated since it was released nearly two years ago. Facebook is working on a new release of the Instagram app but that will take a while. This is a persistent problem with Windows Phone apps, developers don't update it frequently with features that are available on either iOS or Android. But thankfully, Windows Phone has Rudy Huyn and he develops a couple of third-party alternatives of apps that Windows Phone does not have like Tinder and 9gag.

But basically, 6tag is a third party instagram client for Windows Phone and the app will soon be a universal application that will work across Windows 10 devices. In terms of features, 6tag has everything the official instagram app has and the developer has also implemented some nifty features like a dark theme, an option to disable ad posts and you can actually unlike a photo on 6tag. Not to mention that 6tag also has multiple account support before the official instagram app actually had it.

6tag (free w/ads or $0.99)

Converge (Free)

The next app down the list is called Converge and this is simple news application which displays articles from tech blogs like The Verge and TechCrunch. I have been using this app for quite some time now and there is a story about how the app's name came along. Initially, Converge was designed to be a third party app for theverge.com but the app has since then evolved to support other blogs like Windows Central and WinBeta.

Inside the app, the first tab is a highlights section which displays popular articles and this implementation is pretty nifty as it helps me to quickly sift through the 'hot' stuff each morning. Of course, there is also another tab which displays articles in terms of the time it is published. Converge is not a perfect app as the formatting for some articles are a little off but it is the best new reader app that I have come across on Windows Phone. If you think there's a better app out there, do tell me in the comments section.

Converge (free)

Nextgen reader ($1.99)

As for the heavy stuff, I look over to Nextgen Reader which is an RSS that has a ton of settings so that you can get that tailored experience. Basic features include the ability to choose a general theme and the option to choose alter the display font to your liking. Netgen Reader costs $1.99 on the Windows Store but the good thing about it is that a single purchase will allow you to download the app across all Windows 10 devices.

Nextgen Reader ($1.99)

myTube ($0.99)

Socializing is one thing but entertainment rounds up the experience. As I mentioned earlier, Google isn't a big fan of the Windows platform and there is no official YouTube app on Windows Phone. You could always just fire up YouTube on Internet Explorer but why do that when you have a couple of fully functional YouTube clients on the Windows Store. For me, my go-to YouTube app on Windows Phone or Windows 10 is myTube. Unlike other YouTube apps on the Windows Store, myTube has a unique user experience which consists of a horizontal tab system that allows you to watch the video while looking at the comments, description of while you're looking for another video to watch.

Other than that, nifty features like being able to download the video in different formats or as an audio clip is a handy thing to have. You can also play music in the background with MyTube and the best part about this app is that there is no rolling ads before the videos. As to what I know, most YouTube apps on Windows Phone allows you to download videos and play music in the background. And if you think this features sound a little familiar, you're not wrong to think so as this is what YouTube Red is all about.

The app itself costs $0.99 to buy but like most Windows Phone apps, MyTube will work across all Windows 10 devices.

myTube ($0.99)